There is no doubt that Jeff Bezos is a great example of business success. At the time of writing, he is the richest person in the world. While success in business doesn’t necessarily mean true success, I believe we can learn valuable lessons from him.
I have been following him for some time, and I have found that his achievements mainly come from the principles he lives by. These are the principles that guide his actions and help him grow Amazon to become the giant it is today.
You might not plan to build your own business, but these are still great principles to follow. Here are six success principles from Jeff Bezos.
1. Minimize Regret
This is the principle that started it all. Back in 1994, Bezos already had a comfortable job at a hedge fund. But the Internet was going mainstream and he saw a huge opportunity there.
So what should he do? Should he leave his comfortable job and take the risk?
To help him make the difficult decision, he used the regret minimization framework.
The idea is that you should take the action that will minimize your future regrets. Many people have lifetime regrets and this framework aims to avoid those.
Using this framework, it’s clear to him that he should leave his job and take the risk. If he didn’t, he would regret it years later (“Why didn’t I give it a shot?”). But by doing it, he wouldn’t have any regret (“At least I have done my best”).
If you are facing a difficult decision right now, you may want to use this principle. Choose the action that will minimize your future regrets. Aim to remove “if only”s from your life.
2. Think Long-Term
In building Amazon, Bezos had a long-term view. He wasn’t interested in quick profit. Instead, he had a vision of how the company would be and he pursued the vision. That’s why Amazon reinvested almost all of its profit back into the business.
Having a long-term view also means anticipating future needs. This is evident in how Amazon entered the cloud computing business. Cloud computing wasn’t popular back then, but Bezos anticipated that it would be popular, so Amazon built the business long before its competitors did. Now the cloud computing business provides a significant revenue for Amazon.
What about you? What is your vision of how your life would be years from now?
3. Be Stubborn on Vision
Having a vision is one thing, but being consistent in pursuing it is another thing. On this, Bezos said that “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”
You need to be stubborn on your vision. Have the determination to pursue your vision and not get sidetracked. There are many short-term opportunities along the way, but you should ignore them and keep pursuing your vision. You need to have grit: perseverance and passion for long-term goals.
4. Be Flexible on Details
While you should be stubborn on vision, you should be flexible on details. It means that you shouldn’t insist on a certain way to achieve your vision. Instead, if something doesn’t work, be open to trying something else. Don’t be so attached to something that you don’t want to leave it. Beware of sunk cost trap.
To be flexible, you need to have the experiment mindset. Be willing to try new things even if they may end up in failures. In Amazon’s case, they had failures such as the Fire Phone. But that’s how they found the ways that work.
Try new things in your life. Have side projects. Experience failures. Without experimenting, you won’t find the best way to reach your vision.
6. Be Obsessed with Creating Value
Amazon’s vision was to become the Earth’s most customer-centric company. Accordingly, it worked hard to create as much as value as possible for customers. It resulted in innovations such as Amazon Prime.
Similarly, you should be obsessed with creating value in your life. Your success is just a byproduct of helping others succeed. The more you help others succeed, the more successful you will be.
These lessons are easier said than done, but applying them will move you to the next level in life. You will be on your way to reaching your full potential.