There’s no ifs and buts about it – Bill Gates is one of most successful business brains of the 21st century.
So, how did the 68-year-old become so successful? A team of psychologists think they have it sussed.
Apparently, the most important skill to ave when it comes to successful decision making, is the ability to strike a balance between optimism and pessimism.
According to Gates himself, in the early days of Microsoft, he insisted on having enough money in the bank to keep the business going for 12 months, even if money wasn’t being brought in during that period.
Charlie Rose asked Bill Gates in 1995 why he kept so much cash lying around.
The entrepreneur professed that things change so quick in the world of technology, that next year’s business wasn’t guaranteed.
He’s not wrong there.
“I was always worried because people who worked for me were older than me and had kids, and I always though, ‘What if we don’t get paid? Will I be able to meet the payroll?'” he later explained.
Psychologist and author, Morgan Housel, says what made Bill gates so successful was his knowledge that you can only be optimistic in the long run if you’re pessimistic enough to survive the short run.
Morgan claims that optimism and pessimism are on a spectrum.
“At one end, you have pure optimists. They think everything is great, will always be great, and see all negativity as a character flaw,” Morgan wrote for CNBC.
“Part is rooted in the ego: they’re so confident in themselves they can’t fathom anything going wrong.”
On the other hand, ‘pure pessimists’ are at the total other end of the spectrum.
“They think everything is terrible, will always be terrible, and seel as positivity as a character flaw,” he continued.
“Part is rooted in the ego: they have so little confidence in themselves they can’t fathom anything going right.
“They’re the polar opposite of the pure opposite, and just as detached from reality.”
Morgan believes Bill Gates sits in the ‘sweet spot’ between the two opposite sides, himself being a ‘rational optimist’.