What We Can Learn From Bill Gates: Take Time to Think

''I can buy 20 percent of you or I can buy all of you. Or I can go into this business myself and bury you.''

― Bill Gates to AOL chief executive, Steve Case on Microsoft’s potential for acquisition of the company

Who: Bill gates was born to a lawyer in Seattle, Washington in 1955. The Gates family was very competitive. Whenever they would play games, there was always a prize for winning and a penalty for losing. This fierce competitiveness is one of the many factors that helped shape and drive Bill to where he is today, earning the lofty title of the wealthiest man in the world.

During his early school years, Bill took an interest in computer programming code, and excelled at it so much that the school allowed him to write code which they used to help enroll students in classes. He scored 1590 on the SAT, 10 points shy of a perfect score, and enrolled at Harvard College. Later, with the full support of his parents, he would drop out of Harvard to start Microsoft.

Bill became the richest man in the world at age 39 and in 2015 alone, Microsoft made 93.6 billion in revenue.

What: Twice each year, Bill isolates himself from family, friends, acquaintances and the world in general to take time to think. He calls this his “think week.”

How: Even if you do not take an entire week every so often to think, you need to set aside time each day to think about your goals, what you want to accomplish, and consider and ruminate on what it is that you want to do with your life.

Each night, you need to make a list of the activities you want to accomplish the next day with times by which you will achieve them. You can also do this each week and plan out the week’s activities and get an overall picture and idea of your goals. If you want to take it a step further, do this each month for each month. Looking out even more, do it once yearly for each year.

In John C. Maxwell’s best-selling book,How Successful People Think, the book outlines several types of thinking which include:

  • Big-picture thinking
  • Focused thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Realistic thinking
  • Strategic thinking
  • Possibility thinking
  • Reflective thinking
  • Unselfish thinking
  • And Bottom-line thinking
Many people are rushing through their day to do the tasks they need to do and sometimes rarely take the time to reflect, focus, and hone in on why they are doing the things they need to do and don’t take the time to brainstorm ideas to implement in the future.

Take a page from the wealthiest man in the world’s playbook and reserve time every so often to examine your habits, your goals, and reflect on your life’s purpose.

What can we learn from Bill Gates? Take time to think.


Jon D. Webster is a stand-up comedian, life and business coach, motivational speaker, and the author of 8 books spanning 6 genres including his latest work, Law of Attraction + Action: The Winning Combination For Success. Jon has been featured on and interviewed by over a dozen podcasts, television shows, and radio shows including Aron Ra, Reason TV, and Evan Carmichael. He has written for half a dozen outlets including this one.

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