Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, is well known for the nuggets of wisdom he occasionally imparts on the young and old alike. At a speech he gave at a high school graduation, he sought to bring them back down to earth by correcting some of their misconceptions about life in the real world. No political correctness here – just one big reality check that, if taken to heart, will help us on the real life after school.
RULE 1: Life’s not fair. Get used to it
You could be the smartest, hardest working most noble person alive and still not get that A. Or promotion. Or the girl, whatever floats your boat. The sooner you stop expecting life to hand you the things you think you “deserve”, the easier it will be to bounce back in those times when life knocks you down and just keeps kicking. You could earn your way to that promotion and still have it snatched from under you – get over it. That doesn’t mean sit back and take it. It means that you need to learn from those ugly situations and better position yourself to reap the benefits of your diligence.
RULE 2: The World Doesn’t care about your self esteem
“The world expects you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself” … so get on it. Start making something of yourself today. Right now. That idea you’ve been pushing to the back of your mind might be just the thing to propel you to the limelight, so get on it. You only truly fail if you never try.
RULE 3: You will not make six figure salary right after school
“You won’t be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.” This addresses the entitled behavior that young people display on a daily basis. It’s not a good look for anyone to act like the world should unfurl a red carpet at their feet just because they showed up. You have to work hard for what you get – I’m talking sweat and blood here, and don’t expect anyone’s gratitude for it.
RULE 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you meet your boss
All those deadlines you think are unreasonable at best, those times she locked you out of class because you showed up late? Ten times worse with a boss. Only, instead of chewing you out infront of a classroom, it’s a whole office. Teachers are legally mandated to show some restraint, bosses aren’t. He’ll call you all sorts of names your teacher only dreams of saying to your face, then show you the way to the unemployment line. This isn’t to scare you off of gainful employment, just to encourage you to practice dealing with difficult authority figures, to better prepare you for the future, so you can avoid an emotional outburst at the office.
RULE 5: Flipping buggers is not beneath your dignity
“Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping – they called it OPPORTUNITY.” So get over yourself and take that job that you think is beneath you. A waiter/waitress position opens up at your favorite restaurant? Swallow your pride and take it. Use that as a stepping stone. The richest men in the world started off as paper boys – remember that.
RULE 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents fault
“So don’t whine about your mistake – learn from them.” Too many people fall into the trap of claiming “mommy” and “daddy” issues when they mess up. According to Bill Gates, you need to stop spreading the blame around and take responsibility for your failures. Only then do you earn the right to own your successes as well.
RULE 7: Your folks know something you don’t know
“Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you think you are. So before you save the rainforests from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.” Self-explanatory.
RULE 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not
“In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many tries as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.” Only the strong survive. This doesn’t mean that it’s okay to do whatever it takes to come out ahead – the end does not justify the means. It just means that you need to keep the big picture in mind – to remember that while it’s okay to do your best, it’s better to always ensure that you go the extra mile to prove yourself.
RULE 9: Life is not divided into semesters
“You don’t get summer off and very few employers are interested in helping you “find yourself”. Do that on your own time.” This is one thing most students don’t realize. The real world won’t give you time off to recoup your strength. Once life starts it just goes on and on, and on. The sooner you shift your way of thinking from seeing your holiday as time off, but as time to be spent making something worthwhile of yourself, the easier the transition to real life will be.
RULE 10: Television is not real life
“In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.” This applies to more than just an episode of friends. Life seems a lot easier on TV than it is in real life. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people expect to sleep in every morning and still be able to afford that dream holiday.
RULE 11: Be Nice to Nerds
“Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” Laugh all you want, but he showed that this is a very real possibility. That book worm you keep picking on for choosing the library over a twerk session could end up being your boss in the future, so be nice.