Bill Gates recently spent seven days at his hideaway cottage on a cedar forest waterfront, partaking in a twice-yearly ritual he calls his “Think Week.” But this article is only partially about Bill...
Gates, the principal founder and chairman of Microsoft Corporation, came up with the idea for his personal seven day retreat as a way to ponder the future of technology and think of new ideas for his company. Tucked away in his secret two-story cabin in the Pacific Northwest, Gates spends the week completely secluded from civilization - alone with his own thoughts and a pile of thought proposals. The seven days tend to include a lot of reading, a lot of thinking, and a lot of alone time, as Gates is completely disconnected from family members, friends, and employees (despite one exception: a caretaker who slips him two simple meals a day.) It's alright for some!
These weeks function as Gates’ way to think of new ideas, away from distractions and noise. It’s been said that one Think Week in 1995 inspired his famous, “The Internet Tidal Wave” paper, while another prompted Gates to come up with the plans for Microsoft’s Tablet PC. Some of the core staples of society’s daily tech use have stemmed from these secret weeks of seclusion. As we all know, Bill has a pretty substantial brain, and these annual get-aways not only give him time and space to think, but also to re-charge. And this is why OGN Daily is referencing the 'cabin in the woods', both in reality and metaphorically.
While we can’t all take a week away from our lives to hide out in a secluded thinking cabin, the ritual that Gates has adopted tells us a lot about the necessity of slowing down and taking time for ourselves. Whether you’re in need of a few additional vacation days, a weekend without screen time, or just a few moments of mindful meditation before bed, taking time to unplug and recharge is critical for our mental, physical, and psychological well-being.