- Bill Gates stopped watching TV for about five years to focus on software.
- Gates now uses meditation to help increase his focus.
- Meditation is proven to reduce your brain’s age.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates might watch TV now — in fact, he’s really into “Narcos” these days — but it wasn’t always like that. If you knew him back in his 20s, you would’ve also known then that Bill Gates did not watch TV. A seemingly odd choice for someone in the tech space, but Gates committed to no television for about five years.
In a recent blog post on Gates Notes, the tech mogul revealed how he stopped watching television during his 20s so that he could devote himself to all things Microsoft. “I stopped listening to music and watching TV in my 20s,” Gates wrote. “It sounds extreme, but I did it because I thought they would just distract me from thinking about software.”
And Bill Gates’ no-TV rule was probably a good thing because Microsoft has become one of the most recognized names in technology, with a market cap of more than $790 billion as of Jan. 7, and more than $100 billion in sales as of June 2018, according to Forbes. The company has also increased in value from $62.04 billion in 2006 to $200.99 billion in 2018, according to Statista. But now that he’s back to TV, he’s got a new secret to his success.
Bill Gates’ New Strategy for Focusing
Unplugging from television might have been necessary for Gates back in his 20s, but he has since found a new strategy to maintain his focus: meditation. It wasn’t his preferred method of choice at first; however, he’s fully embraced it thanks to the help of Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of the meditation app Headspace. Gates now meditates two to three times a week for 10 minutes each day.
“I now see that meditation is simply exercise for the mind, similar to the way we exercise our muscles when we play sports,” Gates wrote. “For me, it has nothing to do with faith or mysticism. It’s about taking a few minutes out of my day, learning how to pay attention to the thoughts in my head, and gaining a little bit of distance from them.”
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Although meditating might be a way for Gates to clear his mind, the practice of meditation has other health benefits. For example, a study published in NeuroImage in 2016 found that the brains of people who meditated were, on average, 7.5 years younger at age 50 than those who didn’t.
The advantages of meditation and mindfulness have also attracted major companies such as Google. The Search Inside Yourself program, which was developed at Google, is designed to teach its employees “practical mindful leadership and emotional intelligence.”
Gates added that mediation might have been a lost cause during his time developing Microsoft, but it’s a great asset to his personal and professional life.
“I’m not sure how much meditation would have helped me concentrate in my early Microsoft days, because I was monomaniacally focused without it,” Gates wrote. “But now that I’m married, have three children, and have a broader set of professional and personal interests, it’s a great tool for improving my focus.”
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