Warren Buffett and the importance of selective focus

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has led a famously successful career. As he carved out his place as one of the U.S.' top investors and business strategists, Mr. Buffett has learned numerous lessons for success in business as well as in his personal life.

Mr. Buffett's business partner, Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, recently shared one of these lessons from Mr. Buffett while delivering a talk to the USC Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles. The talk was called, "A Lesson on Elementary Worldly Wisdom," according to Business Insider.

Alongside many other life lessons, Mr. Munger discussed a strategy that Mr. Buffett employed throughout his career. According to Mr. Munger, when Mr. Buffett lectures at business schools, he tells listeners, "I could improve your ultimate financial welfare by giving you a ticket with only 20 slots in it so that you had 20 punches — representing all the investments that you got to make in a lifetime. And once you'd punched through the card, you couldn't make any more investments at all."

Under the constraints of the "20-slot" rule, individuals have to think carefully about where they could invest their money, forcing them to really "load up on what you'd really thought about," resulting in better outcomes. While it may seem obvious that to be successful, one must bet selectively, this isn't conventional wisdom in business, according to Business Insider.

Mr. Buffett's 20-slot rule is useful beyond the world of investing money. This notion of selective focus  is also a useful approach for deciding how to invest time, a resource most working professionals feel is pinched.

If the goal is to truly master a skill, you have to be ruthlessly selective with your time, which means focusing on just a handful of essential tasks and ignoring the distractions. It may be necessary to discard or hand off good ideas to make room for great ones.

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