Warren Buffett’s Greatest Error

Warren Buffett, when asked: “what is the biggest mistake you have made?” has an interesting answer.

He says that he has taken many poor decisions in his life, but these errors are nothing in comparison to the decisions that he did not take.

It is the investment opportunities that passed by and he didn’t pay attention, the people that passed through and they didn’t connect… these are the errors that are biggest in his life.

For myself, I suffer for the things I have done that turned out badly.  This seems to be a common human trait.  We suffer when we choose a path and it turns out to be a poor path, lead to a poor outcome.  My ego doesn’t suffer in the same way when I sit on the sofa and don’t do anything.

My ego fears sins of commission, my ego ignores sins of omission.

A Lazy Sloth

Making More Errors of Ambition, Making Less Errors of Sloth

  • Sins of Commission = Errors of Ambition
  • Sins of Omission = Errors of Sloth

This Saturday morning, I am sitting in a room of entrepreneurs.   10 people have volunteered to pitch their businesses.  I can see around me in the room a few faces that are expressing “I could do better than this guy”.  But, you are sat in your seat (omission), and this guy has put his hand up and taken the act of putting himself in the spotlight (commission).

“It is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved.”

It is better to have done something poorly today, than to sit there and think “I could do a better job than that guy”.

Even better to practice a few times, and do it well.

Author: Conor Neill

Hi, I’m Conor Neill, an Entrepreneur and Teacher at IESE Business School. I speak about Moving People to Action.

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