“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”
– Brian Tracy
To some, as they rise higher and higher on the success ladder so does their ego. It becomes inflated and self-absorbed so much that their motivation for doing anything is ruled by the WIIIFM – ‘what is in it for me?’ – whether it’s fame, profits, etc. As long as they are deriving any benefit from it, they are good. However, they fail to understand that true success doesn’t begin when you reach the zenith of your career in life, but it begins the moment you start giving back. No matter how inflated one’s ego might be, we can choose to be the better person by removing the ‘e’ and go be a blessing to others either with our time, resources, knowledge etc. We can choose to either give back while still on our way to the top or when we get comfortable at the top. Whatever our choice may be, we should live humble enough to give back to others.
Giving back has become a way of life for Bill Gates, an American business magnate, author and the co-founder of Microsoft, with a net worth of $86 billion (officially the richest man in the world).
In July 2017, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, briefly became the richest person in the world when the markets opened. However, before the market closed he had been toppled by Bill Gates. Bill, who has been holding the spot for four years in a row and for 18 out of the past 23 years, is not just the richest billionaire in the world but one of the greatest philanthropists in the history of humanity.
Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, himself and his wife have given over $29 billion towards disease eradication, reduction of poverty, enhanced healthcare and, in America, expansion of educational opportunities and access to information technology. In Nigeria alone, over the course of 10 years, the foundation has spent over $250 million on humanitarian services through donations to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Since 2000, the foundation, which is said to be the largest transparently operated foundation in the world, has been making the world a better place one project after another.
The progressive achievements of the foundation include reduction of infant mortality and the eradication of polio in Africa. Bill Gates keeps striving towards the magical Zero – Zero malaria, Zero TB, Zero HIV, Zero malnutrition, Zero preventable deaths, etc.
Bill, who has devoted his brain power and energy to philanthropy, also started a giving program in 2010 called “The Giving Pledge”. This is a program in which he convinces his billionaire friends to give half of their wealth to charity upon their death. Warren Buffet, the second richest billionaire in the world, has pledged over $70 billion of his fortune to the foundation and 168 others have joined too.
Recently, according to the reports of the Securities & Exchange Commission filing released on Monday, Bill Gates made what has been tagged his largest donation since the turn of the century with the giving away of 5 per cent of Microsoft Corporation shares worth $4.6 billion.
The donation was made in June but became public on Monday however the recipient wasn’t disclosed. Gates has made the majority of his donations to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reach out to other charities around the world.
The gift, according to calculations by Bloomberg is the largest Gates has made since 2000. It was recorded that the 61-year-old billionaire gave away $16 billion worth of Microsoft shares in 1999 and $5.1 billion the year after.
To Bill and Melinda Gates, their mission statement remains “all lives have equal value, we are impatient optimists working to reduce inequity”.
Remember we can touch lives in a positive way wherever we find ourselves because no act of kindness no matter how small is wasted.
Image via Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.