To Make a Difference, You Need Both Desire and Commitment
I recently watched the docuseries Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates on Netflix, and it kind of surprised me.
I’d expected it to be about how he founded and built the famous Microsoft, and many scenes in this documentary were, in fact, about something to do with coding and programming and computer stuff (which I have absolutely zero understanding of for the most part).
Anytime they explained core processing and all the other stuff Gates became a billionaire for developing and selling, it sounded like complete gibberish to me.
And yet, I was compelled to keep watching — and I’m glad I did, because it ended up being about much more than that.
I watched the entire 3-part series in succession, unable to stop myself.
There was much more to this person than I’d ever realized, and what I found out fascinated me. He wasn’t just a multi-billionaire, and he wasn’t just a computer geek, either.
Underneath the persona the media has built through its portrayal of him lies a very complex, caring, compassionate soul with a mind that works in mysterious ways.
At one point in the documentary, his wife actually laughs out loud at a question the interviewer asks her about what it’s like inside Bill’s brain. “It’s chaos!” she eventually blurts out, after taming bursts of giggles.
And that’s why I loved it.
It was so refreshing to see how human he really was.
He has his own fears and doubts, just like the rest of us, and struggles with the same problems that millions of other people around the world find themselves facing in their personal lives and within their families.
Like the rest of the world, I’ve known of Bill Gates for as long as I can remember. He’s a household name, and anyone can instantly rhyme off the reasons for why they know him: Microsoft, computers, rich.
I’ve never taken the time to go beyond the associations my mind makes to learn anything else about him, though, which I now realize was a loss on my part.
Often, I think the world looks at people who are rich and famous and instinctively tries to find their faults. Instead of looking at the good they’re doing, we tend to focus on the mistakes they’ve made, or criticize their lifestyle and personal choices.
I’m guilty of this too, but I realize now that this behaviour usually comes from a place of envy or a lack of self-esteem. When I’m critical of the success he’s achieved, it’s usually because I’m feeling like a failure, not good enough, or insecure in that moment.
I can sit there and judge him all I want, but it doesn’t change anything — and it also keeps me blind to any of the good he’s creating in the world.
No matter what you may think of Bill Gates, there’s something about him that you simply can’t ignore: he’s trying.
Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the couple are using their riches and connections to take action on some of the most complicated but important issues of our time — things like climate change, energy, and disease eradication.
To me, anyone who is willing to stick their neck out and do something to try to find a real solution when the rest of the world would rather ignore it or deny that there’s a problem deserves some respect.
They spend hundreds of millions of dollars funding innovative research projects through companies and universities with the goal of coming up with new technologies and finding solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems, like sanitation in the developing world.
And this is what I admire most about them.
Bill Gates is an innovator, an entrepreneur, and a visionary.
He wants to change the world for the better. He wants to see a world where everyone has access to a safe, healthy environment. He wants to see a world where all people have access to clean food and water, and can live free of the pain and suffering caused by infectious diseases.
He’s so clear on this vision that he’s willing to continue working toward it even when it seems impossible.
Even when things go wrong — and despite the setbacks he continues to face (from people trying to bring him down or paint him as evil to militant groups interfering and blocking the Foundation’s mission to eradicate Polio) — he doesn’t give up.
He just reads more, learns more, talks to more experts, thinks more, collaborates more, brainstorms more, and works more.
He always finds a way to move forward.
There’s an old English Proverb that says, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
This seems to be the philosophy that Gates lives by.
If the next move isn’t obvious, he approaches the problem from another angle — and I think this is the key to anything we face in life.
As long as we don’t give up, we can make a difference in this world.
It doesn’t matter if we don’t have all the answers right now. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if what we want to do is beyond our current skill level or knowledge.
There is always somebody else who knows more than we do, and can help us achieve anything we want if we’re willing to ask for help and then work together.
What we need more than anything is a desire to make a difference in the first place, and then the commitment to see it through.