Brady & Buffett Ignore Short-Term Headlines

While widely considered the best at what they do in two very different professions, the common themes that tie both Buffet and Brady together are obvious. 

Short-term achievements often steal headlines, but what’s typically forgotten or outright ignored is the disciplined path that leads to sustained success. 

Recent news of stock market windfall gains have stoked the flames of desire for “instant success.” Similarly, when watching the Super Bowl this weekend, many were likely intoxicated by the wealth and championships accumulated by two-high profile quarterbacks. But what’s easily missed in the first scenario is the inherent risk in the decision making. And what’s easily ignored in the second thought process is “what it took to get there.”

So, what theme connects them both? 

The answer to the question is that while everyone needs (and enjoys) a little bit of luck in life, what results in much longer-lasting and rewarding success is a day-in and day-out disciplined approach to attaining our goals. 

Warren Buffet is widely considered the best investor of our generation and once said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Buffet’s less famous for his relentless work ethic, appetite for learning and the rejection he encountered. He worked in his family’s grocery store in Omaha, spent much of his youth watching and listening to investors in his father’s small brokerage, and took odd jobs while using his savings to purchase pinball machines that he placed in local businesses. He was rejected by Harvard Business School and ended up in graduate school at Columbia Business School, where he (arguably) studied under an equal or even greater pair of investors, Benjamin Graham and David Dodd. He went on to state that Graham's book (The Intelligent Investor) changed his life. Work ethic, discipline, time and luck.

Tom Brady is widely considered the greatest quarterback of our generation and once said, “You can’t go out and practice average on Wednesday, average on Thursday, okay on Friday and then expect to play well on Sunday.” Brady’s less famous for his relentless work ethic, appetite for learning and the rejection he encountered. He didn’t earn playing time as a high school freshman but worked relentlessly on his game until he took over the starting spot in his sophomore year. He started seventh on the University of Michigan’s quarterback depth chart, never saw the field for the next two years and eventually sought a sports psychologist to improve his performance, finally earning the starting spot in 1998. His reward? Drafted 199th in the NFL’s 6th round (as a backup to starter Drew Bledsoe). It wasn’t until Bledsoe was severely injured in 2001 that Brady’s work ethic, discipline, time and luck revealed themselves.

While widely considered the best at what they do in two very different professions, the common themes that tie both Buffet and Brady together are obvious. Neither had short cuts to their unprecedented level of success. We need to have a plan, be disciplined and be relentless in pursuit of our goals. Our success cannot simply be measured by short-term results.


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