12 Questions From Jeff Bezos

April 17, 2019 in , Explaining Adam by Adam Dunlap

I recently read an article (linked below) where Jeff Bezos asked 12 questions. I didn’t quite understand the purpose of the questions. I couldn’t tell if they were actual questions or if they were phrased as more of a “challenge” or sorts, and I say that because the best answers were obvious for 9 of the 12 questions. Nonetheless, I felt like answering them, and I thought I’d post that here for future reference.

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/04/05/amazon-billionaire-ceo-jeff-bezos-ask-yourself-these-12-questions-to-live-a-long-happy-life.html

How will you use your gifts?

Hmm ambiguous question. This is something better answered in hindsight – “How did I use them?” However, hopefully I am put in a position where I CAN use them because I have many, and so far I have not felt that I have been in a position where I can. If I don’t get to where I feel my skills are leveraged in ways that merit them, then I’ll use them in the small ways I am given to to create joy, inspiration, and memories for the small few who cross my path.

What choices will you make?

 I will make well thought out choices. Choices based in the long-term vision. Choices made with integrity. Choices made with the input of others who are wiser and have different perspectives and opinions than me. This is what I have always done, and it seems to be the wisest way, so I will continue as such for the majority.

 Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?

I can’t do something that I’m not passionate about. But I’m also smart enough to NOT ignore inertia. So it’s gotta be both. Hopefully they line up so that my passion builds up and the inertia is there supporting it. If this does not happen, then passion will win out.

Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?

Original. Always. A friend said the other day, “You know, it’s like Adam tries to be different on purpose,” and I thought about that and realized, “Yup, that’s pretty true lol.” I have to be original. In my quest to do so, I even go so far as to make choices different from what I sometimes want just so I won’t be accused of being like others. That said, at the core, I’m pretty original as it is, so I don’t think this will be much of a choice. Being original is simply who I am and how others (and myself) view me.

Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

I don’t see these as mutually exclusive. If we are living in our passion, then what comes it what comes, and in that way life is easy. However, that said, I like adventure. I like plunging into the unknown WHEN I have conviction and vision. Then the unknown feels known because I can see the outcome. However, I don’t see this as a choice. I will not choose a life – it will be presented and I will walk through the doors that makes sense as outlined in the other questions answered here.

Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?

I rise to the occasions. It’s part of who I am, and how I seem to operate. If the choice is ambiguous then my convictions will guide me. I am getting very adept at trusting and following my gut.

Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?

Always apologize. Reset and learn. Humility is the key to long term growth and success.

Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?

Act. Always. I do not fear rejection. I fear not acting and not knowing.

Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

Define swashbuckling – engage in daring and romantic adventures with ostentatious bravado or flamboyance.

Oh I’m definitely the latter. Definitely swashbuckling. In comparison between the two, I don’t play it safe, but I am smart enough to be cautious which I traditionally am anyway, so there is a solid balance there.

When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?

I’m tough, but I’m not relentless. I can be broken, and I have been. If things don’t go the right way for long enough then sometimes I see that as a sign that I need to try something new. That’s when it’s time to move on. If that’s what people call “giving up” then that’s fine. Call it what you like, I don’t see it that way. When I have conviction and when there is a mission and progress, I am naturally relentless until the tipping point comes where all signs point towards taking a new path.

Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?

Define cynic : a person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting for honorable or unselfish reasons. A person who questions whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile.

I am always building. Always creating. I am not cynical. I understand people and I understand how things work and change and grow. If it’s worthwhile to me, then it’s worthwhile. The challenge comes when I don’t have a vision or I don’t see progress.  That’s when I question whether what I am doing is worthwhile or now.

Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

Kindness is the key. I like to be clever but not at the expense of others.