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Warren Buffet's life lessons to his children

Warren Buffett's son, Howard Buffett, says the family grew up with the expectation that they should try and support people that might not have the same opportunities as they had.

Despite growing up with more privilege than most, Warren Buffett's children were expected to address injustice in society and to try and support those who did not have the same opportunities they had.

It was just one of the many lessons the Berkshire Hathaway CEO instilled in his three children – and it stuck.

Howard Buffett has carried out a mission to do just that throughout his life, not only as a sheriff in Macon County, Illinois, but heading the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the U.S. that has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations since the late 1990s. 

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"My brother and sister and I grew up in a home where we were aware of a lot of things, our parents talked about those things," Howard Buffett told FOX Business. "As a result, we were expected to do everything we could to address anything that we saw in our lifetime that we thought was unfair, unjust…. try to level the playing field and support people who did not have the same opportunities that we had." 

During his stint as a sheriff, Buffett recalled walking into homes with "horrendous living conditions," including instances in which children were neglected and had not eaten in days. With his foundation, Buffett comes face to face with "such injustice in some countries," severe starvation and the displacement of thousands of refugees because of conflict.

He has been on the ground in war-torn communities to help them improve food security, conflict mitigation as well as combat human trafficking and public safety. His attention right now is on assisting Ukraine in fighting Russia by committing to spending half of the foundation's funding on the country.

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Many of these goals are daunting, and Buffett admitted that it will be impossible to achieve some of them.

"This is where my pessimism and optimism kind of collide. We'll never solve global hunger. It isn't going to happen. That's a fact," he said. "Then you have to be optimistic enough to think that, OK, but I can have an impact on it. And I can certainly have an impact in certain areas."

Buffett said one of the things his dad told him and his siblings was to "stay within your circle of competence, but always challenge yourself," he said.

He was also reminded that failure was an important part of success. 

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"That's also something that my dad taught me is you can't be scared to fail," he said. "The way you're going to get the really good things done is because you have failed and you've learned what not to do, and you've learned what to do, and you've learned how to do it better." 

One of the lessons Buffett is now instilling in others is to treat others the way you want to be treated and to surround yourself with good people.

"My dad always said, you can't do a good deal with a bad guy," Buffett recalled. 

If you have "people around you that aren't working, that don't have the same goals and don't have the same agenda, they don't have the same values or principles, you have to get rid of them," he added. 

Buffett made it clear that the foundation's team is dedicated to the work it does.

"I tell our staff all the time, think of the opportunity you have. We're spending hundreds of millions of dollars and trying to actually change some things in the world. Not everybody gets to do that."

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