In 30 years at Fortune, I’ve interviewed CEOs and billionaires and other titans about what makes them succeed. Here are 10 things I’ve learned, plus wisdom from Warren Buffett.

warren buffett Successful People

The best career advice is universal. It applies to a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and to a kid aspiring to make it through college.

I tried to keep this in mind last week when I spoke at Allentown Central Catholic High School, which in 1978 sent me on my way from Pennsylvania to what has turned out to be a thrilling and very satisfying life and career. I told the CCHS students, who packed Rockne Hall for inductions of their new Student Council and class officers, that I’ve spent the past 30 years at Fortune “going to school on success.” That is, my job profiling some of the world’s most successful people–from Oprah Winfrey to Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer to Rupert Murdoch NWS to Melinda Gates–is to learn and explain what makes these extraordinary people win and adapt to all sorts of challenges. I pared my message to 10 pieces of advice, which include a few obvious truths and, I hope, some enlightening points that are universal.

Lessons From The World’s Most Successful People

1. Don’t plan your career. Most of the really successful people I’ve met and interviewed these past 30 years at Fortune had no clue what they wanted to do when they were in high school or even in college. They stayed flexible and open to possibilities.

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Lessons From The World’s Most Successful People via Fortune