Bill Gates: 4 choices in life separate the doers from the dreamers

These are the simple habits that have helped Gates become one of the richest people in the world. Do you place yourself among the doers or the dreamers?

Bill Gates has given a lot of advice on how to live a successful life or run a successful business. The high bar that the Microsoft co-founder sets daily is not impossible to achieve.

However, it will require developing and practicing some new habits. Paving your own path to success means dreaming less and doing more than Gates himself has done as he becomes the fourth richest person in the world.

Here are four things that clearly separate the doers from the dreamers:

In 2019, Gates spoke to students, parents and alumni at his high school alma mater in Seattle. One question Gates was asked is especially noteworthy for the next generation of workers: “What are the skills today’s students need to know to thrive in the world of 2030 and 2040?”

Gates responded: “For the curious student, these are the best times, because your ability to constantly update your knowledge with podcasts or online lectures is better than ever.”

Gates highlighted the fundamental importance of curiosity as a framework for acquiring knowledge. A growth mindset as a foundation and impetus to stay curious and keep learning, Gates said, will help prepare future workers for the immense changes that will take place.

Gates has maintained an incredible appetite for curiosity and learning new things over the years. In an interview with The New York Times, Gates said that he reads up to 50 books each year: “It’s one of the main ways I learn, and has been since I was a kid.”

Not only is curiosity key to the learning process, it’s also great for overall life satisfaction, according to science. Several research studies suggest that curious people have better relationships, connect better, and enjoy socializing more. In fact, other people are more easily attracted to and socially closer to people who are curious.

As CEO of Microsoft, Gates once expressed an ideology now in demand in people-centered work cultures: “As we look to the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

One thing remains truer now than ever: good leaders distinguish themselves by effectively influencing and empowering their human workers in times of crisis. They do this by responding daily to the challenges their people face and doing whatever is necessary to protect employees or the business.

It is taking into account the mental health needs of employees and their families, as social isolation, economic hardships and other life uncertainties weigh on people in unique ways.

This is how great leaders bravely shine with heroic displays of empathy and compassion when other human beings are down. He is also the kind of leader we will need in a post-pandemic economy, as we recover and move forward.

Another type of mindset needed to build your own success is something that all busy professionals can benefit from: learning to delegate better.

Gates admits that delegation didn’t come easy to him in the early days of Microsoft. He knew that his obsession with programming wasn’t sustainable if the company was going to scale, so he had to consciously rely on other people’s ability to write software.

As Microsoft grew, so did its management responsibilities. Gates soon realized that he had to learn to delegate his weaknesses, such as managing the people side of the business, to other people’s strengths.

If your responsibilities have outgrown your ability to handle them, the first pillar of successful delegation is having a great team around you who can handle the task. And two-way trust must be established so that anyone feels comfortable delegating and sharing responsibilities.

Gates is also quick to credit his close friend Warren Buffett as a teacher whose wisdom has had a major impact on his life.

Recognizing one of Buffett’s greatest strengths, Gates gives Buffett full credit for a basic life lesson that has led to his own success:

«No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time»writes Gates. “There are only 24 hours in everyone’s day. Warren has a keen sense of this. He doesn’t let his calendar be filled with useless meetings.”

This requires focusing intensely on what is essential to you and your business, and blocking out distracting ideas, information, and opinions. The question you should always ask yourself throughout your day is: “Is this important now?”

To truly understand how valuable your time is, start by evaluating your meetings. Useless meetings are certainly an obstacle in the way of focusing and making the most of your day.

And successful people, like Buffett and Gates, are acutely aware that they must focus their entire day on the things that matter most.
They are extremely good at managing their time and focusing on that “one thing.”