#38 Jeff Bezos (Amazon) Regret Minimization

Jeff Bezos. Founder of Amazon and Blue Origin. One of, if not, the richest people in the world.

I never really admired Jeff. I didn't really know Jeff. I still don't really know Jeff. I saw him as the Lex Luther of e-commerce. The guy that founded Amazon. To say the least, I had a bad first impression of him because I associated him with a fictional bad guy character.

I watch YouTube for most of my video entertainment. But often it isn't fictional stories that I'm attracted to. I will more often than not, click on videos of real-life stories. 

I figured since I don't know much about Jeff Bezos, and he seems to be doing something right as an entrepreneur. I should learn more about him. So I clicked.

What I found was an amazing mind with an incredible logic that is worth emulating. Maybe not completely emulating, but there are enough good bits about how he manages his thoughts and life that he's gained a new fan in me.

His philosophy on life, the singular piece of advice that I can relate to so closely is this idea of "Regret Minimization".

Regret Minimization is a way to motivate yourself by trying not to disappoint your "future self"

On many occasions, I have used this exact framework to make decisions in my life. 

The framework goes like this. 

You are faced with a decision. A very personal decision. The type of decision that will change the course of your life.

This isn't the organic avocados or regular avocados decision.

This is the should you quit your well-paying job to follow your passion, should you tell someone you love them, should you move across the country, and should you save money for a better life. These types of decisions.

In Jeff's case it was, should I quit my good software engineering job at a high paying hedge fund on Wall Street to start Amazon?

And at the time the answer wasn't "this is a great idea". Rarely at the beginning can you really know.

Imagine yourself facing a life-changing decision. Now imagine you are 80 years old, sitting on a park bench, taking a moment to reflect on your life, will you regret not making that decision?

Will you regret not taking action?

There will be some things we do in our lives we will regret. But by far, it's the "things we didn't do" that we will regret the most.

Jeff's "Regret Minimization" framework is designed to take action to have fewer regrets when you are 80 years old.

Looking Back From 80

When I look back on myself today from my 80-year-old self. I know in my heart that I will not regret making the decisions I made.

Switching careers to finance.

Moving to Toronto to follow the girl that became my wife. 

Leaving my career in finance to pursue a career in personal finance.

And saving like there is going to be 30,000 tomorrows to live with adventure.

My 80-year-old self is going to thank me for making his life easy, for giving him the freedom to make choices about how to live his life. 

But so is my 70-year-old self, my 60-year-old self, my 50-year-old self, and 40-year-old self.

It honestly isn't hard work. It was just a choice. A decision I made 5 years ago that all my future selves will thank me for. 

The decision to start saving money ruthlessly so that my we can retire early.

Are you ready to make the decisions that will minimize your 80-year-old regrets?

"To adventure and fellowship" - Jeff Bezos


Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.

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