For many world-famous value investors, their interest in the field can be traced back to Warren Buffett.
In 1982, Thomas Russo was a business student at Stanford University when he attended Warren Buffett’s talk. He was simply dazzled by the speed of Buffett’s mind and his knack for weaving profound investing lessons with stories and rib-tickling quotes. Russo was hooked for life and chose to pursue a career in value investing.
Today, Tom Russo is a pre-eminent value investor of our times who manages US$ 12 billion as a partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner. The most important idea that Russo talks about wherever he goes is Capacity to Suffer.
Capacity to suffer is closely connected with the idea of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification happens when someone resists the temptation of an immediate reward in preference for a later reward. Delayed gratification is associated with resisting a smaller but more immediate gain in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later.
In the famous Marshmallow Experiment, social scientists reached the conclusion that the kids who had the temperament to patiently wait on an easily accessible marshmallow so that they could enjoy two marshmallows later, tend to fare better in life as compared to those kids who couldn’t control their urge and grabbed the one marshmallow.
You can easily replace “marshmallow” with “money” in the experiment and the context won’t change. Often, putting off pleasure ‘in the now’ is the difference between failure and success over the long term. The ability to delay gratification is one quality that consistently separates the most successful ones from the not so successful ones.