Bill Gates is an emperor. He’s built one of the most powerful companies in the global economy, donated billions to charity, and revolutionized the way humans interact with technology. He is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $79.2 billion, and has focused for the past 16 years since stepping down as CEO of Microsoft on his foundation and philanthropy. He is the most successful college dropout on the planet, and is constantly focused on the future of the human race.
Through his observation of how a successful business runs and his involvement in global humanitarian causes, he has realized that there are a few things that will serve any newcomer to the workforce well in the near and distant future.
Be aware of emerging fields.
Bone up on your science, engineering, and economics. He calls workers in those fields the future “agents of change for all institutions” and recommends beefing up knowledge of the sciences, mathematics, and economics to be prepared to enter—or at least interact with—these three fields. You don’t have to run out and learn how to code, but you should probably be able to understand what coders do.
Gates said in a commencement address to Stanford University that “Optimism is often dismissed as false hope. But there is also false hopelessness.” So persevere.
Be wary of success.
According to Gates, it is a “lousy teacher” who “seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
Be a fighter for the greater good.
Gates is an activist and would inspire you to be one too. In a 2011 speech to the National Urban League, he said, “Every human being has equal worth. Everyone deserves to live a healthy and productive life. Success shouldn’t depend on the race or income of your parents.”
Think the problems of the world are too daunting? Too bad. In a Harvard University commencement address, he told graduates, “Don’t let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.”
He is a firm believer that if you simply make people aware of a problem, and give them a way to stop it, they will pitch in and “be moved to act.”
Way back in 1994, Gates told Playboy magazine that this was crucial. “Somebody could do it differently and still do it well. You can’t have this bias that they need to do things the same way.”
So go ahead and strike out in the direction of your dreams. But listen to your Uncle Bill. He’s pretty smart.
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