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Doing it the Bill Gates Way: 7 Habits Every Leader Should Follow

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If you conduct a mini survey in your office and ask people to name the three most influential people in the world, Bill Gates would probably feature in all their answers. Such a noticeable impact in the field of technology was unheard of.

As of 2019, Bill Gates is worth $110 Billion. People are even scared of dreaming of reaching Bill Gates’ height of success let alone do something about it. But contrary to his success, his ideologies and habits are deceptively simple (though extremely useful). He is often seen giving advice for budding (also established industry leaders) entrepreneurs in his interviews.

Let’s look at a few of his most effective habits and ideologies that will help you be an empowering leader:

1. The Early Bird Takes the Worm

Bill Gates highly regards the quality of starting the day early. Every day Bill starts his day with a moderate amount of cardio in the morning. He spends about an hour on the treadmill before starting his day. The benefits of starting the day with a reasonable amount of exercise are unparalleled.

For starters, it kickstarts your metabolism and makes you feel active throughout the day. Break an early sweat, and your body rewards you with endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin which elevates your mood, helps you become more active and removes stress. And of course, daily exercise is proven to provide a good night’s sleep.

Early morning exercise benefits are sworn by not just Bill Gates but also Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Katherine Power among others.

“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Being A Life-Long Learner

It might not come as a surprise that Bill Gates has been a life long learner, right from his childhood. Bill is well known as a devourer of books, consuming books at rates as high as one per week. That amounts to 52 books a year! Back in his college days, Bill often used to attend classes he didn’t sign up for. This way, he used to get double education. Every year Bill recommends his favorite books and his goals for the next year as well on his personal blog. Even startup legends like Zuckerberg have picked up on Bill’s habit and have started a similar ritual of recommending his favourite books of the year.

3. Give Credit

One thing most leaders are known for is hogging the credit. Bill Gates definitely serves as an exception. Although he is one of the world’s richest people and a genius entrepreneur, he has a clear policy of giving credit where it is due. He is especially fond of and appreciative of his co-founder Paul Allen. Even Allen has a habit of speaking highly of his employees and partners. This attitude transforms a manager to a leader and promotes engagement and motivation at work. And yes, it works wonder for your brand too. Bill and Allen believe that complimenting brilliant talent over the years have not only contributed to their success but also made the whole process fun.

4. Getting Plenty of Sleep

Yes, you read that right. Getting enough sleep is as crucial for leaders like any other factor. You might have read stories about how some global leader manages to function effectively with just 4 hours of sleep, but most of them are just blatant exaggeration. Chronic lack of sleep increases the chances of heart attack, obesity, diabetes, and stroke.

Also, lack of sleep increases the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol helps in breaking collagen, which keeps the skin smooth. Bill doesn’t look like a 64-year-old guy. That’s because he sleeps a lot. Bill ensures that he gets 7 hours of sleep daily. That’s a habit, not just leaders but everyone should follow.

5. Frugality

One of the highest qualities of a leader is that of frugality. Bill Gates is a shining example of frugality (which is surprisingly common among billionaires). With $90+ billion in net worth, Bill can literally buy anything that can be purchased. This doesn’t motivate the billionaire to blow out cash like there’s no tomorrow. In 2016 on a Reddit Q&A, Bill said he doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on clothes and jewelry. Not just personal usage, Bill doesn’t like to go overboard with the company spending too. For a long time, Bill used to fly economy for all official purposes. Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean being cheap. Frugal means being smart, resourceful and finding the best value for investment.

6. Learning from Setbacks

According to Bill Gates, success is a lousy teacher. It makes people believe that they cannot lose. The underlining fact is that if you want to take significant risks, you will more often have to settle for failures. Bill believes that Microsoft’s success is in part due to his team’s ability to recognize and work on shortcomings. He wasn’t hesitant to change course when a mistake was identified. For some people, it takes more than a few mistakes to identify the problem. Learning from setbacks not only improves your problem-solving skills but also establishes an atmosphere in the workplace where employees don’t hesitate to take risks.

“To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.” – Bill Gates

7. Having Faith in Your Judgement

Sometimes leaders have to be a bit stubborn in their decision making. When Bill Gates came up with the idea of Microsoft in the 1970s, it was as outrageous as flying cars. His ideas were often criticized by investors as impractical and outrageous. Bill decided to have faith in the clarity of his vision despite the lack of trust of most people. In these situations, it’s vital to have an idea of the bigger picture in mind and let go of minor short term setbacks. But its also equally important to keep in mind that passionate stubbornness does not transform into arrogance.

Emerging leaders need to study the behavioral habits of people who made it large. But yes, being a leader like Bill Gates is no small task. You should have an air of confidence in the decision you take while being receptive to the criticism when faced with a setback. But in the end, patience is the key ingredient in the making of a great leader.

Anjan Pathak is a Co-founder and CTO at Vantage Circle - an Employee Engagement Platform. Anjan is an HR technology enthusiast, very passionate about employee wellness and actively participates in the growth of the corporate culture. He is an avid reader and likes to be updated in the latest know-how of Human Resource.

Success Advice

5 Smart Goals to Make This Year Your Most Successful Ever

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Setting goals at the start of the year means you will know exactly what you need to do throughout the year to be successful. By setting goals, it forces you to build a plan about how you intend to achieve those goals. By having a plan in place, you will wake up every morning with a clear idea of what it is you need to do each day. Just by writing down your goals, there is a 42% greater chance you will achieve those goals than if they just stayed in your head. It may seem like a small thing but actually creating goals every year and then writing them down significantly improves your chances of success. (more…)

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7 Ways to Face Adversity Using the Power of Extreme Ownership

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Adversity is an inevitable part of our lives, and it is an important and defining factor of our personal story. The stories we build for ourselves in the face of adversity will either empower or discourage us emotionally, help us move forward or remain stuck in the past, allow us to grow or to decline. (more…)

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Why Your Confidence Needs to Match Your Competence

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Even if you produce amazing results at your job or in other areas of your life, others may still not see you as being competent if you lack the confidence to back it up. If you are good at your job, exuding confidence will ensure others also recognize your competence in your area of expertise. And research backs this up. (more…)

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5 Things You Can Learn From The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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