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Nvidia’s CEO advises students to temper their expectations, hinting at challenges ahead.

In a candid conversation with the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, shared some unconventional wisdom with students. He expressed a rather startling wish for them: to experience suffering. According to Huang, enduring hardship is not just inevitable but essential for achieving greatness. He believes that true character, the kind that leads to profound success, is forged in the fire of adversity, not merely through intellect or academic achievements.

Huang’s advice, particularly aimed at budding professionals in the tech world, underscores the gap between academic learning and the practical challenges of the industry. He implied that the real test comes when one’s theoretical knowledge meets the high-pressure, competitive environment of tech careers, a phase where resilience becomes key.

Delving into his own life story, Huang recounted his formative years, marked by personal trials and the determination to overcome them. From a challenging daily journey to school to facing bullying, he painted a picture of his early life filled with obstacles. Yet, it was these very challenges that he credits for his resilience and work ethic—a foundation that he laid while working as a dishwasher at Denny’s, striving to be the best in even the most humble of roles. This job taught him the value of efficiency and hard work, principles he carries into his role as CEO today.

Moreover, Huang shared a counterintuitive tip on setting expectations. Contrary to the popular mantra of aiming high, he advised adopting lower expectations to foster resilience. According to him, this approach not only prepares one for the realities of life but also contributes to a sustainable path toward success.

Huang’s narrative is a testament to the belief that the road to success is paved with trials. His reflections offer a valuable perspective on growth, suggesting that the most significant achievements often stem from the ability to navigate through life’s toughest challenges. Through his journey from a determined dishwasher to the CEO of a leading tech company, Huang illustrates that embracing setbacks and working persistently towards one’s goals can indeed lay the groundwork for remarkable achievements.