Hello, Believe Nation!
I started the Mentor Me Series with the goal to try and hang around people who’ve had a lot more success than us and hopefully, by spending a little more time with them, some of their mindset, their belief systems, their way of thinking, seeps into us to help us become the best version of ourselves.
So today, we’re going to learn some of the very best advice from some of the Forbes billionaires.
So every year, Forbes makes a list of the richest people in the world. Many of them are entrepreneurs and I thought it’d be a fun idea to take some of the very best advice from the list of the wealthiest, most successful Forbes billionaires to help us get stronger.
And as always, as you’re watching the video, if you hear something that really resonates with you, please leave it down in the comments below and put quotes around it as well so other people can be inspired, too. Enjoy.
#1: Have Energy
When I started Microsoft, I didn’t think of it as all that risky. I mean, I was so excited about what we were doing.
It’s true, I could have gone bankrupt but, you know, I had a set of skills that were highly employable and, in fact, my parents were still willing to let me go back to Harvard and let me finish my education if I wanted to.
Warren: You’ve always got a job with me, Bill.
And that thing that was scary to me wasn’t quitting and starting a company, it was when I started hiring my friends and they expected to be paid.
“If you’re going to start a company, it takes so much energy that you better overcome your feeling of risk.” – Bill Gates
And then we had customers who went bankrupt, customers that I’d counted on to come through and so, then I got this incredibly conservative approach that I wanted to have enough money in the bank to pay a year’s worth of payroll, even if we didn’t get any payments coming in.
And I’m almost true to that the whole time. We have about 10 billion now, which is pretty much enough for the next year. Anyway, if you’re going to start a company, it takes so much energy that you better overcome your feeling of risk.
I don’t think that you, necessarily, if you’re going to start a company, you should do it at the start of your career. I think there’s a lot to be said of working for a company, learning how they do things. If you’re young, it’s hard to go least premises.
They made that hard for me, you couldn’t rent a car when you were under 25 at the time, so I was always taking taxis to go see customers. And people would say, “We’re going to have a discussion at the bar.” Well, I couldn’t go to the bar.
But you know, that’s fun because I’ll tell you, when people are first skeptical and they go, “This kid doesn’t know anything.” Then, when you show them you’ve really got a good product and you know something, they actually tend to go overboard and they think, “Whoa, you know, they know a lot. “Let’s really do an incredible amount with these people.”
So our youth, at least in this country, was a huge asset for us once we reached a certain threshold. It is hard, it’s hard to hire older people because they’ll be a little bit conservative about whether they should come and take the risk and it took three or four years before we could go out into the normal employment pool.
But those problems that come with starting a firm, you better think of those as part of the pleasure, part of the challenge, that is part of the excitement.
#2: Don’t Dwell On Mistakes
Woman: I was just wondering, what would you consider to be the worst investment that you’ve ever made?
The worst investment I ever made? Hmm, how long do you have?
I’ve made some very bad ones but that doesn’t really bother me. You know, it’d bother the shareholders but that’s another question. You’re going to make mistakes in life. I mean, there’s no question about it.
You don’t want to make ’em on the big decisions, you know, who you marry and some things like that. There’s no way I’m going to make a lot of business and investment decisions without making some mistakes. I may try to minimize ’em. I don’t dwell on ’em at all. I don’t look back.
The biggest mistakes are the ones that actually don’t show up. They’re the mistakes of omission rather than commission. We never lost that much money on any one investment.
“There’s no way I’m going to make a lot of business and investment decisions without making some mistakes. I may try to minimize ’em. I don’t dwell on ’em at all. I don’t look back. ” – Warren Buffett
But it’s the things that I knew enough to do that I didn’t do. We have missed profits of as much as 10 billion dollars and things that I knew enough to do and didn’t do. Now, the fact I didn’t buy Microsoft way back is not a foregone opportunity because I didn’t know enough to make that decision.
But there have been other investments where I did know enough to make the decision and for one reason or another, I either didn’t do it at all or I did it on a small scale. I was sucking my thumb when I should have been writing checks, you know, basically.
And those don’t show up. There’s no place where it shows missed opportunities but I’ve missed some big ones. The triumphs in life are partly triumphs because you know everything isn’t going to be a triumph and I would never get too hung up on mistakes.
