The Wall Street Journal once ran a great series of articles regarding successful people and early failures that helped make them more successful in the long run. The articles feature numerous successful individuals including Ted Turner, Tom Brokaw, Meredith Vieira, and Dale Carnegie Training’s Most Successful Graduate, Warren Buffett.
Here is an excerpt from one of the articles where Warren Buffet talks about lessons learned from rejection and the value of Dale Carnegie Training:
“The truth is, everything that has happened in my life … that I thought was a crushing event at the time, has turned out for the better,” Mr. Buffett says. With the exception of health problems, he says, setbacks teach “lessons that carry you along. You learn that a temporary defeat is not a permanent one. In the end, it can be an opportunity.”
Mr. Buffett regards his rejection at age 19 by Harvard Business School as a pivotal episode in his life. Looking back, he says Harvard wouldn’t have been a good fit. But at the time, he “had this feeling of dread” after being rejected in an admissions interview in Chicago, and a fear of disappointing his father.
As it turned out, his father responded with “only this unconditional love … an unconditional belief in me,” Mr. Buffett says. Exploring other options, he realized that two investing experts he admired, Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, were teaching at Columbia’s graduate business school. He dashed off a late application, where by a stroke of luck it was fielded and accepted by Mr. Dodd. From these mentors, Mr. Buffett says he learned core principles that guided his investing. The Harvard rejection also benefited Columbia; the family gave more than $12 million to Columbia in 2008 through the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, based on tax filings.
The lesson of negatives becoming positives has proven true repeatedly, Mr. Buffett says. He was terrified of public speaking—so much so that when he was young he sometimes threw up before giving an address. So he enrolled in a Dale Carnegie public speaking course and says the skills he learned there enabled him to woo his future wife, Susan Thompson, a “champion debater,” he says. “I even proposed to my wife during the course,” he says. “If I had been only a mediocre speaker I might not have taken it.”
Here’s a short clip of Warren Buffet talking about the benefits of his Dale Carnegie Training:
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