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5 Traits Of The World’s Richest Man, Bill Gates

5 Traits Of The World’s Richest Man, Bill Gates

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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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Tayyab Babar

Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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