In his commencement address, Bill Gates offers five life lessons to graduates.
Recently, Bill Gates, the wealthy co-founder of Microsoft who is infamous for leaving Harvard University, gave the graduation address at Northern Arizona University. Gates gave the graduating students wise counsel after reflecting on his own path and stressing the things he wishes he had learned at graduation.
‘Your life isn’t a one-act play’
Gates underlined that although the pressure to choose a job after graduation may seem overwhelming, the graduates should keep in mind that such choices are temporary. Drawing on his own experience, Gates said that although he first thought he would spend his whole career at Microsoft, he eventually learned the value of reassessing one’s goals and being open to new chances.
‘You are never too smart to be confused’
He also emphasized the need of adopting an attitude of constant learning. Gates said that in his undergraduate years, he believed he knew everything, but that he quickly learned that the first step in real learning is admitting one’s ignorance. He underlined the importance of working with clever people to overcome challenging situations, urging students to seek advice and ideas from others.
‘Gravitate towards work that solves a problem’
Gates also advised people to gravitate toward projects that tackle important problems. Invoking his significant charitable endeavors, notably those carried out via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he emphasized the tremendous opportunity that graduates have to change the world. Gates underlined that choosing a career that addresses pressing issues not only results in personal satisfaction but also inspires creativity and a sense of purpose.
‘Don’t underestimate the power of friendship’
Gates emphasized the need of cultivating relationships and creating powerful networks. He reminded graduates to respect the individuals they had met along their educational path by sharing his own regrets about not emphasizing social interactions while in college. Gates underlined the importance of these relationships in influencing one’s future and provided instances of his own friends who had a significant impact on both his personal and professional lives.
‘You are not a slacker if you cut yourself some slack’
And last, Gates urged against putting work above personal happiness. He acknowledged that in the past, he had believed that working continuously without breaks or weekends was ideal. He did, however, understand the need of striking a work-life balance after having a father. He advised graduates to avoid making the same error, to enjoy their triumphs, and to take pauses when required.
Bill Gates imparted insightful lessons from his own life experiences in his address, which struck a chord with the graduating students. His advice emphasized the value of adaptation, ongoing education, social ties, meaningful employment, and keeping a good work-life balance.