I know a lot of people that really agonize over them and it just isn’t worth it. Tomorrow’s another day and you live it forward and just go on to the next thing.
#3: Step Ferociously
We know from our past experiences that big things start small. You know, the biggest oak starts from an acorn and if you want to do anything new, you’ve got to be willing to let that acorn grow into a little sapling and then, finally, into a small tree and maybe one day, it’ll be a big business on its own.
“You have to put one foot in front of the other. Things take time. There are no shortcuts. But you want to do those steps with, you know, passion and ferocity.” – Jeff Bezos
Interviewer: And in fact, that’s one of the mottoes for one of your initiatives and forgive my pronunciation of the latin, Gradatim ferociter, what does that mean to you?
Well it means step-by-step ferociously and it’s the motto for Blue Origin. And basically, you can’t skip steps. You have to put one foot in front of the other. Things take time. There are no shortcuts. But you want to do those steps with, you know, passion and ferocity.
#4: Don’t Give Up
The main thing is, when you’re starting something, it’s just kind of hard, you need to be pretty headstrong about it, where there are going to be all these challenges that come up and I think the main thing that you need to do is just not give up, right?
And kind of know what you want to do and the best entrepreneurs who I’ve met don’t really start companies because their goal is to build a company, they do it because they want to make a change in the world and help people and I think, if you kind of stay true to that, and if you just focus on powering through, no matter what the challenges are that will inevitably come up in your path, then you’ll find that there are lots of tools that are available and a lot of people who will help you build what you’re building.
“When you’re starting something, it’s just kind of hard, you need to be pretty headstrong about it, where there are going to be all these challenges that come up and I think the main thing that you need to do is just not give up” – Mark Zuckerberg
#5: Think Things Out For Yourself
Think things out for yourself. Come to your own judgements. Don’t simply conform to conventional ways of thinking, conventional ways of dressing, conventional ways of acting.
“You have to really go back to first principles and think things out for yourself, whether they’re scientific principles or moral principles or business ideas or product ideas, you have to think things out for yourself.” – Larry Ellison
A lot of things are based on fashion. Even morality, at times, is based on fashion. Slavery was once considered not to be immoral.
People are shocked that the Ancient Greeks had slaves, that we had slavery in this country as recently as 130, 140 years ago.
So, there are moral values, you have to really go back to first principles and think things out for yourself, whether they’re scientific principles or moral principles or business ideas or product ideas, you have to think things out for yourself.
#6: Lead A Good Personal Life
Carlos Slim Helú
I believe that the family and the personal life in business or professional life is not totally compatible, it’s necessary. You will have a better professional life with a good personal life and family life than if you don’t have a good personal life and family life.
I don’t understand the contrary and it’s very clear that the good personal life makes you stronger, you are stronger for the challenges, you are working, I don’t believe in working the hours of 16 hours or 14 hours. When you work too much, it’s because your job is beyond you.
“You will have a better professional life with a good personal life and family life than if you don’t have a good personal life and family life.” – Carlos Slim Helú
You are not controlling, you are not doing good, your job. If you need to be 15 hours, 16 hours, it’s because you are not organized, that you don’t have delegation of your responsibilities and I don’t believe in any business, in any activity, you need to work 15 or 16 hours and you don’t have time for yourself or for your family or for anyone.
#7: Get Used To Rejection
When I graduated from universities, and before I, you know, for three years I tried for in the universities, so applied jobs for thirty times, got rejected.
I went for a place, they said, “No, you’re not good.” I went to even the KFC, when KFC came to China, came to our city, 24 people went for the job. 23 people were accepted, I was the only guy.
And we went for police, five people, four of them accepted, I was the only guy that did not receive it.
So to me, being turned down, rejected, oh by the way, I told you I applied for Harvard for 10 times, rejected. I know I’ll be rejected –
They’re sorry now. 10 times, your wrote them and said “I’d like to come to Harvard.”
Yeah, and then I told myself, “Someday, I should go teach there, buddy.”
#8: Provide Value
Now, if you want to make a quick buck, you can do it a lot of different ways. You can cheat somebody, you can misrepresent something, you can go manipulate the political system to get an advantage, but if you want to be successful over a long period of time, I believe you need to focus first of all on creating value for others.
