If you are the richest man in the world with a net worth of $50 billion, what would you consider as the best advice that you ever got?
Bill Gates created the Microsoft empire and has amassed a huge fortune since 90% of the world’s computers run on their operating system. (Unfortunately, I belong to the 10% who don’t use the Windows platform.) Last June 2009, he stepped down from the day to day operation of Microsoft to focus on philantrophy. He is now running the world’s largest charitable organization – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation valued at $27.5 billion. He co-chairs with his dad, Bill Gates Sr.
When asked [by Fortune magazine, July 6, 2009] what was the best advice he ever got, his response was his dad encouraged him to do things that he wasn’t good at –in sports like soccer, swimming and football. (This is contrary to some leadership teachings that says you only focus on things that you are good at.) What it did to him was to be exposed to different leadership opportunities and it also showed him that he wasn’t good at a lot of other things. Talk about teaching humility the hard way.
Bill’s father, Bill Gates Sr. made sure that he would get along with and encourage the right things with his kids. Family traditions and values are observed. His dad and mom even took parent effectiveness training in their church.
We can see two things:
1. As a parent, don’t underestimate the impact of your influence over your child.
Prov. 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
2. As you are growing up, never cut your ties with your parents for advice. This is still seen now in their foundation since Bill’s dad co-chairs with him. Bill Sr. is still considered as the voice of wisdom for Bill.
Prov. 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
I remember asking my mom and dad for advice many years ago as I was making a decision whether to go to business or become a pastor. They said, “Never make decisions based on money.” I decided to be a pastor and never had any regrets. Thanks for your wisdom, Mom and Dad!
What about you, “What’s the best advise you ever got?”