Bill Gates Career Advice; 7 Insightful Tips on How To Be Successful

Bill Gates Career Advice #2

Bill Gates Career Advice #1: Surround Yourself With The Best

“Surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self,”

As the best selling author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn says;

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”

If you spend time or work with people better then you then you will be pulled up to their level, and vice versa.

That’s why you should always strive to study at the best universities and work for the best companies as you will learn from the best.

Bill Gates Career Advice #1

Bill Gates Career Advice #2: Finding Out What You’re Good At

“The thing that you’re likely to be world-class at is whatever you obsessed over from age 12 to 18. In my case, it was writing software,”

This one I’m not sure I agree with as many teenagers don’t have something they are passionate about.

However, I know some friends now in their 30’s that worked in a job they didn’t like for 10 years and now have used their skills from that career to start a business based on what they loved to do growing up.

One example is a friend of mine who worked as a project manager in their 20’s, and now makes a lot of money buying and selling video games which he loved playing as a kid.

Another friend of mine gave up her job as an accountant, and now sells toys geared at little girls.

She used her business acumen to make money out of something she always loved growing up.

So while Bill might be an extreme example, I think there are people that can definitely tap into what they loved to spend time doing as a kid and potentially make money out of it as a career.

I think Tony Robbins gives great advice when it comes to following your passion, read about it in my post Tony Robbins Career Advice; 5 Ways to be Happy in Your Career

Bill Gates Career Advice #3: Don’t be Afraid to Take on Big Problems

“Don’t let complexity stop you. Be Activists. Take on the big inequalities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives”

Peter Diamandis (Engineer, Entrepreneur, and Multi-Millionaire) says:

‘If you can solve someones’ problem and get paid for it, you’ve got a business. Solve a problem that affects a billion people and you have a billion dollar business’

(Read more about his thoughts here)

Working on some of the big complex issues facing the world (i.e. artificial intelligence, clean energy, eradicating poverty, climate change, etc) will bring big opportunities.

Bill had one big regret:

When he left school, he knew little about the world’s worst inequities. He says it took him decades to learn.

He says:

“You know more than I did when I was your age. You can start fighting inequity, whether down the street or around the world, sooner.”

Bill Gates Career Advice #4: Have a Basic Knowledge

“I do think basic knowledge of the sciences, math skills, economics is necessary. A lot of careers in the future will be very demanding on those things.”

I think in the future the really creative people will thrive as their skills will not be able to be automated. However, if you are able to have a combination of science, economics and creative skills you will have a very competitive advantage over your peers.

Bill Gates Career Advice #5: Think About the Impact of Technology 

Bill encourages you to think about how jobs will evolve in the future:

“Even if you are thinking about sales or marketing, the rules of the game will change because of the digital revolution”

How will professions and industries develop and change due to technology and innovation.

If you can be switched onto how these will evolve you will have a competitive advantage over your peers.

Bill Gates Career Advice #6: Intelligence Will Only Get You So Far

In Bills’ early days at Microsoft he:

“believed that if you could write great code, you could also manage people well or run a marketing team or take on any other task.”

However, he was realised he was wrong about this saying:

“intelligence is not quite as important as I thought it was, and it takes many different forms.”

He encourages young people to recognise the talents of the people around you and to work together.

Bill Gates Career Advice #7: Be Careful How You Measure Your Success / Happiness

“I measure my happiness by whether people close to me are happy and love me, & by the difference I make for others.”

Just like Warren Buffett, money isn’t his measure of success.

For him, success (and ultimately happiness) comes down to how much you are loved by the people you care about.

Read more about from Warrens in my post 9 Valuable Pieces of Warren Buffett Life Advice; How To Be Successful

Bill Gates Book Recommendation:

Bill recommends the below book to graduates:

The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity by Steven Pinker.

He says it is one of the most inspiring books he has ever read. You can check out more book recommendations from Bill on his website here

If you found the above advice helpful and want more, check out the advice of 100 graduates 10 years out of university in my book ‘1000 Years of Career Advice’.

You can get the free ebook version here.

6 thoughts on “Bill Gates Career Advice; 7 Insightful Tips on How To Be Successful”

  1. I love this advice! There are so many true and accurate concepts listed here. The only one that is a little “hmmm” is the one about your passion from 12-18. I don’t know what I was passionate about during that time, but I think I was more in survival mode. Everyone has a different background and sometimes you don’t have the luxury of finding out what you are good at until later in life. Thanks for sharing. This is inspirational!

  2. Melanie

    There are some really good pointers here and great advice. Yes, intelligence does come in many forms for sure xx

  3. One point that sticks is this: Be careful how you measure success and happiness. This is so true. Many people measure happiness and success by materialism whereas it should be the little yet profound things such as kindness or love that should count.

  4. Kristine Nicole Alessandra

    Very credible advice from someone who has worked his way to success. I like #6. Collaboration will bring in success better than just working on your own. Be a team player, share talents and skills.

  5. I admire Bill Gates and his wife. I love how he is always trying to help others through his foundation and with his words.

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Hi, I’m Paul. I’m a Finance Director with 14 years experience working for big multinational companies.

I interviewed 100 graduates about their career paths and advice for a young generation.

This blog aims to help young people figure out their career paths.

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