Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon is widely respected all over the world for a number of reasons. He built a company from nothing to which it is now one of the biggest companies of the world. He turned an internal project to Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon which today makes over 17.5 billion dollars a year. He know how to hire the best people, he always makes smart decisions about expanding the company. Long story short, he is always known for being incredibly smart.
However, as Jeff Bezos learnt as a 10-year old on a family vacation with his family, you cannot be successful by being intelligent alone – or it will not help you lead a life that you can look back on with no remorse.
Intelligence, says Jeff Bezos, is a gift. He told Princeton students in 2010, “You might seduce yourselves with your gifts unless you are vigilant and if you are, it would definitely be to the disadvantage of your decisions.”
Studies show we seriously regret things that we didn’t do more often than stuff we did, even though things we did turn nasty. Makes perfect sense: You can correct nearly every error with time and energy. But you can’t come back and do the stuff you’ve dreamed of, but haven’t.
This research clearly tends to take that concept even farther, sampling the sorts of regrets we have of the individuals we haven’t become — which is a natural evolution of the decisions we didn’t take.
As Bezos says, “If you’re 80 years old and in a calm period of contemplation replaying the most intimate account of your life story for yourself, the most concise and significant tale would be the set of decisions you’ve made. Essentially, we’re our decisions.”
Which decisions will have the greatest effect on your life story — or whether you look back on that story with sorrow?
Here are the 10 questions Jeff Bezos suggests everyone should ask themselves:
- Is inertia going to be your guide, or will you pursue your passions?
- Do you follow an ideology, or are you going to be original?
- Do you want a life of convenience, or a life of excitement and service?
- Would you be under criticism, or are you going to follow your beliefs?
- If you’re incorrect, will you try to deceive it out, or will you say sorry?
- Can you shield your heart from rejection, or do you act once you fell in love?
- Are you going to play it safe, or are you going to be a little swashbuckling?
- If it is difficult, are you going to give up or are you going to be relentless?
- Would you be a cynic, or are you going to be a builder?
- Are you going to be smart at the detriment of others or are you going to be kind?
Unlike other amazing lists, this is a challenging one, too. Take the criticism aside and pursue your beliefs. That is far from being simple. Plus, we must fear most of the time of what other folks think.
But not when it gets in the way we truly would like to live our lives.
If you’d like to start a company — something that you can do in just a couple of hours — some people would say you are nuts, especially today. If you’d like to go back to college, some people probably say, particularly now, that you are crazy. If you’d like to set up a new restaurant, some folks will undoubtedly think you are crazy. Especially now.
But when you let the doubters dissuade you, one day you are far more likely to be looking back and wondering what might have been it. Research reveals that you would most definitely regret believing you have not met your maximum capacity. You would always regret that you have not became a person you thought you should have been, only if you had at least tried.
And this is one big mistake, you will never go back to correct it.
However if you ask the Bezos questions to yourself, that may be one major mistake you can stop making. Starting from today.