Written by DML
The click bait headline on CNBC got me — I couldn’t resist — I had to click on: “Billionaire Jeff Bezos: To live a happy life with no regrets by age 80, ask yourself these 12 questions.”
Although I have lost all respect for Bezos as a husband and father after learning about his extramarital affair that included texting selfies of his man parts, I still believe this guy is a business genius. Amazon.com is like nothing we’ve ever seen.
The CNBC article points to a recent speech given by Bezos. In it, the marketing guru goes back in time and shares his first thoughts of creating Amazon. He claims he knew the idea would be high risk.
CNBC quotes Bezos and his story of asking his boss at the time for advice. Apparently, Bezos’ boss told him that the concept for Amazon “sounded like a very good idea,” and that it would be an even better idea if Bezos didn’t already have a good job.
Obviously, Bezos ignored the advice and today, because of his success with Amazon, he is the richest man in the world despite giving away 25% of his Amazon stock to his wife in a recent divorce settlement.
Bezos in his speech says: “We are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”
In the click bait story from CNBC.com, there are 12 questions Bezos urged everyone to think deeply about:
- 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 dogma, or will you be original?
- Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
- Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
- Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
- Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
- Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
- When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
- Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
- Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
I’m not sure if Jeff Bezoa can claim to have answered all his questions perfectly in his personal life, but he sure is spot on with his business decisions at Amazon.com
The company, despite its enormous size, shows no signs of slowing down as it enters new industries all the time. What started off as a bookseller online is now building its own airplanes, producing movies, running data centers, and operating retail food outlets. As a businessman myself, it would be silly of me to ignore Bezos and his 12 questions. But considering a life’s story isn’t solely about business, I may tack on a 13th question and send it to Jeff.
13. Should a father take a selfie of his man parts and send them to his secret lover when doing so will devastate and embarrass his children and wife?
Someday, Jeff will reach 80. He will be forced to revisit his own words: “We are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”
Odds are he looks back at his own story and realizes he can’t take with him the fortune he built or the website he operated. He will realize that none of his customers will care about him when he’s 80. Question 13 will haunt him.
Question 13 will force Jeff to think about how he treated his family. Odds are he will break down and cry; he will wish he had spent more time working on his family and less on his business because family is everything.
I may not have the amount of cash on hand that Jeff does, but I am far more rich than he. For it is not the size of a man’s wallet that matters, but rather the size of his heart. Family is what matters most, especially when your 80. Everything else, including a business, is secondary in the story of life.