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Warren Buffett Copyright Paul Morigi, Getty Images

Let’s See if You Have Warren Buffett’s Optimism

Which comes first, optimism or success? Take this quiz to find out just how optimistic you are.

It’s easy to think, “If I had $76 Billion like Warren Buffett, I’d be an optimist too.” Or maybe you might think it’s one of those “What came first? The chicken or the egg?” riddles. Not according to someone who knows Warren Buffet very well, Melinda Gates, in praising the Oracle of Omaha’s attitude:

“Your success didn’t create your optimism; your optimism led to your success.”

Mrs. Gates elaborates on her view of optimism by stating, Optimism isn’t a belief that things will automatically get better—it’s a conviction that we can make things better.” With this background, let’s have a bit of fun and see if you have Warren Buffett’s optimism.

The following is not a psychological assessment. It is simply a list requiring an immediate yes/no response to each statement. 

  1. I work extremely hard.
    Few people have Warren Buffett’s work ethic. Do you?
  2. I am dedicated to reading and studying to improve professionally.
    He learns everything possible of both the companies and segments of the markets before investing.
  3. I love reading biographies and books on history.
    “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter) who didn’t read all the time—none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads—and how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.” —Charlie Munger
  4. I approach problems thoughtfully and proactively.
    Mr. Buffett doesn’t approach problems with “I can fix it” arrogance, but with “I’m sure I can figure this out” confidence.
  5. I see social media as a tremendous opportunity.
    Although Buffett is known for missing investment opportunities in technology—because he didn’t understand it. But he sees the big picture (future)—social media is part of the big picture. 
  6. I view compliance as a growth inhibitor.
    Again, as an optimist, Buffett’s approach to rules and regulations is not to dwell on what is not allowed, but rather to focus on what is possible.
  7. The DOL regulation noise (politics) is not an issue for me.
    Through a combination of being a student of his profession with a Big Picture vision—DOL regulation is anticipated and already addressed.
  8. Todays’ demographics, especially boomers and millennials, represent opportunity.
    $3 trillion is expected to transfer from one generation to the other by 2030, and I’m going to get my fair share.
  9. I am finding ways to connect with my clients’ children.
    My clients’ children need and deserve my financial advice and guidance.
  10. I am extremely passionate about my profession.  
    I might slow down at some point, but I love what I do and have no plans to retire.

I did sneak an optimistic “No” in there at No. 6, but otherwise “Yes” is the universal optimist response for the others.  Since this is pure “pop” psychology, think in terms of getting a minimum 8 optimist responses out of the 10 statements.

We might never have Buffett’s billions, but all of us could benefit from attempting to mirror his optimism.   

Matt Oechsli is the CEO of the Oechsli Institute, a research and coaching firm, helping financial advisors grow since 1978. He has authored 14 books, with his the second edition of his latest, The Art of Selling to the Affluent, recently translated into Mandarin. You can visit his firm’s website at and connect with Matt at

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