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We all make decisions every day. What time to get up, what to wear, and what to eat for breakfast. But these are easy decisions.
What do you do when your decision holds a little more weight? When it affects your business, your career, or your family? Well, Warren Buffet, a self-made billionaire, thinks tough decisions are easy because they all boil down to reputation.
Passing the Newspaper Test
Rightfully so, Buffet feels that one can have all of the money in the world, but if he or she doesn’t have a positive reputation, they have nothing. He believes that one can afford to lose money, but to lose his reputation is a detriment to his livelihood. For Buffet, integrity and ethics are vital for a solid reputation and that one must possess a high moral standard to foster trust.
To instill this in his own employees, he asks that they use the “newspaper test.” Not only should they be making decisions based on a legal standpoint, but they should consider if they would want their actions printed in the local paper. If they are comfortable with their family, co-workers, and friends reading and knowing about a certain decision, then that decision “passes the test.”
Buffet runs a company of close to 360,000 employees and asks that they act ethically and make ethical decisions. He encourages them to employ the newspaper test, but is always available for further direction and advise. However, he shares that if a decision is borderline on the newspaper test, then it probably should be out of the question.
Inner vs. Outer Scorecard
Another factor in making tough decisions comes down to your “inner scorecard.” For Buffet, your inner scorecard is what makes up your own values and belief system. If you are making decisions that are coherent with your inner scorecard, then you will be on track to living a happy, peaceful, and successful life.
However, most fall into the trap of making decisions based on the outer scorecard. The outer scorecard is living by what one perceives the world wants or expects of them. This leads to a compromise of our beliefs and values and often a cynical, disharmonious life.
Making Your Decision
So next time you’re facing a tough choice, it may be time for some internal reflection. First, what is ethical and aligns with your values and beliefs? Next, what choice will you be confident in sharing with those around you?
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