There will come a time decades in the future when you reflect upon your life’s story – you should be able to tell a story that makes you proud. Your life is what you (and only you) make of it.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, titled a speech at Princeton University ‘We are What we Choose’. Having gone through many ups and downs in his career, he is passionate about offering advice to others helping them live to their full potential. During this speech in 2010, he asked the following 11 questions to the audience in hopes that the next day they would kick start a meaningful life.
How will you use your gifts?
We are all talented in our own way, but how can these talents do good for the world? If you have a gift of playing an instrument, allow your music to uplift and energise others. If you wear your heart on your sleeve, you’ll be surprised how many people in need you can save.
Will inertia be your guide or will you follow your passions?
As Will Rogers quoted, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.” We were all designed to move both physically and mentally, so don’t expect things to happen by doing nothing. Action equals results.
Will you follow dogma or will you be original?
Be bold, be unique, stand out from the crowd! All growth comes from outside of your comfort zone so don’t be afraid to step out and get creative.
Will you chose a life of ease or a life of service and adventure?
Will you be proud of yourself if you take the easy way out? Exactly. Adventure brings excitement and who doesn’t love that? Marian Wright Edelmen, an American Activist couldn’t have said this any better, “Service is the very purpose of life, it is the rent we pay to live on this planet.”
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
It is up to you who you allow to criticise you. And at the end of the day, no one knows you and your ideas better than yourself. Be fearless and listen to your intuition.
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologise?
We all make mistakes so there’s no point in denying fault. Take every mistake as a lesson because accepting fault will help you grow.
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
As Brene Brown preaches, be vulnerable – it is the most courageous thing you can do that will bring compassion, love, and happiness to your life.
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
Chances are that if you and your peers are nervous about you doing something ‘unsafe’, then you are onto something good or else there would be no feelings at all.
When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Never ever give up – any successful person will tell you that. Be persistent and build your mental toughness. Rejection and failure may be hard, but sulking and giving up will just kill a dream.
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Cynics are negative nellies who knock things down so be a builder and lift things up.
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
With kindness, one can kill evil. Enough said.