Health and Wellness

Bill Gates says these 2 things make him happy — and they have nothing to do with money

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 22, 2016.
David A.Grogan | CNBC | NBCUniversal | Getty Images

In early 2019, Bill Gates participated in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything." On Wednesday, Reddit named it as the most "upvoted" AMA of the past year with 110,000 upvotes.

Redditors asked Gates everything from "when was the last time you wrote code" to "what's your favorite prime number." And one Redditor had a question about the Microsoft-cofounder's personal life: What makes you happy? 

Surprisingly, Gates, who is currently worth $110 billion, didn't name money.

"Some[one] recently said that when your children are doing well it really is very special and as a parent I completely agree," Gates wrote on Reddit. He and Melinda Gates have three children: Jennifer, 23; Rory, 20; and Phoebe, 17.

Gates has said his kids keep him humble too: "If I come back and I look like I'm all puffed up, they cut me down to size a little bit," he said at The New York Times DealBook event in November.

Along with parenting, Gates said in the Reddit AMA that "following through on commitments to yourself like doing more exercise also improves your happiness."

Tennis is Gates' go-to exercise, he said in the AMA. He also has a "trampoline room" inside of his house, which he said, "seems kind of over the top but my kids love using it to work off their excess energy."

Gates said later in the AMA while answering another question that money has made him happier in some ways. Being a billionaire has given him the "blessing" of not having to "think about health costs or college costs," for example. America needs to make these things affordable enough so that they are "accessible to everyone," he said.

Overall, Gates' ideas about happiness track with science.

Setting and pursuing goals has been shown to improve your well-being because it provides you with meaning and purpose, and ultimately leads to a feeling of accomplishment. And research shows just 10 minutes of exercise daily could be enough to improve people's moods.

As for wealth, it has been shown to improve people's life satisfaction only to a certain point: For example, a 2010 study found that wealth correlates to increased happiness, but that trend stops when people make $75,000 a year.

Relationships, however, have a big impact: An 80-year study from Harvard found that relationships are the greatest predictors of happiness, even more so than money or success.

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