Bill Gates Reveals Warren Buffett's Life-Changing Advice To 'Hang Out With People Better Than You'

Bill Gates, the renowned co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and philanthropist extraordinaire, has long admired and sought guidance from his esteemed friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett. Their enduring friendship, spanning several decades, has seen them conquer the business world and commit to giving away the lion’s share of their fortunes to charitable causes.

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Gates has never shied away from praising Buffett and the invaluable lessons he has learned from their friendship. Among the pearls of wisdom Gates cherishes, one piece of advice from the 92-year-old billionaire tops the list. 

Buffett frequently emphasizes the significance of choosing your friends wisely and being a good friend yourself. According to the Oracle of Omaha, it’s crucial to surround yourself with people who outshine you as they can serve as sources of inspiration and learning. As he once shared during a 2017 talk with Gates at Columbia University, “You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with.”

Gates wholeheartedly agrees with this notion, recognizing that certain friendships have the power to bring out the best in people. Investing in these relationships, he believes, can yield remarkable personal growth and development.

In admiration of Buffett’s exceptional commitment to friendship, Gates remarked, that even with his incredibly busy schedule, Buffett manages to prioritize and cultivate relationships like no other. Gates noted Buffett’s thoughtful gestures, such as picking up the phone to say hello and regularly sharing intriguing articles he believes will capture Gates’ interest.

During a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders meeting in 2004, a 14-year-old posed a question to Buffett, asking for advice aimed at young people. Without skipping a beat, Buffett delivered a straightforward answer: “It’s better to hang out with people better than you.” 

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He urged the young audience to examine the qualities they admire in their chosen company. Similarly, he encouraged them to identify traits they find unappealing in those they can’t stand, with the goal of shedding such undesirable qualities. In Buffett’s eyes, it’s not a complicated equation.

In 2007, Buffett expounded further on the concept of surrounding oneself with people who are “better than you.” He stressed the importance of seeking out people you admire, whether they be peers, colleagues or leaders, as they can serve as role models for personal growth.

For Buffett, the process of selecting heroes takes on paramount significance as the behavior of those around you inevitably shapes your own. As he puts it, “Associate with people who are better than you are. It will do wonders for you.” These words, resonating with wisdom, encourage people to surround themselves with exceptional individuals who can inspire and uplift them.

Buffett emphasized that a life devoid of genuine human connection, even with a hefty bank account, amounts to a tragic state of existence — an ultimate test of how one has truly lived.

Success should be measured not solely by material achievements but also by the love and regard received from those who truly matter in your life.

Gates and Buffett share a common perspective not only on friendship but also on the importance of identifying and nurturing innovative ideas and the people behind them. They understand that by supporting startups, they contribute to a vibrant ecosystem where talented people and groundbreaking concepts can thrive.

See more on startup investing from Benzinga.