Bill Gates on Life: 11 Things You Don’t Learn in School

From the Internet
According to e-mail broadcasts, Bill Gates gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world. We at Success Discoveries don’t have a direct connection to Bill Gates, but we are betting he didn’t say these things quite the way it is reported. So we are listing the list here with our “more likely interpretation” in italics.


  1. Life is not fair - get used to it!

There will be challenges in life. There will be politics too. And, we are all blind to something. When all three conditions collide, most people typically react by saying “that’s not fair”. That is a response or role called “the victim”. Playing the victim will never get you anywhere. Avoid playing the victim by not using the word “fair” when describing situations you are in. Instead, take a “seek first to understand” strategy. Ask more questions, get the view from a different perspective (not another perspective aligned with your perspective), and visualize yourself in the role of the other person. Then, either accept and respect the situation and the person(s) or take action to remove yourself from the challenge so you can apply your energy in another direction. 

  • The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
  • The world does care. But the truth is that self-esteem comes from accomplishing. Accomplishing comes from you, not someone else. If you live at home and have very caring parents that tend to do everything for you, start being proactive and doing those things before they can do it. Start and finish projects. Take responsibility for your own outcomes.

  • You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
  • An interesting fact that recruiters won’t tell you and isn’t reported on very heavily is that those people in the most lucrative or highest positions in their field didn’t job hop. They knew what they wanted to do, knew who or where they wanted to work and set a strategy for getting there. Rising up the corporate ladder quickly has only one outcome, a fast fall. It takes time to learn and experience all that is needed to be successful at high levels. Taking a short cut isn’t a real option.

  • If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
  • Bosses come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Some are good. Some are not so good. They have their own baggage, short comings and issues. The victim blames the boss. The successful person finds a way to leverage what the boss can bring to the table. And every boss can bring value. But every boss is in their position to “get results”. A good boss takes time to understand your talent, understand what motivates you and then tries to align the work to leverage your talent and motivations. But there are times the work is the work and has to be done and the boss wants it done a certain way without input. Just keep in mind that when you are the boss, you’ll have those moments also.

  • Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
  • Actually starting at the bottom or taking on the projects that no one else wants is the easiest way to be successful. Those coming out of “grad school” and put a few steps up the ladder may be at a disadvantage if they haven’t gained the necessary experience. So don’t judge too quickly those that get pushed above you. They might not be there long if they don’t have what is required to be successful. Want to create value - do what no one else is raising their hand to do. But make sure it is what the boss and/or organization wants done.

  • If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
  • Most bosses remember being in your shoes. Mistakes are part of learning. Investing in you is part of what a company is doing. That includes investing in your learning by tolerating your mistakes. Stay focused and go the extra mile and you won’t mess up very often.

  • Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
  • The main point here is to do more looking inward than judging outward.

  • Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
  • At some point in your life, you will be fired. It may or may not be your fault. But reality will hit the first time you are fired. It isn’t that you are fired. It is what you do after you get fired that matters.

  • Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
  • Pretty negative perspective here. This one sounds like someone hasn’t been allowed much of a personal life and resents it. The reality is you can have it all but it is up to you to organize it, pay for it and make it happen. No one is watching out for your well being as much as you are. Being too demanding of an employer whose trying to figure out how to meet payroll and not cut employee medical benefits will most likely get you a long sabbatical with no return ticket.

  • Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
  • Seinfeld and Friends are fun to watch but the amount of time you have to socialize is going to be much different - unless you are unemployed.

  • Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
  • The fact is most bosses are well educated. If you go to work for a smaller company, you might have an owner/boss who is very entrepreneurial and didn’t go to college. That can be exciting but challenging in its own way. Either way, blowing off school isn’t too smart. You have the smarts. There is more than just having smarts. Dues is a necessity of life. Taking AP classes in high school and pursuing the best college/university you can is a form of paying your dues. There are no short cuts.
    Best wishes for your success.
    Carl Nielson
    Chief Discovery Officer
    Success Discoveries

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