And I’ve had people, “Oh, that’s naive, that’s utopian.” No, it isn’t, because why will the customers want to pay you anything over a long period unless you’re creating value for them? Why would your employees want to work for you or if they did, they didn’t have any alternative, why do they want to give their best efforts? Why do they want to get excited? Why would they wake up at night with ideas?
“If you want to be successful over a long period of time, I believe you need to focus first of all on creating value for others.” – Charles Koch
If you’re in a community, a plant in a community, unless you’re creating value for that community, why would the community want you there? If you’re polluting and hurting people and not contributing anything to the community, so long term success starts with being dedicated to creating value for others. It’s not altruism, my whole philosophy is to have a system of mutual benefit, where both parties gain, a society based on win-win.
#9: Word Hard
The only thing that you can control that influences success in life is how hard you work, how honest you are and how well you deal with others.
You can control, those are variables, those variables. You can’t control how lucky you are, although, the more you work, the luckier you get.
You have no influence on the intellectual capabilities that God did or did not give you but you can work as hard as possible, you can be scrupulously honest so people respect you and you can get along with others because nobody does anything by themselves.
Interviewer: Did you have to pay a price, though, you personally?
Well, I think that everything is an either/or. There is a price in everything. You can study or you can go out and play. You can defer to others or you can try to hog the credit. You can be honest and suffer the consequences or you can lie, cheat, and steal and short-term, maybe even advance but long-term, you are better off if you work harder.
You are better off if you’re honest and you are better off if you give others credit and get them to help you, by helping them.
“The only thing that you can control that influences success in life is how hard you work, how honest you are and how well you deal with others.” – Michael Bloomberg
Interviewer:What do you tell others who try to strike that balance? Between family and work and volunteer efforts and everything else?
Well, you have to answer and either/or is invariably yes, you can’t go all in one direction. You cannot walk away from your family for your career.
On the other hand, if you walk away from your career for your family, you’re not going to have the money to support the family and parents, all the time, are making those kinds of choices between career and family, they do some of both and you try to blend the two and that may not be the perfect answer but that’s a practical answer that I’ve always told young people when they go off to college, you have to study and you have to get good grades but you certainly should have a good time, as well.
Because that’s part of your growing up experience and there’s no point in leading life to suffer all the time, you want to enjoy life as well as the next person. So, it’s some balance, some blend between the two.
#10: Follow Your Dreams
I want to talk about dreams for a second. And in my case, we’re literally in a dream. When I was in college, I was sure that I’d been admitted by a clerical error, probably a computer error. And because of that, I had an irrational fear I’d be sent home on the bus.
The Sergei’s here knows this is true. But it turns out, because of that anxiety, I woke up literally with a dream and it was kind of a strange dream. It went like, I think I can download the entire web onto some old computers that were lying around.
“I hope to encourage everyone to follow their dreams. ” – Larry Page
And that would probably seem pretty crazy to most people but I stayed up a couple hours in the middle of the night doing some math and it seemed actually pretty plausible. Well, assuming you actually didn’t keep any of the webpages, you only kept the links.
And then, started to figure out, given all that data, I thought it would take a couple of weeks and I told my advisor that and he just sort of laughed at me and it of course took a year or two.
But at the end of that, we had a way to rank webpages and no thoughts to search it all, but eventually, search entered the picture and you know the rest and that became Google. So I hope to encourage everyone to follow their dreams.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I hope you enjoyed, I’d love to know, what did you think of this video, did you enjoy it? Did you learn from it? What was your favorite clip and what was the biggest message that you took from this video? What are you going to immediately apply to your life or to your business? Leave it down in the comments below and I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally, I also want to give a quick shout out to Christophe, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and posting that fun picture on Instagram that included the little tiny temo on the side, I really, really, really appreciate your support.
So, thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is, much love, I’ll see you soon.
I want us happy focused on short-term money coming in when creating a company because otherwise, the company will die. So, I think that a lot of times, people think like, creating a company is going to be fun. I would say it’s really not that fun. Well, there are periods of fun and there are periods of where it is just awful.
And particularly, if you oversee over a company, you actually have a distillation of all the worst problems in the company. So, there’s no point in spending your time on things that are going right. So, you only spend your time on things that are going wrong and there are things that are going wrong that some other people can’t take care of, so you’re like the worst.
