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I love interacting with my followers/subscribers. I pay very close attention to every email I receive from them. One of my subscribers asked the following question, which I think is important enough to address:
I just saw a YouTube video of Warren Buffet. He is speaking to students. He said that habit change is only possible when you are young. What is your opinion about that?
Tks for your email XXXX. Unfortunately, Warren Buffet is wrong.
Like you, I admire Warren Buffet. He spent years, single-mindedly focused on ONE THING – finding undervalued companies.
His mentor, Benjamin Graham, was his professor in college. Graham wrote a famous book called The Intelligent Investor. I’ve read this book. It teaches many fundamental principles about investing. Perhaps Graham’s greatest contribution is his expertise in identifying undervalued companies.
Warren Buffet, was a devoted student and mentee of Graham. He spent his entire adult life honing this one singular skill – Value Investing. Which makes Buffet an expert/virtuoso in value investing.
I’ve studied Warren Buffet and from all of the books I’ve read, Buffet devotes 8-12 hours every day perfecting his one amazing, great skill – Value Investing. Buffet readily admits that he devotes little to no time on studying anything else, such as the neurology behind habit formation.
So, let me clear things up a bit regarding habit formation.
Habits are formed when neurons repeatedly communicate with each other. This is called a synapse. Given enough time (average of 66 days according to the famous University College London habit study), the Basal Ganglia will take notice of this synapse and, when it does, it will send one of its many long dendrites up to the synapse and anchor it in the vicinity of those neurons, to monitor them. If the Basal Ganglia determines those neurons are firing consistently enough, it will mark them as a habit. It does this by permanently anchoring its dendrite among these neurons.
Age has nothing to do with this process. You don’t stop forming synapses until you die or the brain shuts down. You can form new synapses and new habits well into your 70’s, 80’s or for as long as you and your brain remain healthy and alive.
In today’s fast-paced, highly technologically-driven culture, anyone can become an Influencer and voice their opinion. We see celebrities opining about topics they have little to no knowledge or real-world experience in, and this is dangerous.
Just because someone has celebrity, does not mean they have any idea what they are talking about. Actors are expert at acting. Singers at singing. Professional basketball and football players are virtuosos in their respective sport.
And Warren Buffet is an expert in value investing.
As a rule, ignore celebrities or influencers when they are sharing their opinion about anything, unless you know for certain that they have devoted their lives to honing their expertise in the thing they are opining on.
Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, Effort-Less Wealth, Change Your Habits Change Your Life, Rich Habits Poor Habits and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”