Leadership

The crucial mindset Jeff Bezos says you should have if you want to be successful

Amazon CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos knows what it takes to be successful.

Bezos says the key mindset is thinking long-term, which requires patience. He says he's used this approach repeatedly at Amazon.

"What we're really focused on is thinking long-term, putting the customer at the center of our universe and inventing," Bezos says in an interview with Four Peaks TV. "Those are the three big ideas to think long-term because a lot of invention doesn't work."

When you're first creating something, whether it's a new business or a product, you have to invent, says Bezos. "If you're going to invent, it means you're going to experiment, and you'll have to think long-term," he adds.

It can admittedly be difficult to think long-term and stay the course without panicking when things don't go your way. Bezos offers this advice: Be straightforward and clear about how you're going to operate and what you want to get done from the beginning.

Bezos says you should also stick to your guns. "[At Amazon] we don't even take a position on whether our way is the right way," he says, "we just claim it's our way."

80421723
David Ryder | Getty Images

Most importantly, says the billionaire, don't kid yourself. "[Warren Buffett] says you can hold a ballet and that can be successful. And you can hold a rock concert and that can be successful. Just don't hold a ballet and advertise it as a rock concert."

Bezos adds that you must be clear not only with yourself, but also with those around you. That way, he says, they can "self-select in."

Bezos emphasizes the importance of looking ahead but also realizing that everything takes time. The billionaire says that when a new business reaches a milestone at Amazon, no matter how small, there are congratulatory messages sent to the company's employees.

"Big things start small. The biggest oak starts from an acorn," says Bezos. "You've got to be willing to let that acorn grow into a little sapling, and then finally into a small tree and then maybe one day it'll be a big business on its own."

Bezos explains that his motto is gradatim ferociter, which is Latin for "step-by-step courageously."

"You can't skip steps. You have to put one foot in front of the other. Things take time. There are no shortcuts," he says. "But you want to do those steps with passion and ferocity."

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook

See also:

A top Amazon recruiter reveals her No. 1 tip for more successful job interviews

Billionaires Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates say they work best after a full night's rest

Billionaire Jeff Bezos says being smart isn't enough—you also need this to be successful