Bill Gates, as he has done on other occasions, has given a talk to the new graduates of Northern Arizona University and, in addition, has collected on his blog how his intervention has been.
The creator of Microsoft wanted to focus on telling graduates the five things that he would have liked to have been told at “the graduation he never had” (because he abandoned his career before that moment, something he likes to remember very much). And he also talked about one of the biggest mistakes of his life.
For Gates, the class of 2023 is not just any group of graduates. “Before most of them finished his freshman year of college, a once-in-a-generation pandemic changed lives -and learning- as we knew it·, which has led them to have ingenuity to overcome this new unknown context before.
And, for this reason, Gates says that he “excited to congratulate them before they began the next stages of their lives and share with them some of the knowledge that I have acquired”. And he also recalled that to create his speech he decided to focus on telling future professionals what he would have liked to hear at his age.
5 Things Gates Wish He Had Heard At Graduation
Bill Gates wanted to focus his speech on “the five things I wish they had said to me at the graduation I never attended.”
- Your life is not a one act play. “You’re probably feeling a lot of pressure right now to make the right decisions about your career. You may feel like those decisions are permanent. But they’re not. What you do tomorrow—or in the next ten years—doesn’t have to be what you do always”. You can change your mind, change careers…
- You’re never too smart to be confused. “At some point in your career you will run into a problem that you cannot solve on your own.” He recommends that you be humble if you don’t know something and find smart people to learn from. And besides, Gates says that almost everything I have achieved has been thanks to looking for others who knew more. People want to help and the key is not to be afraid to ask.
- Choose a job that solves a problem. “New industries and companies are emerging every day that will allow you to earn a living and make a difference, and advances in science and technology have made it easier than ever to make an impact.” And as ideas, the mogul talks about how foresters (some of the graduates present) have the drones that use LIDAR to make accurate maps of the forest floor and can find ways to use that technology to help fight climate change; others, starting careers as programmers, will be able to use their talents to ensure that all people can benefit from artificial intelligence.
- Don’t underestimate the power of friendship. “When I was in school, I became friends with another student who shared many of my interests, such as science fiction novels and computer magazines. I didn’t know how important that friendship would be. My friend’s name was Paul Allen, and together we founded Microsoft”. Your classmates are your network, your future co-founders and colleagues. “A great future source of support, information and advice.”
Furthermore, according to Gates:
When you spend your day doing something that solves a big problem, it energizes you to do your best work. It forces you to be more creative and gives your life a strong sense of purpose.
The most important piece of advice Gates now regrets
And in the last of the tips he picks up something that has led him to regret something that marked his life (and that of those around him) a few years ago: “You’re not lazy if you take a break“.
Gates says that when he was the age of these graduating people (in their early 20s, mostly), “he didn’t believe in vacations. He didn’t believe in weekends. He forced everyone around me to work long hours. In the early days of Microsoft, my office overlooked the parking lot and I kept track of who left early and who stayed late.” Paul Allen has even said in the past that “Microsoft had a high-stress environment because of Bill’s demands.”
But over the years, and especially when I became a father, I realized that life is much more than work. “Don’t wait as long as I did to learn this lesson. Spend time nurturing your relationships, celebrating your successes, and recovering from your losses.. Take a break when you need it. Take it easy, with the people around you when they need it too.”
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Image | Gates Notes and Genbeta Blog