3 takeaways from Bill Gates' advice to fresh college graduates

3 takeaways from Bill Gates' advice to fresh college graduates
PHOTO: Reuters
W.T.M. Why This Matters
Having built a multi-billion dollar software company and done plenty of philanthropic work, Bill Gates is someone you should sit up and listen to. Especially when he gives great advice.

42 years ago, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard College and started a computer software company with his high school friend Paul Allen. The company grew by leaps and bounds, and is today known as Microsoft.

Now, the richest man in the world for the fourth year in a row according to Forbes, Gates recently offered some pearls of wisdom in an essay to the graduating classes of 2017.

Here are our three takeaways from his advice, which was first published in Mic.

1. Fields of the future

Gates shortlists three fields that would allow graduates to make big impact on the world.

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The first is artificial intelligence, a field whose potential to "make people's lives more productive and creative" remains relatively untapped.

The second is energy. Gates writes that "making (energy) clean, affordable and reliable will be essential for fighting poverty and climate change."

The third is biosciences which will help people "live longer, healthier lives."

2. Intelligence and skills come in many different shapes and forms

Intelligence comes in many different forms and is not one-size-fits-all. Hard skills are just as important as soft skills, something that Gates himself was unaware of when he first started off in the workforce.

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"In the early days of Microsoft, I 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," he writes.

"I was wrong about that. I had to learn to recognise and appreciate people's different talents."

3. Be the change you want to see in the world

In this age of technology, Gates writes that the younger generation have access to more information and awareness of world issues "in ways my friends and I never could".

This also empowers the youth of today to take a stand against inequity and work to solve it.

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He reminds graduates that the state of the world is improving.

While there are still many problems faced across the world, he calls on graduates to look at all the progress that is happening concurrently, and to "spread it to more people and places" by searching for solutions to these problems. 

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He advocates philanthropic work and to "surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you and push you to be your best self."

Sound advice, we think.

pariel@sph.com.sg

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