If you’re young in your career, you’ve no doubt be exposed to a bunch of truisms on how to get a job. You’ve heard things like “follow your passion” and “give 120 percent” time and time again. And while these might sound like great pieces of advice, they’re not actually very helpful and kind of yawningly obvious.
The good news is that there is actually some useful advice floating around from people who have made it to the top of their industries. Here’s what they have to say.
Warren Buffett: Be Humble And Restrained
Being humble and restrained might not be things that you immediately associated with Warren Buffett. But the chairman of finance firm Berkshire Hathaway said that he learned some of the best advice from one of the directors on his company’s board. The director, Thomas Murphy, said to Buffett that it was always best to keep your mouth shut in the moment if you feel like telling a guy to “go to hell” and see if you feel the same in the morning. Usually, said Murphy, you won’t, and you’ll be glad you bit your tongue.
Richard Branson: Regret Nothing
Richard Branson has known failure in his time. Back in the late 1990s, his company Virgin tried to launch its own cola brand. The cola came in beautiful bottles and actually looked as if it would be able to carve out a market for itself from the incumbents, Pepsi and Coca-Cola. But alas, it never took off and was eventually pulled from the shelves by Virgin.
Then, last year, Branson suffered another setback to his space business. During a routine testing flight, the Virgin Galactic spacecraft broke up upon reentry, killing the pilot and setting his plans back another year or so.
Despite all this, Branson has managed to remain positive. His advice is to never look back with regret, but instead look forward to the next exciting chapter in your career. Branson says that he has had fun running all his Virgin businesses, even those that flopped.
Eric Schmidt is most famous for his chairmanship of Google, the massive internet search giant. He once gave some advice to Katie Couric which then enshrined it in her books, The Best Advice I Ever Got. His advice to her was to say “yes” as often as she could, whether it was saying yes to moving abroad, taking a part time job or learning something new. Saying “yes” opens doors you never knew were possible and develops your character in unexpected ways.
Steve Jobs: Follow Something Larger Than Yourself
Steve Jobs was famous for being in love with his company, Apple. But why did he have such affection for it? Part of it was down to the fact that computers were his passion and he wanted everybody to have their own personal electronic device to help them organise their lives. But part of it was also down to the fact that he saw what he was doing as bigger than himself. He realised that in 20 or 30 years from now, people would still be benefiting from the products he had created.
This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it may contain affiliate links.