Leadership

Amazon's Jeff Bezos to his kids: Be proud of your choices, not your talents  

CEO of Amazon.com Jeff Bezos and family attend the premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Star Trek Beyond' at Embarcadero Marina Park South on July 20, 2016 in San Diego, California.
Todd Williamson | Getty Images
CEO of Amazon.com Jeff Bezos and family attend the premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Star Trek Beyond' at Embarcadero Marina Park South on July 20, 2016 in San Diego, California.

Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world and the founder and CEO of Amazon. He's also a father with four children. In raising his kids, he gives them the same advice he'd give any young person: Be proud of your choices, not your talents.

You can be happy about being handsome or being good at math, he said recently at a New York gala for FIRST, a global nonprofit. But the innate traits you've been born with shouldn't boost your sense of self-worth.

Your work, however, is something you can be proud of. "That's a choice," he said. "When you do that well, it will lead to your success."

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (L) sits with writer Walter Isaacson onstage at the 2018 FIRST Inspire Gala.
Adriana Groisman | FIRST  
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (L) sits with writer Walter Isaacson onstage at the 2018 FIRST Inspire Gala.

By applying yourself, you can make the most of your talents and really set yourself apart.

"When you have a gift and then you work hard, you're really going to leverage that gift," said Bezos.

To that end, he urges his children and everyone starting out in their careers to pursue their passions because that will make it easier to succeed. "That's going to make it easier for you to make that choice to work hard," said Bezos.

"You'll get to work with like-minded people and you're going to energize the room," he added. "If you're doing something you love, the day is going to be so fun."

And if you change your mind about your passion, that's okay, too. The business mogul admitted that he was wrong about his first passion.

"I thought I wanted to be a scientist when I went to Princeton," said Bezos. "I thought I wanted to be a physicist and halfway through, I figured out I wasn't smart enough to be a physicist."

Those changes only helped him get closer to his passion. "You've gotta figure out what you love," said Bezos. "And it's going to bring you great joy."

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