Advertisements

Gates to Stanford grads: Let your heart break. It will change what you do with your optimism

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpory3rRSL0

Gates to Stanford grads: Let your heart break

image001-7

Miguel Helft

JUNE 22, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT

Bill and Melinda Gates deliver a stirring address on optimism to Stanford University’s 2014 graduating class.

How do you inspire a group of unusually smart, hard working, optimistic, and largely privileged youngsters who are already destined for success? Encourage them to learn from those most in need; urge them confront inequity; exhort them channel their optimism with empathy; oh, and remind them that for all their accomplishments, they wouldn’t be where they are without a heavy dose of luck.

That was the message that philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates delivered to Stanford’s 2014 graduating class in a poignant commencement address.

At a time when inequality is becoming one of the central issues of our time, the Gateses, whose foundation has become one of the most formidable philanthropic enterprises in history, exhorted graduates to pursue a mission-driven life. While both speakers were inspiring, it was Melinda Gates who delivered the most stirring lines. Here’s she is on channeling optimism:

Optimism for me isn’t a passive expectation that things will get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better—that whatever suffering we see, no matter how bad it is, we can help people if we don’t lose hope and we don’t look away.

Drawing from her own experience witnessing abject poverty, heartbreaking disease and the ravages and stigma of AIDS in India, she later added:

Let your heart break. It will change what you do with your optimism.

And here’s the bit about luck and why it’s important:

Bill worked incredibly hard and took risks and made sacrifices for success. But there is another essential ingredient of success, and that ingredient is luck—absolute and total luck.

When were you born? Who were your parents? Where did you grow up? None of us earned these things. They were given to us.

When we strip away our luck and privilege and consider where we’d be without them, it becomes easier to see someone who’s poor and sick and say “that could be me.” This is empathy; it tears down barriers and opens up new frontiers for optimism.

So here is our appeal to you: As you leave Stanford, take your genius and your optimism and your empathy and go change the world in ways that will make millions of others optimistic as well.

The talk may well join another Stanford commencement address—the classic 2005 speech by Bill Gates’ longtime rival Steve Jobs—in the ranks of the most memorable ever. And it seemed especially apt for Stanford, a university that is minting innovators and entrepreneurs are an unprecedented rate. But not all successful Silicon Valley enterprises are created equal, or as the investor Peter Thiel famously bemoaned, “we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” Stanford, for example, recently spawned the likes of Snapchat – disappearing messages—and Theranos—a potential revolution in healthcare. Both are successful and both are worth billions. But there’s little doubt as to which one Bill and Melinda Gates think Stanford graduates should join or try to emulate.

Get inspired and watch the full address below (Gates’ storybegins at 1:10.50).

 

Advertisements

About bambooinnovator
KB Kee is the Managing Editor of the Moat Report Asia (www.moatreport.com), a research service focused exclusively on highlighting undervalued wide-moat businesses in Asia; subscribers from North America, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, some of the world’s biggest secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing. KB has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of the investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, value investing, macroeconomic and industry trends, and detecting accounting frauds in Singapore, HK and China. KB was a faculty (accounting) at SMU teaching accounting courses. KB is currently the Chief Investment Officer at an ASX-listed investment holdings company since September 2015, helping to manage the listed Asian equities investments in the Hidden Champions Fund. Disclaimer: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not constitute an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investments, securities, futures or options. All articles in the website reflect the personal opinions of the writer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: