Bill and Melinda Gates were recently asked the superpower question by a group of Kentucky high school students.
When I first read the question, I immediately thought about how I would respond. My initial reaction was that I would want the ability to teleport, to be in one place one moment and then to be anywhere in the world the very next moment.
Bill noted that he thought the ability to fly, or to be invisible, or to travel through time would all be good options, but his response was “more energy”, and Melinda’s response was “more time”.
Bill and Melinda then used the question and their responses as the basis for their annual letter for their foundation.
They note that everyone wants more time and energy. But they mean one thing in rich countries and something else entirely when looked at through the eyes of the world’s poorest families.
Poverty is not just about a lack of money. It’s about the absence of the resources the poor need to realize their potential. Two critical ones are time and energy.
More than one billion people today live without access to energy. No electricity to light and heat their homes, power hospitals and factories, and improve their lives in thousands of ways.
Likewise, a lack of time creates obstacles too. It’s not simply the feeling of not having enough hours in the day. It’s the crippling effect of having to perform the backbreaking work that needs to get done when there’s no electricity.
Bill’s part of the letter focused on the lack of access to energy around the world, particularly in Africa.
Melinda’s part of the letter focused on the need for people to have more time, particualrly women
As I read the letter, I realized my response of wanting the ability to teleport fit in with my recent blog post about acts of kindness.
In that post I noted that it seemed as if acts of kindness come more naturally to others than they do to me. And here I am saying I want to be able to teleport, and Bill and Melinda Gates are talking about how they would use their superpowers to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
Now that I’ve seen their answers, I want to change mine.
If I could have any superpower, I would want the ability to make the world a more peaceful place.
I just wish that was the first thought that came to my mind, and I didn’t have to be prompted by the Gateses.
I’d recommend taking the time to read their letter, and think about what superpower you would want.
If you don’t have the time right now to read the letter, here is 90-second video preview:
Our 2016 Annual Letter
In our Annual Letter, Bill and I write about two things everyone wants more of: time and energy. Here’s why we think they’re so important to unlocking progress for everyone—and what you can do to help: http://m-gat.es/1Qp2XRB
Posted by Melinda Gates on Monday, February 22, 2016
And by the way, once we had world peace, maybe then I’ll work on the teleporting thing.