“Be a learning machine.”
Munger was an avid reader and a lifelong learner. He believed that the best way to succeed in life was to constantly improve one’s knowledge and understanding of the world. He once said, “I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up, and boy that helps, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you”.
Know what you don’t know.
Munger was always confident, but also humble and aware of his limitations. He did not pretend to have an opinion on everything but rather focused on his areas of competence. In his words, “I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do”.
Patient money lasts longer
Munger was patient and disciplined in his investing approach. He did not chase every trend or stock, but rather waited for the rare occasions when he could find a great business at a fair price. Charlie Munger also understood the power of compounding and patience. He said, “The big money is not in the buying and selling … but in the waiting”.
Take the high road.
Munger was known to dislike shortcuts and focus on optimising for a fulfilling life. It’s why he gave one of the best three-in-one career nuggets we’ve heard. He said, “Three rules for a career: 1) Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t buy yourself; 2) Don’t work for anyone you don’t respect and admire; and 3) Work only with people you enjoy”.
Be consistently clear-minded
Munger was a master of clear thinking and sound reasoning. He never bought into ideologies simply because they were popular. On the contrary, he was vocal against many frenzies. He once said (about himself and Warren Buffet), “It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent”.
Always take responsibility for your outcomes
Munger said, “Whenever you think that some situation or some person is ruining your life, it’s actually you who is ruining your life. It’s such a simple idea. Feeling like a victim is a perfectly disastrous way to go through life. If you just take the attitude that however bad it is in any way, it’s always your fault and you just fix it as best you can – the so-called “iron prescription”.
Value simple ideas
Munger once said, “Take a simple idea and take it seriously”. Many times, it’s not about the weight of our ideas but the people behind them. The ability to stick with simple ideas till they mature is what makes people like Charlie Munger stand out.