Published: June 2010
In the end, we are our choices
Circulated: July 2, 2020
Jeff Bezos delivered the graduation speech to Princeton University’s Class of 2010. Bezos graduated from Princeton in 1986 with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering.
Highlights from his 13-minute speech:
Bezos got the idea to start Amazon when he came across the fact that Web usage was growing at 2,300% per year. He had never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast.
It is harder to be kind than clever. Cleverness is a gift while being kind to others is a choice.
- Gifts are easy; they’re given after all. Choices are hard.
- One’s character is reflected not in the gifts one is endowed with at birth (e.g., intelligence, creativity) but rather by the choices one makes over the course of a lifetime.
When you are 80 years old and in a quiet moment of reflection, narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you’ve made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.