Who is the greatest slugger of all time? Maybe you are envisioning Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron. I'm referring to a different type of slugger: Warren Buffett. I've learned a great deal from the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A),(BRK-B). Many credit Buffett as the most successful value investor of all time.
Warren Buffet has said many great quotes that have gone down in history. One precise quote that has stuck with me is, "The key to life is to figure out who to be the batboy for."
Whether we are devoted to the mastery of a sport, investing, or a fresh new career, we have to be honest with ourselves...
Our ignorance, misconceptions, and lack of experience can hold us back from achieving our profession's highest level.
Going through life's challenges the hard way using raw experience takes ample time and can be costly (although I am convinced certain life lessons can't be learned any other way).
When Warren Buffett says to find a mentor, he is speaking directly from experience. He was the batboy for the all-time great investor, Benjamin Graham. For anyone who doesn't know who Benjamin Graham is, he is considered the father of investing for his work Security Analysis which was published in 1934. It is an undisputed classic. After his book was published, investors and economists worldwide gave him the title, "the father of value investing".
Graham taught Buffett to forget about the market and solely focus on the business behind the stock. Look at sales, earnings growth, profit margins, competition, customer satisfaction, and other fundamental analysis that represent that business's success or failure.
As a young entrepreneur myself, I have made friends in the investment sector. It continues to amaze me how little value they actually possess. Nothing against the character of these young and aspiring investors. It is more of a realization that young and inexperienced men, like myself, don't know the first thing about the longevity of real-life experience.
Some are trying (and failing) to time the market with options trading. Others are trying (and failing) to forecast the economy and its performance. All the while, none of their predictions have any real-world application.
This has made me aspire to become a batboy of Warren Buffett himself, although I have never met the man.
Buffett continues to exhibit that stocks are a better long-term investment than any get-rich-quick method to date. Buffett wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times suggesting long-term wealth creation as the surefire way to invest.
"Let me be clear on one point: I can't predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven't the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month - or a year - from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over." - Warren Buffett
I talk all about long-term wealth building in my book, 7 Investments In Your 20's That Will Change Your Life. A great deal of the founding principles is from Buffett's long-term investing ideology. Buffett often humbles himself by saying he doesn't understand a lot of investments. That's because he doesn't have to. He only has to understand the investments he desires to be apart of.
A successful investor does not have to have the brains of a genius. But the successful investor has to have the guts of a strong stomach. Buffett's most significant gains have come from analyzing businesses, not market trends.
Do it yourself, continue to strive for progress, and become Warren Buffett's batboy. The rest will take care of itself.