Below is an excerpt from the novel Wit and Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Investor, written by Janet Lowe. Warren Buffett discusses a person’s ability to cultivate good character.
“Imagine, Buffet says, that you are a student, and you may choose one other student in your class, and thereafter be entitled to 10 percent of that student’s earnings for life. But there’s a catch. You also have to choose a student to whom you will pay 10 percent of your earnings for life:
“The interesting thing is, when you think about what’s going through your mind, you’re not thinking about things that are impossible for you to achieve yourself. You’re not thinking about who can jump 7 feet, who can throw a football 65 feet, who can recite pi to 300 digits, or whatever it might be. You’re thinking about a whole lot of qualities of character. The truth is, that every one of those qualities is obtainable. They are largely a matter of habit. My old boss, Ben Graham, when he was 12 years old, wrote down all of the qualities that he admired in other people and all the qualities he found objectionable. And he looked at that list and there wasn’t anything about being able to run the 100 yard dash in 9.6 or jumping 7 feet. They were all things that were simply a matter of deciding whether you were going to be that kind of person or not.”
This idea of being able to develop good character is very important. If one is able to cultivate good character, then that person will proactively help oneself become a better person. This also would be useful in cultivating good employee character.