In his 2010 book "Life Is What You Make It," Peter Buffet, Warren Buffet's son, and a composer and philanthropist, writes about what his father taught him about work ethics. Specifically, what the Buffett family's work ethic is, and what it's not.
"For my father, and now me, the essence of a good work ethic starts with meeting a challenge of self-discovery, of finding something you love to do, so that work — even, or especially, when it's very difficult and arduous — becomes joyful. Maybe even sacred," he writes.
When he was young, Peter's father often worked at home, and spent long hours in his office looking over the balance sheets and reviewing the company's results. "The concentration he brought to the process was bounded by the mystical," he told CNBC.
When Warren emerged from his study, Peter remembers, "he would almost have had a holy calm—the calmness of a person whose ego had completely merged with the task at hand."
Peter claims that digging into that work has given Warren the same rush of endorphins that athletes get from intense physical effort. Observing him, he writes, "I have found that work should be challenging and intense... And it should make us happy."
Warren Buffet is man who followed his passion and that is how is so successful today.
"I was very, very lucky to find [my passion] when I was seven or eight years old," the Berkshire Hathaway CEO told CNBC in 2012. "You can't guarantee you'll find it in your first job out. But I always tell college students: 'Take the job you would take if you were independently wealthy. You're going to do well at it.'"
Peter suggests that we should stop believing that there is only one passion out there for each of us, and that whatever it is may not always translate into something that you can do for a living. Rather, we could ask ourselves, what are the things that I love so much that I could get lost in them for hours at a time, without getting bored and impatient?
That's the path to success and there are certainly a few of them, not just one.
"Some people think they're talking about a work ethic, when what they're really talking about is a wealth ethic," Peter explains. What these people truly respect, he says, isn't hard work, but a big paycheck often leads to hard work.
The problem with honoring the rewards of work, rather than the work itself, "is that the rewards can always be taken away," he says, adding that anyone who has lived through dicey economic times knows this all too well.
"Is a person a success one day and a failure the next simply because, through no fault of their own, their firm goes out of business? Is this brilliant entrepreneur suddenly a loser because conditions change in worldwide markets?" he asks. "Why would you wager your self-respect on factors so far out of your control?"
Peter says Warren never did it because of the money. Even though the money finally came, it was a by-product, and after-thought: "If my father had been working mainly for the money, his efforts would have quickly dulled into a routine—a job."
That's why it's so vital to maintain a sustainable work ethic; it prevents one from being distracted by tricky incentives, and instead holds the emphasis on the "passion, focus and seriousness of purpose" in which work is approached.
"Those are the things that no one can take away from us," Peter says.