Sorry Warren, There is No Age Limit on Habit Change


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I love interacting with my followers/subscribers. I pay very close attention to every email I receive from them. One of my subscribers asked the following question, which I think is important enough to address:

I just saw a YouTube video of Warren Buffet. He is speaking to students. He is claiming, that habit changing is only possible when you are young. What is your opinion about that?

My Response

Tks for your email XXXX. Unfortunately, Warren Buffet is wrong.

Like you, I admire Warren Buffet. He spent years, single-mindedly focused on ONE THING – finding undervalued companies.

His mentor, Benjamin Graham, was his professor in college. Graham wrote a famous book called The Intelligent Investor. I’ve read this book. It teaches many fundamental principles about investing. Perhaps Graham’s greatest contribution is his expertise in identifying undervalued companies. Warren Buffet spent his entire adult life honing this one singular skill. Buffet is an expert in value investing, mentored by the world’s greatest value investing expert, Benjamin Graham.

I’ve studied Warren Buffet and from all of the books I’ve read, Buffet devotes 8-12 hours every day perfecting his one amazing, great skill – value investing. He admits that he devotes little to no time on anything else, such as the neurology behind habit formation.

So, let me clear things up a bit regarding habit formation.

Habits are formed when neurons repeatedly communicate with each other. This is called a synapse. Given enough time (average of 66 days according to the famous University College London habit study), the Basal Ganglia will take notice of this synapse and, when it does, it will send one of its many long dendrites up to the synapse and anchor it in the vicinity of those neurons. When it does this, these neurons become marked by the basal ganglia as a permanent habit. Age has nothing to do with this process. You don’t stop forming synapses until you die or the brain shuts down. You can form new synapses and new habits well into your 70’s, 80’s or for as long as you and your brain remain healthy and alive.

In today’s fast-paced, highly technologically-driven culture, anyone can voice their opinion. We see celebrities opining about topics they have little to no knowledge or real-world experience in, and this is dangerous.

Just because someone has celebrity, does not mean they have any idea what they are talking about. Actors are expert at acting. Singers at singing. Basketball and football players are professionals in their respective sports. And Warren Buffet is an expert in value investing.

As a rule, ignore celebrities when they are sharing their opinion about anything, unless you know for certain that they have devoted their lives to honing their expertise in the thing they are opining on.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Great stuff, Tom. Please keep the good work flowing!

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