He’s the visionary who sparked the tech revolution, a celebrated philanthropist, and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the 20th century. But what motivates Bill Gates? What inspires and drives a person to turn a fledgling two-man operation into a multi-billion dollar behemoth?
The answers lie in his Human Design Life Theme.
What is a Human Design Life Theme?
Determined by your time of birth, your Human Design Life Theme is like the storyline of your life. It is the thread running through your experience on earth. A broad guide to the path we are meant to follow.
Bill Gates’s Human Design Life Theme is The Personal Life Theme of the Unexpected. People born into this life theme are prone to bringing about radical change to their lives and the lives of all others around them. And anyone who’s heard of Bill Gates knows that’s true.
A shy and contemplative child, young Gates would often spend large amounts of time alone in his room. When his mother would ask him what he was doing in there, he would respond, “I’m thinking!”
And this understated thoughtful nature was nurtured in a household that prized competition above all else. In fact, a visitor to the Gates home once commented that “it didn’t matter whether it was hearts or pickleball or swimming to the dock; there was always a reward for winning and there was always a penalty for losing.”
In this combination of pensive curiosity and ferocious competition, we already begin to get a pretty clear indication of what young Gates would become. Unlike his biggest rival, Steve Jobs—who by all accounts wasn’t the savviest when it came to the minutiae of tech—Gates was a master coder AND a master competitor (he’s been compared to a 19th-century robber baron for his ferocity in the marketplace.)
The Human Design Life Theme of the Unexpected: Creating New Possibilities
His early proclivities aside, his story really begins after he switched from public school to the private Lakeside prep school in Seattle, where he would encounter his first computer and write his first program.
When a local company agreed to let the school access its computer, young Gates was hooked. Though a relatively primitive machine, Gates was enthralled by what he perceived as the endless possibilities of the technology. He, along with his friend and fellow student Paul Allen, soon began skipping class to work with the computer. And their work paid off in short order when they, just 17 at the time, developed Traf-O-Data, a program that measured traffic flow in the Seattle area, for which they reportedly netted $20,000
Gates went on to Harvard in 1973, but his studies were the last thing on his mind. By his own admission, he spent his time at the University playing poker and video games instead of attending class.
It wasn’t until Allen intervened in Gates’ life—by showing Gates an article about the world’s first microcomputer—that he once again kicked into gear.
With an unshakeable belief in his ability to code, Gates called the manufacturer and told the president he had written a program for their microcomputer. This was a flat-out lie. He hadn’t written a thing. But, when the president of the company told Gates he’d like to see it, Gates and Allen worked day and night in Harvard’s computer lab to turn the lie into a reality. And when the day came to test the program, it worked.
And the rest is history. . .
Just a few short years later, Gates and Allen would build Microsoft into a major player in the computing industry, but his success would not come without some scrutiny. Throughout the decades, his competitors have complained that Microsoft uses its monopoly to impede the development of new technology. And this even led to a successful antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department.
According to a Gates Biographer, his two favorite games as a child were ‘Risk’ and ‘Monopoly,’ both of which require cunning, thoughtfulness, and a willingness to crush your opponents—all of which seem to reflect the natural inclinations and formative education of the calculating genius who was raised to compete, and win. And all of these traits reflect his Human Design Life Theme. A life theme that is unstoppable when diligently expressed.
To learn more about the Human Design Life Theme (and discover your own!), check out the Book of Destinies by Chetan Parkyn and Carola Eastwood for a deeper dive into the Themes that inform, influence, and move our lives.