Entrepreneurs

Bill Gates shares his 2 best pieces of advice for young people headed back to school

Bill Gates speaks during the Lin-Manuel Miranda In conversation with Bill & Melinda Gates panel at Hunter College on February 13, 2018 in New York City.
John Lamparski | Getty Images
Bill Gates speaks during the Lin-Manuel Miranda In conversation with Bill & Melinda Gates panel at Hunter College on February 13, 2018 in New York City.

Though he's a college dropout, billionaire Bill Gates has some advice for those who are headed back to school: chose your friends carefully and appreciate diversity.

"I can't help but be excited for all of the students who are headed #backtoschool," says Gates in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

Gates, who famously dropped out of Harvard, is a lifelong learner and despite his own trajectory, thinks, generally, people should in stay in school.

"Although I dropped out of college and got lucky pursuing a career in software, getting a degree is a much surer path to success," Gates wrote on his blog in 2015.

"College graduates are more likely to find a rewarding job, earn higher income, and even, evidence shows, live healthier lives than if they didn't have degrees. They also bring training and skills into America's workforce, helping our economy grow and stay competitive. That benefits everyone," Gates wrote.

Here is the advice for students from Gates. "The sooner you can do these two things, if you don't already, the richer your life will be," he says.

1. Pay attention to the people with whom you spend your time

"Surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self," says Gates on Instagram.

It's a point of view Gates' billionaire buddy Warren Buffett believes, too.

"You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with. So it's important to associate with people that are better than yourself," said Buffett, speaking alongside Gates at Columbia University in 2017. "You want to associate with people who are the kind of person you'd like to be."

2. Respect a diversity of skills

"Learn to recognize and appreciate people's different talents," says Gates on Instagram.

This is a lesson it took Gates himself a while to learn.

In February, Bill and Melinda Gates spoke with "Hamilton" composer Lin-Manuel Miranda at Hunter College in Manhattan, New York. The conversation included a question from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: "If you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be? Asking for a friend."

In response, Gates said he wished he had better understood the value of different kinds of intelligence.

"I was so naive about different skill sets. I thought if somebody had a high IQ, they could be good at everything. And the idea that you needed to blend these different types of skills together, that always continued to surprise me," said the Microsoft co-founder.

"There was this simple idea of smartness and it could go and solve everything — I wish I had known better than to think that."