• Priya Sharma Shaikh

Advice for the youth @BillGates

"This is the most amazing time to be alive. I hope you make the most of it.”

When Bill Gates says something I pay attention and urge you to do so too. The founder of one of the largest and most ubiquitous tech companies of the world, Gates is also one of the richest men alive.

Since moving on from his position at Microsoft, his wife Melinda and he have been running the Bill & Melinda Foundation, where he’s focused on solving global problems by funding social projects across the world.

Gates himself is very active on social media and is a blogger too where he’s constantly sharing interesting insights or recommending people or books and ideas. Early this year he shared advice with young graduates in a string of tweets. The advice was specific and motivational at the same time. He highlighted the few high-impact sectors that he’s excited about.

“AI, energy, and biosciences are promising fields where you can make a huge impact. It's what I would do if starting out today.”

These are all sectors that are at the cusp of infiltrating the society after years of innovation and development in labs. Each of these wide fields are poised to radically alter human lives in the near to long future. The fields are as dynamic as IT was in the 70’s and 80’s when Gates was starting out. No wonder he’s excited about these fields.

In the tweets following this one he veers into motivating youngsters to take up work that can positively impact the world, and leave it a better place.

“I also have one big regret: When I left school, I knew little about the world’s worst inequities. Took me decades to learn. 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.”

This is a call to action for those who want to help make the world a better place. Gates started his foundation rather late in life, but has since focused exclusively on it, bringing attention to major challenges facing all of us.

The next few tweets are tips on how to be happy and successful at the same time.

“Meanwhile, surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self. As @MelindaGates does for me. Like @WarrenBuffett I measure my happiness by whether people close to me are happy and love me, & by the difference I make for others.”

He then moves on to allaying concerns about the bleak socio-political realities facing the world today. Despite everything he feels that the world is a better place today than it ever was. To convince others of this premise he recommends Steven Pinker’s book “Better Angels of our Nature” to youngsters.

@SAPinker shows how the world is getting better. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. This is the most peaceful time in human history. That matters because if you think the world is getting better, you want to spread the progress to more people and places. It doesn’t mean you ignore the serious problems we face. It just means you believe they can be solved.”

He ends by iterating his worldview, which enables him to retain a positive mindset amidst all the gloom and doom one sees in the news these days. Only when people believe in the possibility of change for the better can we expect them to act for it.

Gates is leading by example and is as good a role model as any. You are unlikely to hurt yourself by following his advice. Give it a shot if you are confused or overwhelmed by the choices (or lack thereof) facing you.

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