When All Is Said and Done, What Will You Regret?

I listened to an old interview of Jeff Bezos explaining why he decided to leave his stable job to start Amazon. Not just any job—a high-paying job at an investment banking firm on Wall Street. It was a tough decision that he ultimately made using what he described as a regret-minimization framework.

He projected himself into the future to age 80. He wanted to minimize the number of regrets he would have as he looked back on his life. An important part of his thought process was identifying the things he’d regret not trying, even if he failed. Starting Amazon was one of them—even if it meant giving up his stable lifestyle.

I’m a huge fan of starting with the end in mind and working backward. I haven’t used a regret-minimization framework, but I’ve thought about what I want people to remember me for when I’m long gone and used that as a compass when making decisions.

For those fortunate enough to be able to consider only regret, I think it could be a good way to evaluate big decisions.