“I want us happy focused on short-term money coming in when creating a company because otherwise, the company will die. ” – Elon Musk
You have a filter for the crappiest problems in the company, the most pernicious and painful problems. So, I wouldn’t say, it’s, I think you have to feel quite compelled to do it and have a fairly high pain threshold. There’s a friend of mine who says like starting a company is like staring at the abyss and eating glass.
And there’s some truth to that. The staring into the abyss part is that you’re going to be constantly facing the extermination of the company, cause most startups fail. It’s like 90% or 99% of startups fail. So, that’s the staring into the abyss part. You’re constantly saying, “If I don’t get this right, “the company will die.” Should be quite stressful.
And then the eating glass part is you’ve got to do the problems, you’re going to work on the problems that the company needs you to work on, not the problems you want to work on. And so, that’s, you end up working on problems that you really wish you weren’t working on and so, that’s the eating glass part. And that goes on for a long time.
Interviewer: So, how you do you keep your focus on the big picture when you’re constantly faced with, “We could be out of business in a month?”
Well, it’s just a very small percentage of mental energy that’s on the big picture. Like, you generally know where you’re heading for and the actual path is going to be some sort of zig-zaggy thing in that direction.
You try not to deviate too far from the path that you want to be on but you’re going to have to do that to some degree. But I don’t want to diminish, I think the probability is a good one if the rules of an industry are properly set up.
So, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with profit. In fact, profit just means that people are paying you more for whatever you’re doing than you’re spending to create it. That’s a good thing. And if that’s not the case, then you’ll be out of business and rightfully so. You’re not adding enough value.
There’s a latin expression, which I think is great. I love it, it was in a now very old movie called The Dead Poet’s Society, but the line in the movie was carpe diem, seize the day. The opportunities are there but you’ve got to reach out and pick them up.
You’ve got to grab at ’em. Some of you may have already done that at the U and your classes, in other students that you met, in your extracurricular activities, but grab them. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake because you know what you can do if you grab the wrong one? Drop it and pick up another one. It’s okay, seize the day.
I think back, of all of the luck, but also the times that were in front of me, to seize the day. I don’t know what got me to drop out of business school and come to Microsoft. My parents thought I was a whack job. Neither one of them graduated college and they thought this was really a wild idea. I was lucky, I seized the day.
“The opportunities are there but you’ve got to reach out and pick them up.” – Steve Ballmer
Microsoft, one day some guys fly in from IBM and all of a sudden, we figure out that we could actually provide all the software they need for this thing that became the personal computer. People, Bill, Paul, they had the wisdom to seize the day when that opportunity presented itself and yet, when you think of all the opportunities, when I think back of all the opportunities I’ve had, the one that was most important was an opportunity I got in 1969.
Sitting in my junior high school class, I was in a public junior high, not very stimulated at the time, and over the loudspeaker they said that a private high school in our area that I’d never heard of was giving scholarship tests that weekend. I told my mother I wanted to take ’em, she said, “That’s fine as long as you get a scholarship “because we can’t afford to send you there.”
But that’s really where I got switched on. Switched on in math, switched on personally, energized in a way that never, never could be turned back. And I’m very thankful for that opportunity.
Yes, there’s a lot of luck in opportunity but there’s a lot of seizing the day and I encourage you all to reach out and carpe diem, really seize the opportunities that are in front of you.
I’ve been working, I’ve been in business for 69 years, since I was 12 and every time, well, after the first dozen or so businesses, I realized that the only way to get ahead was to do things differently than the way it was being done.
And then I came to learn, which I finally learned at my ripe young age, that if you do things differently, success will follow you like your shadow and you can’t get rid of it. So, that’s what I did, so people doubted me because people just didn’t do what I would do.
It’s a matter of finding out what it is that an industry does and identifying the opportunity as to how to do it differently and then being enough of a risk taker to actually do it differently.
“If you do things differently, success will follow you like your shadow and you can’t get rid of it.” – Sheldon Adelson
So, people doubted me because nobody thought of doing it the way that I did and nobody had, they didn’t have the, they were satisfied with the status quo and I’m never satisfied with the status quo.
You might also like
More from Mentor Me
Today we're going to learn from Malcolm Gladwell and some of his best advice from David and Goliath. What's up Believe …
Today we're going to learn from Malcolm Gladwell and his outliers advice. What's up, Believe Nation? It's Evan, my one word …