“We can afford to do things that fail, but we can’t afford to do things that if they succeed, they’re small.” - Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos talks about how there are pillars that serve as the foundation for Amazon’s business model.
These include Amazon Prime, Amazon Web Services, and Amazon’s third-party marketplace.
In interviews, Bezos often mentions how long-term thinking was the basis behind many of his decisions. He wanted to bet on things that would not change. People will always want faster shipping times and lower prices, for example.
Amazon’s diversification and focus on the future have made it the most valuable public company in the world.
It makes me wonder how we Bezos’ thinking might translate into our own lives.
What are the pillars on which you build your life?
These could be the hobbies, interests, relationships, jobs, etc. that shape who you are as a person.
The stronger these pillars are, the more stable our foundation will be. And the more diverse these pillars are, the higher the probability is that they would not all crumble together in the face of challenges.
So for a concrete example, think about it like this:
You enjoy writing, podcasting, producing music, cooking, and coding.
Some of these things are hobbies or interests, and others you use in your career.
But these shape your identity. So I think it’s important to define your pillars, and then invest the time and energy to make sure they are strong.
Instead of trying to do everything, focus on these pillars. Take the classes, find the mentors, put in the work.
Be honest with yourself about what you’re good at and what you want to do.
You can take chances on things. You can do things for fun. But if you want to achieve some level of success in certain areas, then define those areas and build your life around them.
Because it’s when your skills get results that you feel proud and confident. So say you have those interests (writing, podcasting, producing music, cooking, and coding). Maybe you get fired from your job as a writer, but you can pivot to a career in coding because that was something you were investing time in on the side.
The general point is that life inevitably has its ups and downs. But the stronger and more diverse our pillars are, the more stable our lives will be.
You have to find that balance between pursuing many things and too few things (diversity). And you have to find the balance between investing some time and not enough time (strength).
So first take inventory: define the pillars in your life. Then strengthen and diversify your pillars to ensure a stable and successful future.