Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, surpassed Bill Gates in October 2017 to become the richest person in the world, according to Business Insider. Bezos regained this title which he'd claimed once before last July when his net worth also hit an all-time high of roughly $90.6 billion, and Gates trailed behind at a net worth of about $500 million less. Black Friday sales even helped Amazon shares to jump more than two percent and online holiday sales to increase by more than 18 percent since last year, Bloomberg reported. Bezos rose another $2.4 billion, which gave him the final push to reach a 12-figure net worth. That's a lot of money.
Bezoz was born to a 16-year-old mother, Jackie. She gave birth to Bezos in January 1964. She had also recently married Cuban immigrant Mike Bezoz, who adopted the Bezos we all know. Bezos didn't learn that Mike wasn't his biological father until he was about 10 years old, but it didn't seem to faze him, according to Business Insider. Nothing stopped him throughout his childhood to become who he is today. Heck, even as a kid, he was a genius. When he was a toddler, he allegedly took apart his crib with a screwdriver... because he wanted to sleep in a real bed. During the ages of four to 16, he spent summers on his grandparents' ranch in Texas, where he worked by repairing windmills and castrating bulls.
Fast forward to today, he's the world’s first 12-digit man, on top of already being the richest man. He's an undisputed leader and founder of an e-commerce site and online retailer that rakes in a lot of money — and not just for him.
Bezos has been giving away Amazon shares worth about $500 million every year since the year 2002, according to NBC News. If you invested $1,000 in Amazon in 2002 and kept your shares, guess how much your choice would have gained? Eighty-three times more than the amount of your investment: $83,000. Anyone else think we need better financial literacy education in college? Why not give students the choice to use a fragment of their required study cost to purchase company stocks? The e-commerce giant would have been a great example for college students.
Bezos believes that our choices define us and, clearly, he has made some wise choices as the founder and CEO of Amazon and now a world billionaire. Here are six things that you can copy from the e-commerce executive today for a better you and, hopefully, more pennies tomorrow. Maybe you'll even be on your way to becoming one of the world's richest people and a leader, too.
1. Manage your energy, not your time.
Time management is not where it’s at in 2018. To be fair, it never really was the ultimate solution. We just gravitated toward that; maybe it’s our human herd mentality. Bezos believes it’s not just about what you do with your time but whether you have enough energy and gusto to get stuff done. That’s why you can sit down with enough time to get a task done and still not complete it. When we feel energetic, our brain has what it needs to achieve. Insufficient sleep, oxygen and even sunlight rob our energy levels. If you want to play big, you need energy to focus and manage emotions.
Babies need to sleep so much because their brains are on overload developing, taking everything in, learning new skills and practicing new habits. When something becomes a habit, our brains get to rest. Always being busy is the antithesis of rest. Take the first step and commit to managing and preserving your energy.
2. Get eight hours of quality sleep every night.
While a number of CEOs brag about four, five and six hours (I won’t name any names, but sadly, it’s a pretty long list), in an interview with Thrive Global, Bezos shared his sleep priority. He’s committed to getting eight hours every night because he believes that sleep is the best remedy for stress and burnout.
The thing is, though, it's not just about getting eight hours of sleep. We need quality sleep. Bezos wakes up naturally without an alarm clock. When you let your circadian rhythms wake you up naturally, you feel more alert because you were ready to stop sleeping. When you use an alarm clock, you’re likely to feel groggy because you could have interrupted a deep stage of sleep. To get what Bezos has, make sleep your best friend, and then you will want to spend time with that friend.
3. Stop seeking work-life balance.
Bezos doesn’t really like the term "work-life balance." He told Thrive Global, "I prefer the word 'harmony' to the word 'balance' because balance tends to imply a strict tradeoff." I totally agree with him; step out, tweet, tell a friend, make it known that you’re not about work-life balance but, rather, work–life harmony. Don't just say it because the CEO of Amazon said it, but say it because you believe it, too.
Work-life harmony means being well rounded, not juggling and balancing the different roles in life but instead bringing everything together. When you experience work-life harmony, you can focus on what you want when the need arises, and you’re happy in both areas of life. Maybe that requires flexible working, using more vacation time, or moving onto an opportunity that truly aligns with what you love. We might pick a good, but not the best, choice from time to time, but at least we’re aiming for the right note and a harmonious sound.
4. Tell your loved ones how you feel.
Bezos tweets clearly show that he values his family. "I won the lottery with my mom. Thanks for literally everything, Mom." "And here’s me and my dad. I’m a very lucky son. I love you, Dad." "My parents rock."
Love to me is one of the strongest emotions that we are gifted with expressing. It’s good to appreciate something or someone, but when you take an action, you’re doing something beautifully indescribable for your mind and body. Speaking out your love and gratitude is a great way to destress, relax and prepare for sleep. It also helps manage energy and achieve work-life harmony.
5. Think forward.
Know anyone that would quit their Wall Street job to start a start-up company one year into their marriage? When you have courage, you have something beautiful because it’s the opposite of fear. Bezos’ decisions were driven by the desires for his future life. In his 2010 commencement speech at Princeton University, he said this: "When you are 80 years old, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices."
Life works best when it’s designed. That’s not to say that the element of the unknown isn’t good for us, but if you want to continue being the boss, then you need a solid strategy. When you look back at your life, for what do you want to be known?
6. Be resourceful.
Being intelligent is good, but being resourceful is innovative. Whether you have the desired resources, career or situation, solve problems and find a way to achieve your goals with what you have. Bezos spent 12 summers during the ages of four to 16 on a secluded farm with his grandfather, Pop. Pop modeled creativity and independence making his needles and taking up the role of a veterinary by suturing cattle.
Bezos swears by resourcefulness so much that he said "I’d much rather have a kid with nine fingers than a resourceless kid," according to Business Insider. Those are serious words, and that’s not all. He chose his wife because she was truly resourceful.
So which billionaire habit do you want to work on today? Jeff Bezos is a model example of a leader, and the way he lives his life is equal parts practical and far reaching. You need to set realistic goals, but you also need to get out there and make moves that no one else is willing to or thinks to make. That's how you get ahead, while keeping the aforementioned tips in mind.
You’ve already made the choice to learn and "we are our choices." But also take this a step further. After all our individuality and success demand uniqueness.
Rachel Montañez created the ‘Career Raise’ program because of the life-changing outcomes her clients have received since 2010 through her work as an award-winning career coach. Rachel also uses the unique skills learned in her career guidance graduate degree to empower with her signature talk ‘Bezos Your Career.’ She’s the founder of Sleep 10:2, a comprehensive career coaching organization.