Not only is Jeff Bezos interested in being the richest man in the world (that already is), he also wants to be sure that as he reaches 80, he can turn back and know that he lived a happy life and that he has no regrets about it. having made bad decisions or having stopped doing what they wanted due to the opinions and criticisms of others.
“When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating just for you the most personal version of the story of your life, the narration that will be more compact and meaningful will be the series of decisions you have made.” Bezos said in his 2010 commencement speech at Princeton University.
In his speech, Bezos told graduates that “ we are what we choose ”, emphasizing the fact that our decisions are what carry us through life and can make all the difference when we reach the end of the road (or to the point where you only have to enjoy the retirement), so we should not settle for just knowing that we have certain skills or gifts, we must use them in the correct way if what we want is to be happy in the long run. “Intelligence is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy, after all, they are given. Decisions can be tough. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you are not careful, and if you do, it will probably be to the detriment of your choices. “
© Alex Wong
What this means is that happiness is not measured in business success, rather in the decisions you made and that you carried with you in every step of life. In the end, your bank account is not going to make you happy, happiness is going to be in what you did, the decisions you made and the (non-material) things that you made priorities.
In his personal case, Jeff Bezos recalled that, when presenting the Amazon project to his boss , he told him that it would be a good idea if he did not have a good job at the time, which almost convinces him not to give it a try. “It was really a tough decision, but in the end, I decided I had to give it a try. I didn’t think I would regret trying and failing. And I suspected I would always be haunted by the decision not to try at all. After much thought, I took the less safe path to pursue my passion and am proud of that choice. “(And now that Amazon has helped Bezos buy successful companies and expensive toys , that boss probably regrets trying to stop him.)
Bezos also said that the important thing is to build a great story for ourselves, follow our instincts and passions and not let others determine what we can or cannot do, that is what will make us really happy, besides that it will avoid that at 80 we regret not having tried certain things out of fear or social pressure.
For Bezos , it is better to fail and learn from that to continue growing, than to never take risks and end up stuck.
The 12 questions of Jeff Bezos to be happy (no regrets) throughout life:
How will you use your gifts?
What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow the dogma or will you be original?
Would you choose a comfortable life or a life of service and adventure?
Will you let criticism crush you or will you follow your convictions?
Will you hide when you’re wrong or will you apologize?
Will you protect your heart from rejection or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe or will you be a bit adventurous?
When it’s difficult, will you give up or be ruthless?
Will you be a cynic or will you be a builder?
Will you be smart at the expense of others or will you be kind?
The CEO of Amazon recognizes that this is not a universal guide to achieve eternal happiness, rather they are a guide that can help anyone make better decisions that can help them be happy and proud of their own stories, even if not they end up in million-dollar deals worth 200 billion dollars.