Bill Gates – Overestimate & underestimate the change … Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction

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We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction

Bill Gates

There’s a lot of deep wisdom in this quote. I do not agree with many of the statements said by Bill Gate, but with this one i agree 100%.

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years:

We are bad at assessing the change timeline. When it comes to goals, we overestimate what we can do in one or two years. We think that putting in two years should lead to achieving the goal, it most often does not.
To give you few examples:
– You will Not learn a new language in 2 years, you will learn a basic level if you put an average effort, but don’t expect to be fluent in 2 years.
– You will Not become a programmer if you learn coding for 2 years, it takes way more than 2 years, unless you put serious dedication.
– You will Not learn drawing, photo-shooting, playing an instrument, martial art, or any skill in just 2 years …
– And for the gen Z, you will not become a famous youtuber in 2 years (even-though this has nothing to do with skills, but rather a simple statistical probability).

You can not master anything in just 2 years. It takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials. 10 000 hours happen to be exactly 416.6 days, and that’s without sleeping, eating, going to the toilet, talking with anyone. Thus an extremely dedicated person would probably be able to dedicate 12 hours a day, thus at least 830 days, almost 2.25 years. The average joe would not be able to dedicate 12 hours for learning something new, far from it.

From a personality point of view, 2 years is not such a big timeline that an individual could present 2 totally different perspectives or personalities, people do not change that fast (some don’t change at all).

We always underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten years:

We are also bad at assessing the change that would occur in the next decade, especially with the fast pace in tech and in social behavior change.
Business wise, businesses often underestimate the change, the big cemetery of “once giant companies” that went bankrupt is a great proof of that.
People rarely plan 10 years ahead, big businesses do this, but it’s not that frequent and not that reliable.

Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction:

Most people do not have a 10 year plan, and thus in 10 year they will most probably stay in the same situation if not worse. Those with 5 years and 10 years plans do much better. The idea of having a 10 year plan might seem absurd given the uncertainties of life, but it makes a lot of sense especially when your goal is not achievable in 2 years as you expect.

Furthermore, even if some goals can not be achieved within a year or two, it is better to start working toward achieving these goals than not starting at all. Thus start learning a new language, or playing the guitar, etc … because the only way to achieve a goal is to start working towards achieving it.

Related quotes concerning inaction:
Inaction is the greatest risk of all – Tim Ferris
Dale Carnegie – Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.

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Abdallah Alaili

I'm a serial entrepreneur (mostly tech) and micro-investor (tiny), this is a blog to learn from other entrepreneurs and spread the wisdom to many more. You can find me on: Instagram - Twitter - Linkedin - more about me