Jeff Bezos says this exercise convinced him to quit his Wall Street job and launch Amazon


Leaving a comfortable job on Wall Street to launch an unpredictable business is a risk many would be scared to take — but it was that risk that allowed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become a billionaire.

At Summit Series in Los Angles, Bezos sat down with his brother Mark to talk about his journey to entrepreneurship and the factors that influenced his success. 

In 1994, Bezos was working as a software engineer on Wall Street. According to TechCrunch, Bezos told his boss that he wanted to launch an Internet book store. His boss agreed it was a good idea, but warned him that "it was a better idea for someone who didn't have a good job."

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Bezos took a few days to consider that advice and tried a mental exercise. He said he realized "the best way to think about it was to project my life forward to age 80." 

That way, he could make a decision that "minimized [his] regrets." Bezos said it became obvious that he should leave his job to start Amazon. 

"If it failed, I would be very proud when I was 80 that I tried," he says, according to TechCrunch.

When Amazon first launched in 1994, the , and Bezos would drive packages to the post office in his 1987 Chevy Blazer. The company expanded to offer music and videos, and finally Bezos asked his customers what else they wanted to buy from the online retailer.

Today, Amazon sells everything from electronics to household goods and furniture. That wouldn't be possible if Bezos hadn't taken that leap more than 20 years ago.  

"After much consideration, I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I'm proud of that choice," he said in a 2010 baccalaureate address at Princeton

You can either choose a life of "ease and comfort," Bezos told his brother during the Summit Series interview, or a life of "service and adventure."

"When you're 80," he said, "you'll be proud of the latter." 

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