THE BLOG
04/16/2013 11:56 am ET | Updated Jun 16, 2013

5 Tips From Warren Buffett on Mindfulness

Ready to begin living, right now, the way you dream about doing in some far-off, distant future?

As that keen observer of human nature, Warren Buffet, says, There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don't like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn't that a little like saving up sex for your old age?

Mindfulness is a path that can show us what we actually want for ourselves, and help us find the courage to start joyfully jumping out of bed in the mornings.

The Perversity of Being Human

Part of what holds us back is mindless confusion. As The Man says, There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.

A lot of my clients are people who've gotten so tangled up in disorienting webs of self-doubt and drama that they can't seem to get started living life on their own terms. Things have gotten very difficult.

We can spend a lot of our time weaving storyline upon storyline. He/she/they done me wrong. If I only had [blank], then this [incredible thing] would happen. If I hadn't made that decision yesterday, I wouldn't be doing this today.

Mindfulness can help us begin deconstructing our self-woven webs. It helps us begin to hear what we're saying, to see what we're doing. Mindful awareness teaches us to be more self-aware.

Self-awareness is self-power. Therein lies part of the riches of a mindfulness practice. When we recognize how difficult we're making things, we can then begin making different choices. Easing up.

1. Stop Digging That Hole

We keep things difficult by digging those big ol' holes for ourselves. Buffet teaches that, The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.

Ultimately, of course, it'd be terrific to notice when we start digging another hole to begin with, no? It's possible, with mindful awareness of direct experience in the moments of our lives.

2. Change Boats

When we're paying good attention to what's occurring right in front of us, it's much easier to make wise choices. Buffet's mindful advice about noticing a problem? Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

Change boats when necessary. A lot of us have the idea that we're supposed to stick it out, for whatever reasons, sometimes forever. Perhaps that's not actually true, at least not for you, today, in this or that situation. Can you tell the difference?

3. Use Superpower Sight

Among other things, Buffet knows how to use discernment in order to spot nuances. I don't look to jump over seven-foot bars: I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.

We don't have to climb Mt. Everest this week. We can use discernment, a sort-of superpower way of seeing things, to look for a one-foot bar over which to step. The point is to start looking.

4. Act on Present Opportunities

When we are paying mindful attention to the present we can recognize opportunities when they come knocking on our doors. As Buffet says: You do things when the opportunities come along.

Beloved Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn encourages us to live in each, real moment. Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves --- slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.

Be in this moment. And this one. See the opening, act on it.

5. Don't Save It Up for Old Age

Little bits at a time really add up. It's all mindfulness in action. It's paying attention, observing what is present, making choices with clarity and purpose. Anyone can learn how to do it.

Anyone can learn to get to do what [you] like to do every single day of the year, as Buffet puts is.

Who wants to save up sex just for old age, anyway?

For more by Melanie Harth, Ph.D., LMHC, click here.

For more on wisdom, click here.