Inc. magazine had an article recently with this headline: Bill Gates Says His Level of Happiness Is Much Higher at 63 Than at 25 Because He Chooses to Do These 4 Things.
Here’s some of what it said …
“In the most recent Ask Me Anything on Reddit, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was asked a host of humanitarian-related questions ranging from topics like climate change to the future of education.
About 30 minutes into his live session, questions shifted to the personal life of Bill Gates. Gates, now 63, was asked two compelling questions: ‘Are you happy?’ And shortly after, ‘Through it all, what makes you happy?’
To the first question, the world's second richest man responded: ‘Yes! When I was in my 30s, I didn’t think people in their 60s were very smart or had much fun. Now I have had a counter-revelation. Ask me in 20 years and I will tell you how smart 80-year-olds are.’
To the second question, Gates said ‘Some recently said that when your children are doing well it really is very special, and as a parent, I completely agree. Sometimes following through on commitments to yourself, like doing more exercise, also improves your happiness.’”1
It would be easy to ignore what Bill Gates has to say. After all, he’s a billionaire many times over, with more wealth than you or I could ever dream of having. No wonder he’s happy. But the truth is there are plenty of super wealthy people who are miserable. Money only makes us more of what we already are. All the money in the world won’t turn a jerk into a gentleman and some of the most gracious and generous people in the world have very little. So be very careful not to make character judgments based on bank accounts.
There are several reasons we should hear what Bill Gates has to say. One, he has had access to so many things most people wish they had, and if they did, believe their lives would be better. Two, he’s had six decades of experience to draw from as well as an amazing run in business. Three, he’s been married for 25 years and four, Bill and his wife, Melinda, have already given $28 billion to charitable causes and plan to eventually donate 95% of their wealth to charity.
Be very careful not to make character judgments based on bank accounts.
Here are the FOUR THINGS Bill Gates said were foundational to happiness:
1. Follow through on your commitments.
Intentionally choosing to follow through on what matters most. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mathew 6:33). He also said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
2. Have a mindset of giving.
Motivational expert, Jim Rohn, used to say, “Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.” The Inc. article said, “Science has confirmed that giving makes us feel happy, is good for our health, and evokes gratitude. One Harvard Business School report even concluded that the emotional rewards are the greatest when our generosity is connected to others … And you needn’t restrict your idea of giving to financial generosity. Consider as well the positive impact of giving your time, mentoring others, supporting a cause, fighting injustice, and having a pay-it-forward mentality.” 2
JESUS said, “It is more blessed to give than it is to receive” (Acts 20:35).
3. Treat your body like a sacred temple.
“Gates said that exercise leads to happiness. He is an avid tennis player. And according to research, he’s dead on. Exercise has shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.” 3
The Bible says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
The Bible also says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
4. Put family first.
As he has grown older, Gates said his “priorities shifted to more focus on family life and the special feeling of seeing his children excel in life. The choice not to place family life on equal par with, or even ahead of, career priorities can be costly. Scientific analysis of the causes that lead to death in the workplace listed, among other things, ‘long hours/overtime,’ and ‘work-family conflict’ as common sources of workplace stress destroying the health of U.S. workers.” 4
The Bible says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her …” (Ephesians 5:25). Verse 24 says, “As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Verse 4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The Inc. article concluded, “Having solid lines around each area of life will ultimately make you more focused, efficient, and effective at work. And your kids will love that daddy or mommy comes home on time to watch a ballet recital or little league game.” 5
Know what’s really great about all this? As good as it is, we don’t have to take Bill Gates' word for this.
We have God’s.
© 2019. Barry L. Cameron
1 Schwantes, Marcel. “Bill Gates Says His Level of Happiness Is Much Higher at 63 Than at 25 Because He Chooses to Do These 4 Things.” Inc.com, Inc., 7 Mar. 2019, www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/bill-gates-says-his-level-of-happiness-is-much-higher-at-63-than-25-because-he-chooses-to-do-these-4-things.html.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.