When the best insights in the room may not be yours.

While watching the fantastic “Becoming Warren Buffet” documentary, I realized something, which I have to admit had eluded me or may be I was too afraid to admit.

In his early investing days, Buffet was mostly into “cigar butt” stocks – cheap stocks of poorly performing companies that had “one last puff” left in them. He’d buy them and turn them into a profit, and he made an enormous amount of money (for its time) doing just that.

It was Charlie Munger who turned him to a more value-based investing philosophy – buying stocks of wonderful companies at fair prices rather than fair companies at wonderful prices. This arguably formed the foundation of the two greatest investor(s) of our times. However, if Buffet had not been open and welcoming to a new idea and been defensive about his way or fretted about he not realizing it, he may have possibly missed the greatest opportunity of his life.

If you’re an even reasonably smart person who prides on thinking deeply and originally, at some point you’re going to come into this realization that the best ideas or insights in the room may not and will not be yours and you will have to be very gracious and rational about it if you are to succeed. You can either get worked up about it and beat yourself up over it, or you can accept it and be rational about it and not care so much about who gets the credit for the idea.