A Three-Step Remedy from Warren Buffett

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, author Daniel H. Pink devotes an entire chapter to Midpoints. At the end of the chapter, he shares several strategies and anecdotes from well-known high achievers. I was impressed by this advice from Warren Buffett:

One day Mr. Buffett was talking with his private pilot, who was frustrated that he hadn’t achieved all he’d hoped. Mr. Buffett prescribed the following three-step remedy.

First, he said, write down your top twenty-five goals for the rest of your life.

Second, look at the list and circle your top five goals, those that are unquestionably your highest priority. That will give you two lists–one with your top five goals, the other with the next twenty.

Third, immediately start planning how to achieve those top five goals. And the other twenty? Get rid of them. Avoid them at all costs. Don’t even look at them until you’ve achieved the top five, which might take a long time.

Doing a few important things well is far more likely to propel you out of the slump than a dozen half-finished projects.