A decade ago, we started a new annual tradition: sitting down to write a letter about our work in philanthropy. We got the idea from our friend Warren Buffett, who’s been writing brilliant reports to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway for more than half a century.

This year we’re marking our 10th letter by answering 10 tough questions about our work that people often ask us. Here is one of them. You can read the rest at gatesletter.com.

Why are you really giving your money away—what’s in it for you?

Bill: It’s not because we think about how we’ll be remembered. We would be delighted if someday diseases like polio and malaria are a distant memory, and the fact that we worked on them is too.

There are two reasons to do something like this. One is that it’s meaningful work. Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy. We think that’s a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money. Once you’ve taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra wealth is to give it back to society.

The other reason is that we have fun doing it. Both of us love digging into the science behind our work. At Microsoft, I got deep into computer science. At the foundation, it’s computer science plus biology, chemistry, agronomy, and more. I’ll spend hours talking to a crop researcher or an HIV expert, and then I’ll go home, dying to tell Melinda what I’ve learned.

It’s rare to have a job where you get to have both a big impact and a lot of fun. I had it with Microsoft, and I have it with the foundation. I can’t imagine a better way to spend the bulk of my time.

Melinda: We both come from families that believed in leaving the world better than you found it. My parents made sure my siblings and I took the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church to heart. Bill’s mom was known, and his dad still is known, for showing up to advocate for a dizzying number of important causes and support more local organizations than you can count.

When we got to know Warren Buffett, we discovered that he was steeped in those same values, even though he grew up in a different place and at a different time. When Warren entrusted us with giving away a large portion of his wealth, we redoubled our efforts to live up to the values we share.

Of course, these values are not unique to the three of us. Millions of people give back by volunteering their time and donating money to help others. We are, however, in the more unusual position of having a lot of money to donate. Our goal is to do what our parents taught us and do our part to make the world better.

Bill and I have been doing this work, more or less full-time, for 17 years. That’s the majority of our marriage. It’s almost the entirety of our children’s lives. By now the foundation’s work has become inseparable from who we are. We do the work because it’s our life.

We’ve tried to pass on values to our children by talking with them about the foundation’s work, and, as they’ve gotten older, taking them with us on trips so they can see it for themselves. We’ve connected to each other through thousands of daily debriefs on learning sessions, site visits, and strategy meetings. Where we go, who we spend our time with, what we read and watch and listen to—these decisions are made through the prism of our work at the foundation (when we’re not watching The Crown).

Maybe 20 years ago, we could have made a different choice about what to do with our wealth. But now it’s impossible to imagine. If we’d decided to live a different life then, we wouldn’t be us now. This is who we chose to be.

Read the rest of our Annual Letter and ask us your toughest question at gatesletter.com.

Written by

Bill Gates
Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Originally at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-were-really-giving-our-money-away-bill-gates

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The Smartphone addiction has got all hooked. With millions of apps catering to your different needs, smileys, emoticons and memes instead of relying on words to express what you feel and getting to know the whole world at one tap, you feel severely addicted to your Smartphone. But, is that a healthy sign? On introspection, you will probably find that you spend more time over the virtual domain through the social networking sites rather than having a heart-to-heart with your family and friends.

Of late, smartphones are being held responsible for causing depression as a result of increased isolation.

Let’s find out whether the theory is well propounded or not.

1. One of the major signs of depression is lack of adequate sleep. Sticking to your smartphone till the wee hours of the morning affects your level of concentration, resulting in anxiety and a bad temper.

2. When you spend a lot of time on the gadgets, you slowly compromise on your thinking capacity. You take everything internet serves you as granted without clarifying. With every piece of information available on the internet, there is nothing left for you to imagine or create.

3. Addiction to social networking sites is taking away all your creative potentials; and on one fine day, when you discover this, you might feel increasingly disillusioned, resulting in depression.

4. One of the worst causes of depression is cyber bullying. The virtual world might welcome you with all kinds of threats and humiliation and this happens majorly on the social networking sites. As a result, you feel your self-confidence is at stake, resulting in severely low self-esteem and subsequent depression.

5. Abandoning your smartphone completely is utopian, because they serve needful purposes as well. But, what you can do is limit the time you spend on the device and replace it with something creative. Otherwise, it might not be too late before you start silently sliding into depression.

by Dr. Vasavi Samyukta Sunki, Psychologist

Originally at

https://www.practo.com/healthfeed/be-smart-with-your-smartphone-25188/post

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