Jeff Bezos: You can have a job or a career, but if you have this you've 'hit the jackpot'

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, is developing the New Shepard rocket for space tourism.
Blue Origin

Amazon may have catapulted Jeff Bezos to a $131 billion net worth and made him the richest person alive. But in a recent forum on leadership, the billionaire says that the most important work he's doing now is actually with Blue Origin, his space company.

"You don't choose your passions, your passions choose you," he says of his commitment to space exploration. "All of us are gifted with certain passions, and the people who are lucky are the ones who get to follow those things."

In fact, he says, identifying your passion is central to the career advice he gives his interns, young employees, and four children: "You can have a job, or you can have a career, or you can have a calling," he says. "And if you can somehow figure out how to have a calling, you have hit the jackpot, cause that's the big deal."

According to the billionaire, most people never realize their true calling. In fact, many are lucky to have a career, while most just end up with a job.

Bezos explains that for him, space travel has always been his calling. As a 5-year-old child he was interested in rockets, space travel and propulsion and says that through the years he has spent a "tremendous" amount of time thinking about space.

He notes that while many people want to establish a civilization elsewhere in the solar system as a backup for when the Earth is destroyed, he finds that argument to be "incredibly unmotivating."

"We have now sent robotic probes to every planet," says Bezos. "Believe me, this is the best one."

The billionaire's reasoning is that civilization will eventually need unlimited resources, like energy, to support the rapidly growing human race. "The solar system could easily support a trillion humans," he says. "If you had a trillion humans, then you'd have a thousand Mozarts and a thousand Einsteins."

Bezos adds that this would be an "incredible" civilization for future generations to live in, and this vision is one that he wants to be part of. "It's not like I really have a choice to follow this passion," says the billionaire. "It has captured me."

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