Do something you’re very passionate about, and don’t try to chase what is kind of the ‘hot passion’ of the day. I think we actually saw this. I think you see it all over the place in many different contexts, but I think we saw it in the Internet world quite a bit, where, at sort of the peak of the Internet mania in – say 1999 – you found people who were very passionate of something, and they kind of left that job and decided, “I’m going to do something on the Internet because it’s almost like the 1849 Gold Rush in a way.” I mean, you find that people – if you go back and study the history of the 1949 Gold Rush you find that, at that time, everybody who was within shouting distance of California was – you know, they might have been a doctor, but they quit being a doctor and they started panning for gold, and that almost never works. And, even if it does work, according to some metric, financial success, or whatever it might be, I suspect it leaves you ultimately unsatisfied. So, you really need to be very clear with yourself. And I think one of the best ways to do that is this notion of projecting yourself forward to age 80, looking back on your life, and trying to make sure you’ve minimized the number of regrets you have. That works for career decisions. It works for family decisions. I have a 14-month old son, and it’s very easy for me to – if I think about myself when I’m 80, I know I want to watch that little guy grow up, and so it’s – I don’t want to be 80 and think, “Shoot! You know, I missed that whole thing, and I don’t have the kind of relationship with my son that I wished I had,” and so on and so on. Another thing that I would recommend to people is that they always take a long-term point of view. I think this is something about which there’s a lot of controversy. A lot of people – and I’m just not one of them – believe that you should live for the now. I think what you do is think about the great expanse of time ahead of you and try to make sure that you’re planning for that in a way that’s going to leave you ultimately satisfied. This is the way it works for me. There are a lot of paths to satisfaction and you need to find one that works for you.

Dec 16, 2009

Do something you’re very passionate about, and don’t try to chase what is kind of the ‘hot passion’ of the day. I think we actually saw this. I think you see it all over the place in many different contexts, but I think we saw it in the Internet world quite a bit, where, at sort of the peak of the Internet mania in – say 1999 – you found people who were very passionate of something, and they kind of left that job and decided, “I’m going to do something on the Internet because it’s almost like the 1849 Gold Rush in a way.” I mean, you find that people – if you go back and study the history of the 1949 Gold Rush you find that, at that time, everybody who was within shouting distance of California was – you know, they might have been a doctor, but they quit being a doctor and they started panning for gold, and that almost never works. And, even if it does work, according to some metric, financial success, or whatever it might be, I suspect it leaves you ultimately unsatisfied. So, you really need to be very clear with yourself. And I think one of the best ways to do that is this notion of projecting yourself forward to age 80, looking back on your life, and trying to make sure you’ve minimized the number of regrets you have. That works for career decisions. It works for family decisions. I have a 14-month old son, and it’s very easy for me to – if I think about myself when I’m 80, I know I want to watch that little guy grow up, and so it’s – I don’t want to be 80 and think, “Shoot! You know, I missed that whole thing, and I don’t have the kind of relationship with my son that I wished I had,” and so on and so on.


Another thing that I would recommend to people is that they always take a long-term point of view. I think this is something about which there’s a lot of controversy. A lot of people – and I’m just not one of them – believe that you should live for the now. I think what you do is think about the great expanse of time ahead of you and try to make sure that you’re planning for that in a way that’s going to leave you ultimately satisfied. This is the way it works for me. There are a lot of paths to satisfaction and you need to find one that works for you.

—Jeff Bezos