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Billionaire Charlie Munger attributes his success to his multi-disciplinary approach to life.

He doesn’t make decisions, particularly his history of record returning investments, on one aspect of his expertise.

Instead he draws upon a broad and calculatingly acquired foundation of intelligences that provide him with a wider lens. Through it he can see more than what is right in front of his eyes.

Munger calls it “Mental Models” and he recommends we all build similar foundations in our lives.

I’m certainly no Charlie Munger, but I see the value in his advice and am doing my best to emulate his words.

puzzle pieces

For much of my adult life I’ve specialized.

I spent two decades learning how to sell, manage, and provide customer service. Along the journey I’ve picked up additional expertise in networking and communicating.

Those skills are great to have in my arsenal, but I thank my fortunes every day that I am no longer singularly focused on those specific pursuits.

Over the past couple years I’ve added writing and editing to my arsenal. I’ve pushed myself to create disciplines in athletics and nutrition and have been learning a foreign language.

I’ve been reading a lot more. I’ve picked up numerous personal development books like Poor Charlie’s Almanack, a tome about Munger, to learn from the experiences and failures of others more successful and worldly than I.

Not only have all these pursuits made me better rounded, I feel I’ve become more intelligent and more disciplined through the effort I’ve invested.


Currently I’m embarking on a new chapter in my life.

I’ve begun a new career in an entirely different field than anything I’ve done before and my new occupation requires a whole new set of tools.

It’ll take schooling, something I haven’t done since I entered the workforce as a salesman all those years ago. It didn’t go so well the last time around.

The job also requires new and constantly updating knowledge. I’m going to need certifications as well. I’ll need math, science, and the ability to work with my hands just to make the cut.

But just making the cut won’t be enough for me.

I’ll never be satisfied with just making it in my new profession. Through the additional Mental Models I’ve spent time creating I will excel past the my contemporaries and competition.


That probably sounds far-fetched, possibly even conceited, but when comparing all those who’ll put blinders on and only focus on learning the trade versus those who will become and learn more than that, it only seems logical.

Knowing a foreign language will allow me to communicate more effectively with customers, coworkers, and hopefully one day, employees, thus creating additional revenue and networking opportunities. Being active and fit will allow me to grind longer and to have the discipline to push when things seem toughest. And reading self-improvement will help manage my own and my clients’ and coworkers’ expectations and behaviors.

Charlie Munger’s Mental Models is a basic math equation in its simplest form. You have more if you have more, and you’ll get more if you have more to start with.

It doesn’t have to equate to money necessarily, but having having a net-worth of $1.7 Billion certainly sounds alright. It also relates success in general, happiness, relationships, and free time. Any or all of those sound pretty good.

I recommend checking out Charlie Munger’s talks and Poor Charlie’s Almanack for additional and humorous insights into life, wealth, and success.

And be sure to check back here at MovingOnUpwards often to see how the journey’s going.

poor charlie

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  • Undoubtedly good article. I am always curious to find out another expert opinion. The author provides his individual point of view which is good to compare with the top financial advisors I usually follow on They are always giving such a full detailed analysis that I couldn’t even imagine it’s possible to find something new. Thanks for the information.