There is a story floating around online and in books that says Warren Buffett, supposedly gave his personal pilot life coaching and told him the secret to success was on setting life’s goals and then focusing on accomplishing only the ones you find most important. What does he supposedly tell him? The 5/25 rule.

What is Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule?

Step 1. Write down a list of your top 25 life goals.

Step 2. Think about them and what is most important to you. Circle the five goals that are the most important to you and energize you. These are your priorities to focus on.

Step 3. Mark through the other 20 goals you have on your list with an X, these are not in your top 5.

Step 4. Ignore the 20 and focus all your time and energy on achieving the top 5 only. 

Step 5: Your top five is you must do list and the other 20 are avoid at all costs list.

This focus is an edge and leads to the best efforts going to what is most important.

This is great wisdom coming from Buffett, right?

The good news is that the principle is great and can lead to success, the bad news it’s not from Buffett even though it sounds like something he would say.

Did Buffett really teach the 5/25 rule?

The founder and CEO of career development platform Live Your Legend, Scott Dinsmore, was the one who supposedly heard it after meeting a guy who was friends with one of Buffett’s pilots. He published the story of Buffett’s 5/25 rule on his blog, this could be the original source.[1]

Another potential source was a guy author Alex Banayan refers to in his book by the pseudonym “Dan Babcock” — he met at a Summit Series event. Babcock claimed that he had worked for Buffett for seven years, and shared with Banayan what he said was the greatest piece of advice he ever received from the billionaire, the 5/25 rule.

Banayan wanted to confirm this was a true story so he took a flight to Berkshire Hathaway’s 2013 shareholders meeting in Omaha. His plan was to ask Buffett to confirm the 5/25 lesson was true during the Q&A portion of the event.

Here’s his version of the story according to CNBC:

Against all odds he was able to ask Buffett the question.

“Mr. Buffett, I’ve heard that one of your ways of focusing your energy is that you write down the 25 things you want to achieve, choose the top five and then avoid the bottom 20. I’m really curious how you came up with this and what other methods you use for prioritizing your desires?” – Banayan 

Buffett’s response chuckling:

“Well, I’m actually more curious about how you came up with it.” The audience erupted in laughter.

Buffett proceeded to explain that both he and Munger live very simple lives, and are not disciplined enough to approach decision-making in that way. “I can’t recall making a list in my life.” said Buffett.

The original story turned out to be a fabrication spread throughout the self-help and motivation world as coming from Buffett. Someone made up the original story.

Warren Buffett Quotes on Success

Here are some of the best real Warren Buffett quotes that are similar to the principles of the 5/25 rule.

“In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.” – Warren Buffett 

Choose the goals that energize you, passion creates energy and that can be the fuel for results. 

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett

Focus is a major key to success, your efforts and time must be directed to your primary goals. 

“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” – Warren Buffett

A few big wins in your life can make you a huge success. You don’t need to succeed at everything.

“You’ve gotta keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.” – Warren Buffett

Your time is your most important asset. Invest it wisely in moving toward your own goals. 

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett

Focus is the most powerful tool for achieving success. Say no to almost everything that doesn’t move you toward your most important goals.

If you are ready to start to focus on the things that matter in your finances my books The Working Dead and Investing Habits here on Amazon can show you the best rules for building wealth the right way.

For those interested in trading the price action in the markets you can check out my books on Amazon here or my eCourses on my website here

Warren Buffett's 5/25 Rule Will Help You Focus On The Things That Matter
Image Created by Holly Burns