Bill Gates’ Four Questions:

Four questions Bill Gates asks himself about the quality of life:

1. Did I devote enough time to my family?

2. Did I learn enough new things?

3. Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones?

4. Do the people you care about love you back?

(Notes: Gates indicates this question is from Warren Buffet.)

Source: Gates Notes Year-end Review 2018

Are we asking ourselves similar questions? Or are we just over-indexing on our work at the expense of family, friendships, community, and citizenship?

It is not just Bill Gates who says we are not focusing enough time on family and personal relationships.  Clayton Christensen says the same: “People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers — even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.”

Or do you think that these are questions about self-actualization only relevant to those who’ve made it? Gates admits that as much: “These (questions) would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.”

In addition to questions about personal relationships and building friendships, Gates also asks himself about learning new things.  In today’s world, if you are not learning you are not growing. In fact, not learning new things – both immediately relevant to your work and also learning that broadens your perspective – is a paramount factor for professional success and intellectual growth.

Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts?


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