To date, there’s been two acts in my life’s play: before understanding The Most Important Thing and after understanding The Most Important Thing. The Most Important Thing (TMIT) solved everything for me, and since I came to understand TMIT, my life has been a flowing river of success, money, energy, inner-peace, and happiness.
I’d like to share The Most Important Thing with you.
Watch the next few minutes of Mohnish Pabrai answering a career-related question (the video starts at the relevant section, click play, watch his answer, and then keep reading).
Whether it’s the inner map and outer map Mohnish describes, or the website 16Personalities, or the book Gifts Differing, or the book Type Talk, the point is that these concepts and tools helped me learn about personality types and what mine is, and this understanding of myself is what unlocked the keys to the kingdom for me.
Everything I’m achieving and my ability to be getting what I want out of life and the fact that everything is moving in the right direction for me, I trace it all back to understanding myself, my wiring, and my personality. You can refer to it however you want, understanding yourself, understanding your wiring, or understanding your personality. Given that I came to know about this concept through the personality angle of it, I’ll refer to it from here as understanding your personality.
The most important thing in life is understanding your personality.
Once you understand your personality, and surrender to the fact that we’re hard-wired and we are who we are, life becomes easy.
Uphill becomes downhill.
Mystery becomes clarity.
Ineffective becomes effective.
The theory goes like this. We all have a personality. That personality is hard-wired, we are who we are. We’re good at some things, bad at others. Some things give us energy, other things drain our energy. Some things make us happy, other things make us unhappy. And these things differ from person to person, depending on their personality and the way they were wired.
The trick is to figure out who you are, figure out your personality, and then adjust your personal and professional lives accordingly.
If you do that, life is easy, life flows, and success can be achieved. And life is lived with downhill momentum.
If you don’t do that, life is hard, there is no flow, and even if you achieve success, it will have been a very difficult and unpleasant endeavor. And life is lived with an uphill struggle.
I’ve lived life both uphill (against my personality type) and downhill (with my personality type), and I’m here to tell you that life is much more enjoyable and I’ve been much more successful when living life downhill, shaping my personal and professional lives to fit my personality.
The first time I heard about this kind of “shape your life around your personality” concept was a few years ago when Mohnish mentioned in a lecture that he took a personality test or something like that when he was running his previous company with lots of employees and the test givers where shocked at how he was able to function in that kind of job with lots of interpersonal interaction all day. And he said something to the effect that the test was so powerful in his own life that he now has all prospective employees take the test to find out if they’d be a good fit for whatever role they’re applying for.
Hearing Mohnish talk about his story of getting his “owner’s manual” through work with a couple of industrial psychologists planted the seed in my mind in terms of thinking about personality types. I had heard of and known about the surface level meaning of terms like introvert and extrovert for years, but I had never bridged those thoughts with the concept of shaping my life around my personality. Hearing Mohnish talk about that story planted the seed for me.
Time goes by, and at some point, again, due to being seeded by Mohnish’s story, I found myself searching online for things like “personality tests” and I stumbled across the website 16Personalities. From there, I took their test, found out what my personality type was, I had my oh my gosh light bulb moment, and my life has never been the same since.
I was fighting uphill, then I gained this self-knowledge and opened my owner’s manual, and since that moment the battlefield of my life has shifted and it’s been all downhill ever since.
I’ve learned a lot about investing from Mohnish Pabrai, like the importance of quickly rejecting stock ideas, but the most important thing I’ve learned from him is the owner’s manual concept, and this has been the game-changer in my life.
Anytime someone asks me for career or life advice, I’ll be telling them about The Most Important Thing, and I hope it helps them as much as it has helped me.