If everyone in the world was rational then no one would ever leave the security of their day job to try to go out and start something as risky and uncertain as a business.
And unfortunately, it’s this reality rational that people have that makes certain decision, such as whether I should quit my job to pursue my passion or not, difficult for many individuals.
In the book “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” the author Brad Stone explains how Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, would make important life decisions like this one.
Before starting the company Amazon, Bezos had unsurprisingly found success working in banking. The job Bezos had working at a firm paid well and it was stable.
But eventually, Bezos decided he wanted to quit his job to go try to build his own company instead. So, Bezos spoke to his boss and told him he planned on leaving the company to create an online book store.
Being an entrepreneur himself, the boss understood Bezos and sympathized with his desires to create his own thing. But the boss told Bezos that he already had a great job working at the firm and that he would have a lot to lose if his new business venture failed.
At the end of the conversation, Bezos said that he would spend the next few days thinking about it.
In order to decide what he should do, Bezos came up with what he calls the “regret-minimization framework,” which he explains in the book. Bezos says,
“I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and when I’m looking back at my life, I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have. I knew when I was 80 that I would never, for example, think about why I walked away from my 1994 Wall Street bonus right in the middle of the year at the worst possible time. That kind of thing just isn’t something you worry about when you’re eighty years old. At the same time, I knew that I might sincerely regret not having participated in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a revolutionizing event. When I thought about it that way… it was incredibly easy to make the decision.”
“Regret-minimization framework” is basically the idea of living life with no regrets.
When faced with any major decision, you can’t just try to decide what you should do based on logic and reasoning alone. Instead, you have to ask yourself, “Is this going to be something I’ll regret not doing later on in life?”
If only more people made decisions this way, then maybe there would be a lot more people who irrationally choose to pursue their dreams rather than rationally choosing security.