Twelve Life Changing Lessons from Bill Gates - Peter Boolkah

Be like Bill Gates and find 12 reasons to prove 2021 can be an inspirational year for you.

Philanthropist and one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates says that despite the difficulties of the last 18 months there are many reasons to be grateful for 2021. What we have learnt means we can be hopeful for the future. He’s talking about the breakthroughs we’ve made during the pandemic. We can apply Bill Gates’ stance on the pandemic and apply it to the way we do business.

Following the Bill Gates school of thought, here are 12 ways we can learn from the pandemic and apply them to our business thinking.


The sheer speed of the vaccine development was exciting and awe inspiring. The world came together to solve one problem. People around the world were skeptical. No one thought a vaccine could be developed that quickly. The development across multiple global pharmaceutical companies and research universities told a different story.

It disrupted our mind set and showed us that just because something hasn’t been achieved in the past, it doesn’t mean it cannot be achieved ever. When we start a business we must have the belief that we can succeed and achieve.


The pandemic has brought the world together to fight the impossible and it is slowly winning. Globally we came together and had shared goals and outcomes: to save lives and keep the world turning. In business we must set out clear goals and outcomes and work out how we get there.


The vaccine roll out globally has been astounding. This global effort makes you realise that anything is possible if you have the right team in place. In business we must really focus on our teams. They ARE our business. 


With the vaccination process It is important that we don’t stop there. There will be variants trying to throw us off. As a global team we have found a solution to a virus and stopped it from killing people. Now we are finding ways to develop the vaccines to keep people safe. Bill Gates himself has poured 2 billion pounds into doing just that.

In business we must always learn of new ways to move our businesses forward. After success we must think of new ways to succeed. We must not stagnate. 


At the beginning of the pandemic, testing hubs determined if we had covid. It was a totally alien physical experience for us to visit one, but we quickly adapted to do what was needed to keep safe and move forward. We’ve adapted so much that many of us regularly test ourselves with effective home kits. In business we must adapt quickly to different situations, which may be uncomfortable, for our businesses to grow and succeed.


As some businesses were hit by the pandemic they pooled resources, changed direction to meet market demand. For example some car manufacturers joined with other companies to manufacture ventilators or breathing equipment. They lent their resources to each other, in what is known as a second source agreement.

They were able to provide the world with what it needed whilst keeping their businesses going. In business, sometimes we need to look at the resources and expertise around us and find a way to tap into it to further our company.


Globally we are financially sharing the risk of the pandemic. Shared financial risk brings people, countries and continents together. How can we save money by collaborating with experts around the world to reach our destination? Developing treatments and vaccines has been very cost prohibitive. In business by sharing resources and knowledge we can sometimes save time and money. 


The treatment of covid has developed dramatically over the last 18 months. Scientists and medics were pushed into trialling different treatments to find a solution. We’ve gone from ventilating people and giving them oxygen to finding medication which can ease their symptoms in tandem with the existing treatments.

It’s a huge global medical step forward and is full of hope for the future. In business we must find solutions to problems. Sometimes those solutions can propel us forward exponentially. 


The vaccination roll out has divided people. There has been widespread skepticism and worry of the unknown. However, the majority of people across the world have embraced it and changed their attitudes and thought processes. They have realised that the vaccine will save their lives and give them a future. Sometimes fear of change can hold us back in business. We must look at the wider picture when we forward plan and embrace change – just as many have with the vaccination process.


None of us felt comfortable wearing a mask and socially distancing in March 2020. Again, It felt alien to us and we doubted we would ever get used to it. Fast forward to October 2021 we accepted it and embraced it, because as humans we have the capacity to adapt and thrive. Acceptance that there are some things we are powerless to change is a quality you need in business.


As a global project the vaccine distribution has had teething problems but we are learning the logistics of how it can work. This has taught us that it is entirely possible to successfully trade worldwide. To collaborate with people in hard to reach parts of the world. It has opened up our business geography. It brings real positives for future world trading logistically. This is such a positive for us in business. 


The world was concerned that developing countries would be hit hardest and with the exception of India that hasn’t happened. Due to these countries being less heavily populated in geographic terms the transmission rate wasn’t as high as in Europe. This is something to be positive about. The developing countries have a huge role to play in our changing business landscape. In business we must learn to appreciate the wins and build on them.

So Bill gates is right, as businesses and individuals the takeaways from a very difficult and life changing 18 months are huge. We can almost certainly relate them to our lives and our future.

If you want to talk to me about how to grow your business then please contact me or visit


“Remember, Failing to Learn is Learning to Fail.”

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