Lesson 16

Lesson 16: BHFM and The Stoic Advisor

Weekly Habits for Success - Daily Task to The Habits for Success

“Go straight to the seat of intelligence.” —Marcus Aurelius

Did you know that Warren Buffet, even at his age, still reads five to six hours per day? Even at his age, he seeks out wisdom and insights to improve himself. According to Buffet, the most important book he ever read was The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. Buffet says that buying that book was the best investment he ever made.

Buffet even applied to the Columbia Business School where Graham taught and started a close friendship with the man. Buffet was even blessed to work for Graham. When Graham offered Buffet a job, Buffet accepted without hesitation and didn’t even ask about the salary.

Buffet knew that learning from the master was priceless!

As he’d later write in his 2013 annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., “I can’t remember what I paid for that first copy of The Intelligent Investor. Whatever the cost, it would underscore the truth of Graham’s adage: Price is what you pay, value is what you get.”

Great teachers are so vital to our performance. To have someone we can learn from and to gain insights from is of untold value. Think about it this way - even on his death bed, Marcus Aurelius was arranging for tutors for his son. He understood that having great teachers is the key to success.

“Even when he was emperor,” Cassius Dio writes of Marcus, “he showed no shame or hesitation about resorting to a teacher.”

Nearly every one of the Stoics had a formative teacher:

  • Zeno was taught by Crates
  • Cleanthes by Zeno
  • Cato by Sarpedon
  • Seneca by Attalus
  • Epictetus by Musonius Rufus
  • Marcus by Fronto and Rusticus, who introduced him to the works of Epictetus
  • Chryssipus by Cleanthes
  • Thrasea by Cato
  • Antipater by Diogenes
  • Panaetius by Crates
  • Posidonius by Panaetius

As Robert Greene writes in Mastery, “Life is short, and your time for learning and creativity is limited… You must follow the example set by Masters throughout the ages and find the proper mentor.” Go straight to the seat of intelligence was Marcus’ philosophy.

So let’s build on this month's habit of mastering something new and fun and let’s find a teacher. It doesn’t have to be in the subject you are trying to master, but you should certainly have a teacher in that area as well. Find a teacher, someone you talk to on a regular basis who guides and coaches you and gives you insights. Maybe this teacher should be someone who helps you with your business development. Do you work closely with your BHFM consultant? If not, you should. Do you call Ben Quinney, Matt Dorman, Gordon Have, or Scott Brooks on a regular basis. If not, you should.

Whether you’re a head coach, an owner of a small business, or the CEO of a major company, you need multiple teachers and coaches. “Associate with people who are likely to improve you,” Seneca reminds us.

NEW HABIT: Speak to your teachers at least monthly, preferably weekly.

NEW TASK: Find multiple teachers you can speak with and rotate among them, speaking to all of them over the course of a month.