比爾·蓋茨:我想與2017屆畢業生分享的人生功課
日期:2017-12-14 瀏覽

親愛的2017屆畢業生:

祝賀你們!你們剛剛完成了一件我沒能做到的事——獲得大學文憑。

我敢肯定你們這些天一定聽到了很多建議,不論是從畢業典禮演講者那里,還是從參加你畢業派對的每一個叔叔阿姨那里。冒著被認為重復絮叨的風險,我想我還是應該分享一些自己的想法。

剛畢業的大學生們經常向我尋求職業方面的建議。我很幸運,因為在我二十歲剛出頭時,數字革命剛剛開始,這讓我和保羅·艾倫(Paul Allen)有機會參與其中并幫助影響它的發展(這也解釋了我為什么沒有獲得大學學位——我之所以離開學校,是因為我們害怕自己與這場革命的發生無關)。假如我今天要重新出發,尋找同樣能給世界帶來重大影響的機會,我會考慮以下三個領域。

第一是人工智能。我們剛剛開始全方位涉獵這個領域,人工智能會使人們的生活更有效率、更具創造性;第二是能源,因為能夠獲得清潔、實惠和可靠的能源,是抗擊貧困和應對氣候變化必不可少的條件;第三是生物科學,這一領域充滿了機會,可以幫助人們活得更長久、更健康。

但不管你選擇什么樣的職業,生命中有些東西都是客觀存在的。我多么希望在離開學校時,我已經對這些事情有了更深刻的理解。首先,智力并沒有我曾經所想的那樣重要,而且智力有許多不同的形式。在微軟成立之初,我認為如果你代碼寫得很棒,那么你也能管理好人員或運營好一個營銷團隊,再或者做好其他任何一項工作。關于這一點,我曾經的想法是錯誤的。我必須學會發現并欣賞人們不同的才干。如果你還沒能做到的話,你越快地做到這點,你的生活將越豐富。

還有一件事我希望自己能早點明白,那就是真實的不平等長什么樣。我直到將近四十歲時才得以親眼看見不平等,那是在我和梅琳達第一次去非洲的時候。我們因所看的景象而震驚。回國之后,我們便開始進行更多的學習。讓我們震驚不已的是,有一些疾病每年能奪取非洲數百萬兒童的生命,而生活在富裕國家的人卻根本不用為這些疾病擔憂。我們認為這是世上最不公正的事。我們意識到我們應立即參與其中——我們必須立即開始回饋社會。

我在你們這個年紀的時候,所知道的東西要比你們現在知道的少得多。科技賦予你們能力,使你們能通過我和我的朋友們從未經歷過的方式去看待問題,也能通過我們從未想過的方式去幫助別人。你們可以更早地開始與不平等作斗爭,無論是在你所在的社區,還是在地球另一端的某個國家。

與此同時,我鼓勵你們與這樣一群人為伍:他們挑戰你、教導你并推動你成為最好的自己。對我而言,梅琳達就扮演著這樣的角色,我也因此得以成為更好的自己。同我們的好朋友沃倫·巴菲特一樣,我衡量自己幸福感的方式,是看我最親密的人是否快樂、是否愛我,以及看我給別人的生活帶去了怎樣的影響。

如果我能給你們每人一份畢業禮物,這份禮物將是一本由斯蒂芬·平克(Steven Pinker)撰寫的《人性中的善良天使》。讀了這么些年書之后,你們或許不會很渴望閱讀一本七百多頁的著作。但請把這本書加入你的閱讀列表,等到準備好的時候再來打開它。這是我讀過的最有啟發性的一本書。

平克非常有力地論證了世界正變得越來越好——我們生活在人類歷史中最和平的時代。證明這一點并不容易,尤其在當下這個時候。當你和人們說世界正變得越來越好時,人們看你的眼神就好像在說你不是太天真,就是瘋了。

但這是真的。一旦你明白了這一點,你便會開始用不同的方式看待世界。如果你感覺事情正變得越來越好,你就會想知道是什么在起作用,然后你可以加快進步并將它傳播給更多的人、更多的地方。

我的意思不是讓你無視我們所面臨的嚴峻問題,而是意味著你相信這些問題可以得到解決,以及你要在此信念之下采取行動。

這就是我世界觀的核心。它支撐我度過艱難的歲月,也是我在從事了十七年慈善工作后依舊熱愛這項事業的原因。我相信它會帶給你相同的影響。

衷心祝福你們。我們生活在一個不可思議的時代,我希望你們能把握住這段時光。

Dear Class of 2017,

Congratulations! You’ve just accomplished something I never managed to do—earn a college degree.

Between your commencement speaker and every aunt and uncle at your graduation party, I am sure you are getting a lot of advice. At the risk of piling on, I thought I would share a few thoughts.

New college graduates often ask me for career advice. I was lucky to be in my early 20s when the digital revolution was just getting under way, and Paul Allen and I had the chance to help shape it. (Which explains my lack of a college degree—I left school because we were afraid the revolution would happen without us.) If I were starting out today and looking for the same kind of opportunity to make a big impact in the world, I would consider three fields.

One is artificial intelligence. We have only begun to tap into all the ways it will make people’s lives more productive and creative. The second is energy, because making it clean, affordable, and reliable will be essential for fighting poverty and climate change. The third is the biosciences, which are ripe with opportunities to help people live longer, healthier lives.

But some things in life are true no matter what career you choose. I wish I had understood these things better when I left school. For one thing, intelligence is not quite as important as I thought it was, and it takes many different forms. In the early days of Microsoft, I believed that if you could write great code, you could also manage people well or run a marketing team or take on any other task. I was wrong about that. I had to learn to recognize and appreciate people’s different talents. The sooner you can do this, if you don’t already, the richer your life will be.

Another thing I wish I had understood much earlier is what true inequity looks like. I did not see it up close until my late 30s, when Melinda and I took our first trip to Africa. We were shocked by what we saw. When we came back, we began learning more. It blew our minds that millions of children there were dying from diseases that no one in rich countries even worried about. We thought it was the most unjust thing in the world. We realized we couldn’t wait to get involved—we had to start giving back right away.

You know much more than I did when I was your age. Technology lets you see problems in ways my friends and I never could, and it empowers you to help in ways we never could. You can start fighting inequity sooner, whether it is in your own community or in a country halfway around the world.

Meanwhile, I encourage you to surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self. Melinda does that for me, and I am a better person for it. Like our good friend Warren Buffett, I measure my happiness by whether people close to me are happy and love me, and by the difference I make in other people’s lives.

If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be a copy of The Better Angels of Our Nature, by Steven Pinker. After several years of studying, you may not exactly be itching to read a 700-page book. But please put this one on your reading list to get to someday. It is the most inspiring book I have ever read.

Pinker makes a persuasive argument that the world is getting better—that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. This can be a hard case to make, especially now. When you tell people the world is improving, they often look at you like you’re either na ve or crazy.

But it’s true. And once you understand it, you start to see the world differently. If you think things are getting better, then you want to know what’s working, so you can accelerate the progress and spread it to more people and places.

It doesn’t mean you ignore the serious problems we face. It just means you believe they can be solved, and you’re moved to act on that belief.

This is the core of my worldview. It sustains me in tough times and is the reason I still love my philanthropic work after more than 17 years. I think it can do the same for you.

Good luck to all of you. This is an amazing time to be alive. I hope you make the most of it.

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