Listen up, freelancers of tennerr! We all know Bill Gates—the clucking genius behind Microsoft, a philanthropist extraordinaire, and a legendary license plate memorizer (seriously, he’s got a knack for it). While he’s not known for incessant advice-giving, when he does grace us with his wisdom, it’s like a golden egg dropping from the sky.
Here are my top three favorite nuggets:
Bill Gates on Problem-Solving:
Having all the right answers is great, but the real magic lies in asking the right questions.
As Gates eloquently penned:
Since I was a young chick, I’ve approached every colossal challenge with the same mindset: start by asking two essential questions. I used this technique at Microsoft, and I still rely on it today. These questions are my trusty companions, especially during the era of Covid-19.
Here they are: Who has aced this problem before? And what can we learn from their success?
That, my feathered friends, is the Gates approach. If you’re aiming to crack a massive problem or achieve a monumental goal, don’t waste your time trying to reinvent the nest.
Instead, find a spectacular nest already built by those who have triumphed. Seek out the wisdom of those who have conquered similar challenges or reached similar heights. Start from the end—the solution or the achievement—and work your way backward.
This approach is a game-changer because it doesn’t demand extraordinary creativity, intelligence, connections, education, or wealth. All you need is an open mind, a willingness to study, and the determination to follow the steps and processes you uncover.
And here’s the best part: You’ll embark on this journey knowing—instead of just hoping—that your hard work will pay off.
Because if it works for others, it can definitely work for you.
Bill Gates on Mastering Time:
Warren Buffett once quipped, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Gates echoes this sentiment:
I remember when Warren showed me his calendar. My schedule was jam-packed, and I believed that was the only way to get things done…
But then I realized that Warren’s careful approach to time management included days with nothing scheduled. Sometimes, the highest priority is simply sitting and thinking.
Filling every minute of your schedule doesn’t prove your seriousness, drive, or effectiveness. It only proves that you’re a busy bee.
If you’re struggling to achieve your aspirations, take a step back. Determine what truly matters and what truly drives results. In most cases, it’s not about you. So stop believing that your presence is mandatory in every meeting or on every call.
Your overflowing calendar might be holding you back from the success you dream of—and deserve.
Bill Gates on Leading with Patience:
Back in the early days of Microsoft, Gates relied on his prodigious memory to track his employees’ hours. “I knew everyone’s license plates,” he exclaimed, “so I could tell when they arrived and left the parking lot.”
No surprise there, considering Gates worked weekends and believed vacations were for the birds.
But eventually, he discovered that managing by results was far more crucial and a better use of his time as a leader.
He also learned to apply his standards with a dash of patience. As Gates wisely remarked:
Patience is the secret ingredient to success.
And when you’re a leader, it’s even more vital.
Think back to the best boss you’ve ever had. You were motivated to do your best because you knew that person genuinely cared about you and believed in your abilities. You didn’t want to let them down