Nine Things Bill Gates Taught Me About Life & Business
Growing up I’ve always had the passion for business and Bill Gates was someone who I had always looked up to and kept an eye on. I’m sure a lot of people felt this same way, as Bill Gates was the common person of choice when you thought of someone who was super successful and rich. This of course was before the rise of the internet.
As a kid who was always coming up with new ways to make money and run businesses, I often heard the phrase “He’s the next Bill Gates!” – it’s not that I was making a TON of money in my pre-teens/early teens, but is that I had the same mentality and passion that Bill probably had when he was starting his first companies and Microsoft.
I thought it would be fun to reflect back on the years and see how some of Bill Gates’s most notable quotes apply to myself and business in general. Feel free to grab any of these quotes and post them on your blog, social networks or whatever you like.
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
This quote is very true in the world of online marketing. One day you can make an amazing web site, mobile app or ad campaign and do $100,000 in profit in a few short weeks, then you can start thinking you are the king of the world and then the campaign dies out. You always need to stay on your toes and make sure you keep your feet on the ground.
“Life is not fair, get used to it.”
Life definitely isn’t fair… what happened to someone and not to others is all of the difference in the world. Why did this person have to die, why did another get to win the lottery, why do nice people always finish last? – all common questions that just prove life isn’t fair, however that doesn’t mean everything has to happen by chance. Nearly all entrepreneurs are successful because of their own ambition, passion and dedication to succeed. While life may very well be unfair, you do still have a fighting chance to take charge and make the most out of it.
“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world… if you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
Life in general is hard enough, but in the business world it can be even tougher. Constantly seeing companies sell for millions of dollars and always having someone younger come in with fresh new ideas is very overwhelming. The best thing you can do is to always try to improve your own life and business – comparing yourself to others will only waste time and make you fall behind in both areas.
“I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all. Now he is an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from Bill Gates, specifically because it relates with me so closely. I wasn’t the best student in school, more so that I didn’t care as much about grades and I did what I needed to get by. I made honor roll a few times and once I realized there was no difference between making it and not, it was just something I wanted to prove to myself that I could do. This applied even more so in high school when I first started my business and was making more than most of my teachers at the time.
Another funny story about this quote and my time in high school was when I took my first computer programming class. They handed out a quick test on the first day for everyone to take. I had no idea what the questions/answers were and failed the test. I ended up dropping the class and never looked at C++/programming again. Now I run my own company and can hire the best programmers in the world.
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
Speaking of teachers and high school… this is another great quote that applies to many of us. While in school we have many teachers, but we will really only remember a few of them. The ones we remember are the BEST and the WORST ones, though the best ones may have been the ones who took the time to make sure each student got the attention they needed, made sure no one was bullying students in the classroom or even came up with and and creative ways to teach their courses. The takeaway here is that teachers (in any situation) can make or break the future and success of a student/individual.
“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”
Not only does this principle apply to business, but it really applies to everything! A first impression is made upon everything at first glance and that first impression can never be taken away. Does someone look good when you first meet them? Do you want a car because it looks good, or what’s under the hood? No matter what the situation is, always make sure what you are working with also looks best on the outside.
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
Celebrating your success is awesome, but never forget where you came from. For every successful person you hear of in life and business, there are thousands of failed dreams and projects right behind them. Appreciate and celebrate your success, but you must always learn from your failures as well. Nothing lasts forever and you always need to be ready for what’s next.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Another very accurate and important point from Mr. Gates. Remember the last time you went to a restaurant and the service or food was horrible, but when someone came by to ask how everything was, you just said “thanks, everything is good!” – this is a perfect example an unhappy customer that could have told the owner of the business how to make something better, so it wouldn’t happen to other customers. No one wants to hear negatives about themselves or their business, but they must be heard and listened to in order to make things better.
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
The internet is drastically changing everything around us. One of the amazing things it has done for all of us is given us the ability to be leaders and authority figures for other people around the world. I’ve been able to expand my reach to millions of people around the world thanks to the blog, and everyday thousands of people will start a new web site, blog or social networking account of their own for the first time. The internet is amazing and it’s giving everyone the ability to have their voice heard and become a leader to anyone anywhere.
I hope you’ve enjoy my 1,200+ word post on my real life experiences and how they relate to come of the most well known quotes from Bill Gates. Be sure to leave your own favorite quotes and thoughts in the comment section below.
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