Among other things, billionaire Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, wants you to know that he has made mistakes in life.
“You’re not lazy if you take breaks,” Gates wisely told Northern Arizona University (NAU) forestry and engineering graduates in a speech he later posted on his personal blog, Gates Notes.
“When I was your age, I didn’t believe in vacations. I didn’t believe in weekends. I pushed everyone around me to work very long hours.”
“In the early days of Microsoft, my office overlooked the parking lot—and I kept track of who was leaving early and who was staying late.”
Bill Gates tells you not to be like him
Intensive! But as Gates acknowledged shortly afterward, the level of stare-in-the-parking lot intensity may not have been entirely healthy—not for him, and certainly not for the people around him.
“But as I got older — and especially once I became a father — I realized that there’s more to life than work,” Gates added.
“Don’t wait as long as I did to learn this lesson. Take time to nurture your relationships, celebrate your successes, and recover from your losses.”
“Take a break when you need to,” the billionaire continued. “Make life easier for those around you when they need it!”.
That’s good advice from a man who has made billions from apparently keeping notes on who’s overworked and who’s not, while failing to nurture his interpersonal relationships. You heard Gates: don’t be like him. You might make a ton of money, but eventually you’ll stand up in front of a graduating class and talk wistfully about the vacations you wish you hadn’t taken.
Of course, Gates isn’t the only billionaire known for an arguably over-intense work ethic. Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter CEO Elon Musk — who has seen his wealth decline lately for reasons other than vacation — is famous for sleeping on the Tesla factory floors, or for not sleeping much at all during Silicon Valley is known for its collective fascination with “biohacking” as a means of increasing productivity.
But according to an older Gates, that degree of workaholism simply isn’t the way to go. Take that vacation!
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