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How Jeff Bezos Make Decisions Using the “Regret Minimization Framework” Thinking

jeff bezos regret

Making decision is a vital part of determining your future and the results you’re going to get in your life. This is especially true if you desire for greater success and wanted to produce outstanding results in life, you need to make the right decision so that you will project in the right direction to get what you want out of life.

Making choices and decisions can sometimes be confusing and scary. This is especially true when that decision you make may completely change your life. For example, when you decide to quit your job and start your own business. Or when you choose to relocate to a foreign location for a fresh start.

Some people who have made poor decisions and got burned in the past may be afraid to try again. Thus, they may stick more to the status quo and choose to stay within their comfort zones.

On the other hand, people who have made great decisions in the past may produce better results in their lives and as a result, they may not be afraid to make decisions that may alter their lives completely. These are the people who are commonly known as a risk taker.

Making Decision is Like Connecting the Dots in Life

If Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple did not make the decision to get back to Apple after he was fired from the board, things will be very different today. Well, Jobs can choose to start other businesses, which he did, by the way, he started NeXT computer and acquired Pixar. However, his heart was with Apple, and eventually, Apple bought NeXT and he somehow got back into Apple.

Steve Jobs has a meaningful quote, he said:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

He was absolutely right about connecting the dots. You’ll never know what will be happening in the future, you can only tell when you have gone through it.

When Jobs dropped out from his college, he still hung around the college and went into the calligraphy class that he was passionate about. Little did he know that this decision transformed his life many years later. He said this during the commencement speech at Harvard:

“If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward ten years later.”

While it is true that you may not know if the decision you make today may positively or negatively impact your life, but when you look back into your past, you can definitely connect.

So how did the rich and highly successful people make decisions in their lives? Well, the richest man in the world (as of this writing), Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has a great and simple technique in his decision making.

The “Regret Minimization Framework” Decision Making Technique by Jeff Bezos

Just a couple of days ago, when I read his biography, The Everything Store, written by Brad Stone, I came across how the billionaire Jeff Bezos makes decisions in life, and he calls it the “regret minimization framework” thinking. It is a great read by the way. Read the book if you haven’t done so.

This is how it works. Before Bezos started Amazon, he used to work in a banking firm. And when he got the idea of starting an online e-commerce store selling basically everything you can imagine, he wasn’t sure if the decision to leave his successful career and to pursue his entrepreneurship dream is a right choice.

What he did then was that he applied the ‘regret minimization framework’.

“I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, ‘Okay, now I’m looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have,'” says Bezos.

And he continued, “I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day, and so when I thought about it that way it was an incredibly easy decision.”

Bezos then went on to make the decision to quit his job and started his online venture, which was then transformed into one of the most successful online retailer in the world, Amazon.

Minimize Your Regrets

When you want to make a decision, especially huge decision, you can always use this technique to minimize your regrets.

First, project yourself into when you are 80 years old. Visualize and see yourself at age 80. And then ask yourself if you will regret if you don’t make the decision. If you feel that you’ll regret because you let go of that opportunity, choose to go for it. On the contrary, if you think that you won’t regret it, you can choose to let the opportunity slips.

Bezos says, “If you can project yourself out to age 80 and sort of think, ‘What will I think at that time?’ it gets you away from some of the daily pieces of confusion.”

Anyone can leverage this technique and use it to sift through their personal goals and priorities in life. When you are facing a difficult situation and aren’t sure what to do, you may want to give this technique a try.

It can be a great way to make a decision because it is easy to implement. You just need to visualize and project yourself into when you are 80, and then think from that moment, if you will regret.

And the key is that you want to minimize your regrets in life.


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About Shawn Lim

I'm a blogger, writer, and also an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about me, kindly go to the About page. By the way, have you downloaded your FREE copy of Active Goal Setting? Don't forget to do so. :)

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