Mark Zuckerberg Asked Bill and Melinda Gates and Lin-Manuel Miranda What Advice They'd Give Their Younger Selves 'Asking for a friend.'

By Nina Zipkin

Bloomberg | Getty Images

Who among us wouldn't want Bill and Melinda Gates or Lin-Manuel Miranda as mentors?

This week, the trio headlined a talk at New York's Hunter College to, as Melinda Gates described it on her Facebook page, have "a conversation about why we think the world is getting better."

The event was streamed on Facebook, and at one point, a commenter by the name of Mark Zuckerberg chimed in with the question.

Related: How Billionaire Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates Settle Disagreements

"If you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be? Asking for a friend," the Facebook co-founder and CEO said.

The Gateses and Miranda were happy to oblige.

"Trust yourself. You probably know more than you think you do," Melinda advised, noting that trust extends to believing that you can learn anything.

Bill's advice was also from the vantage point of learning new things.

Related: 12 Inspiring Tweets From 'Hamilton' Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda

"I was so naive about different skill sets. I thought if somebody had a high IQ, they could be good at everything. And the idea that you needed to blend these different types of skills together, that always continued to surprise me," Bill shared. "There was this simple idea of smartness and it could go and solve everything -- I wish I had known better than to think that."

And Miranda said he would tell his teenage self to be a little kinder to himself.

"If I could look at high school me and just say, 'it is not that deep,'" he said. "Everything feels like the biggest deal in the world at all times, particularly socially. There is a day when it feels like everybody hates you and it feels like the world is going to end that day." But he said to remember that the stakes are not nearly that high and to think about things with a longer perspective.

What advice would you give your younger self? Let us know in the comments.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business Plans

She Wrote An 'Escape Plan' to Quit Her Job and Move to an Island. Now She's There Generating Nearly $300,000 A Year

"My detailed, step-by-step plan on how I would quit my job and move to a Caribbean island."

Business Plans

How You Can Use the 80/20 Rule to Unlock Success and Maximize Your Impact

Our success is determined by where we focus our efforts.

Business News

Google Is Mass Deleting Accounts This Week — Here's How To Make Sure Yours Is Safe

The company is reportedly removing inactive accounts on December 1.

Science & Technology

Police Issue Warning About iPhone's 'NameDrop' Feature

How to safely manage the iPhone's latest feature and understand how the technology works.

Business Plans

An Entrepreneur's Blueprint for Crafting a Pitch Deck That Wows Investors

Developing a great pitch deck is critical for obtaining business funding, with an emphasis on connecting with investors' objectives and preferences while stressing design, clarity and a passionate narrative.