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How to avoid making mistakes

"Write your obituary, then figure out how to live up to it"

This is the life advice given by multi billionaire and investment guru Warren Buffet when he was asked by a 15 year old student how to avoid making mistakes in life.

Warren Buffett meets with President Barack Obama at the White House in July 2011.

As I look back on my life from the high hill of old age, It's a question I would never have asked, but as Oscar Wilde once said 'I'm not young enough to know everything.'

Surely making mistakes is essential to living a full, rounded life? Who draws the line between making mistakes that hold you back, and those that help you to grow and prosper? So the life advice advice that Buffet gave to this young man is filled with the simple strategies that has enabled him, at 91, to amass a fortune north of £100 Billion.

"You should write your obituary and figure out how to live up to it," he told the young student.

Reflecting on the thoughts and opinions people may have about oneself after passing away may be easier for someone in their nineties compared to a high school student. However, Warren Buffett's notion of envisioning the end of one's life and working backwards from there has a rich history that extends beyond individuals in the later stages of life.

A notable example is Jeff Bezos, who employed a similar approach when deciding to leave his comfortable financial job and establish Amazon.

Bezos has explained, "I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, 'OK, now I'm looking back on my life. I want to have minimised the number of regrets I have. I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried."

Science, as a side note, backs up his intuition that we regret things we didn't do far more than things we tried that perhaps didn't go as planned.

Steve Jobs apparently took this ancient advice so seriously that every day, he looked at himself in the mirror and asked, "If today were the last day of your life, would you want to be doing what you're doing?"

Try this simple and profound technique today

Start at the end and work backwards

The common thread among all this advice is the notion that the most effective way to build a fulfilling life is to acknowledge the brevity of human existence. Then, concentrate on what truly matters to you, and work backwards from there to determine how to allocate your time. Then focus everything on doing what matters to you. (if you're unsure what actually matters in your life, then watch out for an upcoming email about discovering your core values)

Without these overarching objectives to steer you, it's easy to become consumed by the frenetic pace of 'day-in day-out' life and inadvertently stray from your passions and aspirations.

If this message resonates with you, then take action today. Every man who has made the decision to book one of our Award Winning retreats or training days is now living a life that is lived 'on-purpose,' full of passion, direction and love.

"Don't look back with regret, look forward with wonder and expectation"

Discover more about our upcoming King Retreat here →

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