The Daily Buffett

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The Art of Problem Avoidance

September 3rd

After 25 years of buying and supervising a great variety of businesses, Charlie and I have not learned how to solve difficult business problems. What we have learned is to avoid them.

Warren Buffett

When we look at the journey of successful entrepreneurs like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, we often see them as problem solvers, cracking complex business enigmas. However, this notion is not entirely accurate, as their success comes not from wrestling with every obstacle, but rather by skilfully circumventing them.

In business, each venture contributes to the shaping of one's foresight. It is this foresight that enables strategic planning and risk management, helping to anticipate potential issues and avoid them before they become calamitous. Buffett and Munger, with their years of experience, have honed this ability, thereby minimising their exposure to problematic ventures.

The true value of experience lies not in having all the answers, but in spotting the warning signs early on. This foresight allows for the sidestepping of potential pitfalls before they become full-blown issues. In the realm of investment and business, then, it seems success is not solely a matter of solving problems, but rather, it hinges on the mastery of avoiding them where possible.

To elevate our own business acumen, we don’t necessarily have to become problem solvers. Instead, we should strive to become proficient problem avoiders, adept at spotting potential issues and navigating our path to avoid them.

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