Dating : What I’m Learning About Love from Warren Buffett

h2>Dating : What I’m Learning About Love from Warren Buffett

Heather M. Edwards
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Omaha, Neb. May 5, 2014

Humans have a tendency to invest with either reckless, uninformed abandon or too much trepidation. And since most people are risk-averse, we follow the bellwethers, the agents of change and the captains of industry to minimize our risk while maximizing our gain. Call it too lazy to do your own research or savvy enough to seek insight, learning from the best stems entirely from the motivational triad — we are energy conserving, pain avoiding, pleasure-seeking beings.

So it’s not surprising that one of the most successful magnates in the world is also one of the most quoted. But the more I read the more I see how equally applicable his financial wisdom is to our emotional relationships.

Billionaire philanthropists are just as strategic in their charitable giving as they are in their investment portfolios. We can learn from the compassion inherent in Buffett’s investment advice.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

Listen to your partner. Do not wait until they are already leaving you to realize you need to change. Before the suitcases are packed, if you are feeling attacked and defensive, ask yourself if the changes they want you to make will also benefit you in other areas of your life — will these changes make you a better part of your other relationships?

If your partner is harping on you about integrity or reliability those are likely things that are damaging your other relationships, your performance at work and your own trajectory toward the future you want. Consider the possibility that the person who loves you isn’t just criticizing you for sport. Maybe they also love themselves enough to want the best from you. And from your relationship.

If your partner consistently nags you about your same habits, ask yourself how many other people might benefit from you changing them — including yourself. This is a good metric regardless of the habit in question. Will having more integrity and being more reliable make you a better friend, employee, volunteer, son/daughter, sibling, parent? Then break the chains of your bad habits.

We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.

Asymmetrical relationships are a slow boil. Be mindful of whether or not you’re taking advantage of your partner. But also be ready to advocate for yourself if you’re the one being taken advantage of.

Love is not predatory. Self-serving creatures though we may be, true love is a subconscious state of constant openness, of giving. We do not need to exploit our partner’s weakness to meet our own needs.

No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.

Here Buffett makes a cheeky analogy for entrepreneurial patience. Quality takes craftsmanship. And craftsmanship takes time. Develop your communication skills, your emotional intelligence, your generosity and selflessness to cultivate your unique romance. Attraction can be instant. But foundations must be cured.

This is just as true in your relationships as it is in your personal development. You can’t finish law school by repeating the first year three times any more than you can create 10 years of intimacy with someone by casually dating 20 people for six months.

Are you in it for the long haul? Building a bond that lasts through life’s ups and downs is a long-term investment in yourself, your partner and your relationship — not one-month stands.

If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes. Put together a portfolio of companies whose aggregate earnings march upward over the years, and so also will the portfolio’s market value.

Regardless of oats left unsown, you will know you’ve found your person when you see them and your future inextricably linked. Time being the most precious of commodities, ask yourself if the person you’re flirting with, dating, living with or otherwise committed to is the person you still want to be with ten years from now.

Building trust and intimacy takes dedicated consistency. Love deepens as it steeps over time. Is this the person you want to march upward with as you combine literal and metaphorical assets?

Apply this to self-love as well. You will spend your entire life with you. Make it a good one.

Buffett having fun with the famous couple. All rights @ Jennifer Lopez, 2017

The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.

When it comes to trust, honesty is always easier than maintaining a complex web of lies.

For people with integrity, gaslighting takes far more work than falling on your sword. Admitting when you’re wrong, asking for forgiveness and proactively participating in healing is the loving way to handle our inevitable mistakes. It’s simpler. It builds trust. And it fortifies our own integrity.

“Do your best” might be the most overused maxim but implementing it across all areas of your life is just as difficult to maintain as it is easy to dismiss as an empty platitude. In a relationship, doing your best means everything from the chores to listening to trusting to taking risks together. This imperative is effective because it’s simple.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

Let me count the ways this can play out in an intimate relationship. There are so many ways to betray your partner besides cheating.

Be deliberate with your choices. Be careful with your words. Indulging your anger or spite or resentment with harsh words adds an alloy to your relationship that you can’t always extract after the damage has been done. Be careful with your silence also. Absence can be a powerful punishment that can start to fracture 20 years of intimacy. Some fractures can’t be kintsugi gilded back to repair.

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be a more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

It’s easy to draw parallels between your professional and personal lives. The wrong job can be just as toxic as the wrong relationship. When you’re spending more time, energy and money trying to repair what’s broken it’s probably time to make a fresh start. Find your next vessel.

And for an economic conclusion, there is no more efficient relationship truth than this: The only way to get love is to be lovable.

What do you think?

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