If you’re searching for a great role model of ultimate success, you can’t find better than Bill Gates. Microsoft, the organization he established, made an entire industry. With a net worth of almost $80 billion, he is the wealthiest man on the planet. His charitable and humanitarian activities reach far and wide and have really made the world a better place.

What prompted Gates’ success? Being an incredibly smart engineer and successful businessman, he certainly was in the perfect spot with the right idea for a product. Throughout the years, he has shown some traits and habits that led him towards a sustained success in his business and philanthropy. Bill has certainly laid out a long list of lessons for anyone looking for motivation or a guide to success. Whether you are searching for someone to invest in your company, paying off your mortgage, or even finding a new career, there are many lessons that we can learn from Bill Gates.

Here are some of the most desirable traits of Bill Gates, which anyone can develop.

1. Learn to say “no”

Gates received this advice from Warren Buffett, and it is very valuable for everyone. Regardless of how ambitious or eager you are, everyone has 24 hours in a day, and the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is determined by the way they spend those 24 hours. Nobody knows the importance of saying “no” better than the richest man in the world, who, in an interview, repeated the words of his friend Warren Buffett: “You have to be good at saying no.” He elaborated that saying no allows you to focus on the things that really make a difference.

2. Embrace your critics

“Embrace bad news to learn where you need the most improvement,” Gates wrote about the importance of negative feedback in his 1999 book Business @ the Speed of Thought. Despite the fact that it’s never pleasing to hear negative feedback, complaints and dissatisfaction allow you to learn and do better in future.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest sources of learning,” he wrote.

Certainly, there will be situations where some criticism will not be useful and you have to use your judgment to tell the difference. Keeping this in mind, the next time someone criticizes you, don’t walk away or curse them. Stay, listen, thank them, and learn.

3. Be optimistic

It can be difficult to be optimistic in a world where lots of things seem to be going in the wrong direction. To be successful, one needs to believe in optimism, because without it, not a single person would ever start a business, invest in a new idea, or test a new product or market.

Bill Gates escalates the great value of optimism, and since his social work aims at some of the most depressing problems in our world, such as poverty, sex trafficking, lack of education, etc., he needs a lot of optimism.

“Optimism is often dismissed as false hope,” he said in a Stanford commencement speech in 2013. “But there is also false hopelessness.”

4. Be judgmental about your success

“Success is a lousy teacher, it seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose,” Bill Gates wrote this in his book The Road Ahead.

A product which is a successful item today could wind up obsolete tomorrow, he explains. That is what exactly happens to old desktop computers and Windows operating systems.

You might find successes more pleasurable than failures, but failures teach you the most and give you the best chances to cultivate.

5. Measure your progress

In a letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates penciled some lessons from the history of the steam engine.

“You can achieve amazing progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal,” he wrote. “Finding the right goal and the right metric for tracking one’s progress is surprisingly difficult.”

Setting and achieving goals will become easier when you have a yardstick to measure your progress, and you have the best chance of success when you track the progress you’re making toward your goals.

Featured photo credit: Exploring Markets via flickr.com

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