I was reading a biography about Jeff Bezos, the founder of amazon.com. He was asked how he decided to start amazon rather than stay at his high paying Wall Street job.
He pondered the decision for a long time, then developed a system, the “Regret Minimization Framework – RMF” (a phrase only an engineer could love) to help him weigh the alternatives.
Jeff imagined himself at 80 years old … looking back on his life, and asking himself how he could minimize the regrets in his life.
He said that he probably wouldn’t have remembered leaving a high paying job, and perhaps a midyear bonus… but he would have regretted not starting an internet company. His decision to start Amazon became an easy one to make.
I’ve since used the RMF many times. It’s an elegant way to help you decide what’s important in your life, and how to decide thorny issues.
I was delighted to realize that I had very few regrets in my life, though a fair number of things I would have done differently.
After reflection, I realized that I would have regretted not travelling more… and within a few days started making plans to visit Italy and travel to Australia and New Zealand. A few years later strolled the beautiful city of Venice with my niece Melanie.
We’ve since climbed atop the Sydney Harbor Bridge one evening on my birthday, rode the London Eye and strolled the Tower Bridge on another, smoked cuban cigars in San Miguel one time, and had a surprise visit from nieces Melanie & Lauren in Miami on my 60th.
So please ask yourself is “what have I put off doing, actions I have put off taking, trips I’ve delayed, books I’ve not read, people I’ve not forgiven…. ” and take your own steps to change your life.
Several years ago I had planned a trip back East to visit friends and family. I told my clients we’d be out of the office, referred them to an other agent in my office, and was easily reachable by email and cell phone.
One of them said that they really need to buy a house right away and were going to work with another agent. We wished them luck in their purchase.
Carol and I travelled to Boston on the inaugural Oakland – Boston Jet Blue flight.
We took our niece Melanie (same one we visited the next year in Venice) and a dozen of her Boston University friends out to dinner, and had the opportunity to give them sage advice. When I was in college I’d worked very hard and graduated first in my Chemical Engineer class. My advice to them…. don’t work as hard and screw around more
The next day we took Amtrak to Providence RI to visit my CyberProfessional friends. That was the trip where learned about the very cool ScanSnap Scanner from my friend Sharon Simms.
Next stop – New York City where we had dinner at the Rainbow Room, saw The Producers on Broadway, and took my mom out to lunch on Mother’s Day in Little Italy in The Bronx.
It was the last time I ever saw my mother.