On the January 23rd cover of Time magazine, Warren Buffett reminds me a bit of a wizened and wise safety and health pro.
It is his somewhat Mona Lisa look that got me. I thought of many veteran safety and health pros who could saddle up to a camera and look equally gentle, emotional, knowing — and formidable. It’s a unique package.
Warren’s wearing a suit of course, and glasses. His left hand is raised, with his fingers touching his forehead. His blue eyes gaze directly into the camera. This is a close-up, intimate portrait. His pursed lips form a slight smile. He appears to be a man who does not fear much in this life, certainly not the camera.
Warren did not become the world’s third richest man, with a $45 billion fortune, without be formidable, to say the least.
Reading the article, other traits of Buffett emerged that I equate with the best of safety an health pros.
He is a thinking man, no doubt. Thoughtful. Buffett read every book in the Omaha, Neb., public library by the age of 11.
He claims to drink 60 ounces of Coke a day (and owns 8.6% of the company). He’s often seen munching on Dilly Bars (he acquired Dairy Queen in 1998). This is not man overly concerned with his waistline. He enjoys himself.
He has remained humble to his roots, living in a modest house he purchased in 1958. Not a lot of airs circulate about Warren. He’s Midwest down to earth. Calls himself lucky, born with good fortune.
He’s humble in his outlook, telling Time: “The market rewards me outlandishly for what I do, but that doesn’t mean I’m any more deserving of a good life than a teacher or a doctor of someone who fights in Afghanistan.”
He rues American’s culture of selfishness, and says, “We have to get serious about shared sacrifice.”
What’s safety if not about shared sacrifice? We might sacrifice expediency or comfort or speed for safety, which is why so many resist it.
And any culture of selfishness will never be a culture of safety-conscious individuals.
Warren’s giving away 99% of his wealth. He’s outraged by the selfishness he sees.
These are characteristics I see in safety and health pros: courageous; at times outraged; emotional; bend-but-don’t-break formidable; down to earth; not ones for putting on airs; no strangers to having a good time and fun; thoughtful; readers; givers; radicals at times.
Of course the comparison falls apart when it comes to making money. Which is why Buffett is on Time’s cover and safety and health pros get to grace ISHN.