The Bezos Regret Minimization Framework

Using the Bezos Regret Minimization Framework will help you make better decisions in your job, business, and relationships.

Even before he created Amazon, Jeff Bezos was successful. After graduating from Princeton, Bezos worked at D E Shaw, where he earned a lot of money in the process.

As a result, he was forced to reconsider his choice to leave his well-paying job in finance to pursue his insane ambition of starting an internet store selling everything. It’s hard to tell if he made the right decision to leave a well-paying, stable job for a risky venture into entrepreneurship.

Even if Bezos’s plan was sound, his boss told him after a two-hour stroll through Central Park that he had a lot to lose. “He convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision,” Bezos says. “So, I went away and was trying to find the right framework in which to make that kind of big decision.”

His wife assured him that she would be there for him no matter what he choose, therefore she couldn’t be the determining factor in his decision. For Bezos, “regret minimization” was the guiding principle

The Regret Minimization Framework is simple. When you’re considering whether or not to do anything, you ask yourself a set of questions.

Look at the future.
Ruminate & evaluate the decision.
Ask “Will I regret not doing this?”
Then act.
If the answer is no, well then it’s probably not worth doing.
But if the answer is yes, or even “maybe,” then that’s the answer.

For Bezos, the dilemma was whether or not to quit his job as a hedge fund manager to start Amazon. He could stay at D E Shaw and make a lot of money, but he would always wonder what that business could have been.

So, he minimized his regrets. Bezos quit his job, founded Amazon. The rest is history.

An effective framework for making decisions is essential when faced with a difficult choice. Procrastination, on the other hand, is the norm. Alternatively, they put off making a choice (which ironically is a decision in itself). Neither direction is going to help move the ball ahead. But don’t forget: making decisions is a skill. It’s a skill that can only be honed with repetition and experience.

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