Bill Gates spoke at Northern Arizona University’s commencement ceremony last weekend, where he offered life advice to aspiring graduates on how to prepare for work-life balance in the “real world.”
The May 13 speech was creatively crafted and reflected the advice he would have liked had he not dropped out of college. The aptly titled was, “5 Things I Wish I Had Heard at Graduation That I Never Had.”
The billionaire, who entered Harvard in 1973 and dropped out in 1975, gave college grads a powerful life lesson on work ethics: Take a break!
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“When I was your age, I didn’t believe in vacations. I didn’t believe in weekends. I was pushing everyone around me to work very late hours,” Gates told the crowd, noting that in the early days of Microsoft’s founding, he would keep track of which employees were working the longest hours each day. “But as I got older – and especially as I became a father – I realized there was more to life than work. Don’t wait as long as I did to learn this lesson. Take time to nurture your relationships, celebrate your successes, and to recover from your losses.
Gates net worth was estimated at an estimate $125 billion as of Wednesday afternoon.
The Microsoft founder has faced personal challenges lately as he divorced his 27-year-old wife Melinda French Gates and had to settle for empty nesters, which he reflected on in an essay on his blog in December 2021.
“The house is much quieter without a bunch of teenagers hanging around all the time,” he wrote at the time. “I miss having them at home, even though these days it’s easier to focus on reading a book or getting work done.”
In his commencement speech, Gates urged graduates to “have fun” and “also take it easy on those around you when they need it.”
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The embassy was similar in ideology to a 2007 embassy opening speech He gave a lecture at Harvard University, where he explained that his greatest achievement during his school years was not the end product or the amount of hard work he put in, but rather the environment that drove him to succeed.
“I worked day and night on this little extra credit project that marked the end of my college education and the beginning of a remarkable journey with Microsoft. What I remember most about Harvard is being in the midst of so much energy and intelligence,” he said. “It could be exciting, intimidating, even daunting at times, but always challenging. It was an incredible privilege – and although I left early, my years at Harvard, the friendships I made and the ideas I worked on, changed me.”
You can read the full transcript of Gates’ speech to graduates Here.