We all love life lessons from billionaires. So, here’s one from the world’s second richest man, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft
In March 2020, Bill Gates stepped down as a board member of Microsoft, the software firm he founded with Paul Allen. After relentlessly working at Microsoft’s mission of putting a computer in every home; he now focuses on things that give him happiness. With his wife Melinda, Bill Gates chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation.
Bill Gates’s (Ask Me Anything) sessions on the most popular question and answer sessions on Reddit are very popular. Users ask all kinds of questions, from inquiries about his hobbies to whether he still writes code.
In the last session, one thought-provoking question rose to the top: what keeps Bill Gates happy?
Gates highlighted four main ingredients that have brought him happiness.
Honour your commitments.
When Gates was younger, he was committed to Microsoft’s mission — the idea of putting “a computer on every desk and in every home.” That commitment involved countless hours to software, but over time, the vision became a reality. He says, “nothing gives you a greater sense of your power than when you do what you’ve said you’ll do.”
As his original ambition was slowly realized, Gates needed to find a new commitment. We have to evolve at the age of 20, 40, 50 and 60. Today, at 63, that commitment has come in the form of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation hopes to eradicate infectious diseases such as malaria and polio and improving the living conditions of the world’s poorest people — which brings us to the second ingredient.
Give generously — no matter your wealth.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a tremendous philanthropic force over the years, and it’s only increasing in momentum.
In 2006, Gates convinced his good friend Warren Buffett to donate $31 billion dollars of his fortune to the foundation, and the Giving Pledge emerged a few years later as an open invitation for other billionaires to do the same.
Since then, more than 200 of the world’s wealthiest people have joined the Giving Pledge, dedicating the majority of their wealth to charitable efforts around the world.
While you might not have billions to set aside for philanthropy, everyone can contribute something to help other people.
All too often people imagine they’ll give generously when they have more wealth to spare, but with that approach you risk coming to the end of your life without ever having truly contributed to an important cause.
On the other hand, start now with whatever time or money you can spare. Also, on a personal level being free worry about financial things is a real bliss.
Respect your body
As an avid tennis player, Gates is aware of the link between exercise and happiness. The health benefits of exercise are difficult to overstate, from better weight control and reduced risk of heart disease to improvements to mental health and overall mood.
You get only one body, so it’s crucial to treat it like a temple. A sedentary lifestyle comes at a high cost
Spend more time with your family.
Workplace stress is now a reality all across the world. Working long hours is causing diabetes and other lifestyle diseases.
But besides the obvious health concern, putting in excessive hours at the office means spending less time somewhere else. We all have just 24 hours in every day.
Unfortunately for many workaholics, time with family is one of the first things to go when work hours start to ramp up. This decision almost inevitably leads to more conflict and more stress, further exacerbating health risks.
We need to protect the time we spend with the family by setting a few non-negotiable boundaries. Finish your work in the time allotted and do not burn out.
Bringing it home
Gates’s insights on happiness are incredibly illuminating, particularly because they all have one thing in common: accessibility. For all his billions, the things that have brought him happiness are surprisingly within reach.
Anyone can commit themselves to something and follow through with it, donate time or money to worthy causes, take steps to improve personal health, and spend more time with family or loved ones.
Make the correct choices and choose your happiness as the end result. The billionaire philanthropist, has donated $300 million towards the global effort to combat COVID=19 through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The discussion also weaved towards whether money can buy happiness? Refering to a study in the Journal Nature Human behavior, Gates said beyond a particular point of annual income for an individual, money does not add to the emotional life satisfaction of a person.