Ah, success. We’ve all been searching for it, but we all have different definitions of what it really looks like. Should you be looking for a career you actually love? Rising to the top of your field? Following the money? Searching for work-life balance? Allow multi-billionaire business magnate Warren Buffett to offer his two cents (or maybe two grand, in his case).
Buffett might be known as one of the richest people in the world, but he’s equally famous for being philanthropic and grounded. So it’s no surprise that in a 2003 speech at Georgia Tech, he shared some poignant wisdom about true success.
“When you get to my age, you’ll really measure success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you,” he says. Don’t miss these other 26 secrets rich people won’t tell you.
That’s right: It’s all about love. It might not be the most novel idea—we all know money can’t buy happiness, even if we sometimes forget—but it does put everything into perspective. And here’s the thing: Love doesn’t mean looking for approval from everyone around you. According to Buffett’s idea of love and success, being applauded isn’t the same as being loved.
“I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them,” he goes on to say. “If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, [your life] is a disaster.” Find out what the world’s richest man says is his secret to success.
So just how can we get more love out of life? Business Insider found Buffett’s answer in his biography by Alice Schroeder, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.
“The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it,” he continues in the Georgia Tech speech. “The only way to get love is to be lovable. … The more you give love away, the more you get.”
Those who really matter won’t care if you have a fancy car or the biggest house. They won’t care if you choose pizza over fine dining. But they will care that you’ve given your time and energy to the people you love most—and that’s what you should care about too. Next, learn 10 more billionaires’ definitions of success.