Jeff Bezos is father of 4 kids through his ex- wife MacKenzie of which three are sons and one is an adopted girl from China. Interestingly, Jeff was adopted himself at a young age by his stepfather, Cuban immigrant Miguel “Mike” Bezos, an engineer at Exxon.
Jeff Bezos son, the oldest one is named Preston and studies at Princeton.
In raising his kids, he gives them the same advice he’d give any young person: Be proud of your choices, not your talents.
Bezos has been vocal about this very advice many times. Here is what he stated at an awards show in Seattle in 2016.
Take pride in your choices, not your gifts. … This is something that’s super-important for young people to understand, and for parents to preach to young people.
It’s really easy for a talented young person to take pride in their gifts: “I’m really athletic,” or “I’m really smart,” or “I’m really good at math. That’s fine. You should celebrate your gifts. You should be happy. But you can’t be proud of them … What you can be proud of is your choices.
How did you decide to use your gifts? Did you study hard? Did you work hard? Did you practice? The people who excel combine gifts and hard work, and the hard work part is a choice. You get to decide that. And that is something that when you’re looking back on your life, you will be very proud of.
At the first instand it does come across as a cliche that hard work pays off.
But if you re read it few times you understand the message it delivers to us parents.
In other words, really pushing your kids and motivating them to pour their heart and soul into whatever it is they are doing, and then praising that effort.
Some affirmations that parents can give to their kids can be:
“I loved seeing you really work hard in your game today”
“That was an amazing effort today at the school competition, Bravo”
See the difference in focus of the above message?
A study also points out that that praising kids’ gifts as opposed to their effort can actually lead to less effort, because children can develop a fear of failing. That encourages a fixed mindset over time, as opposed to a growth mindset.
We often hear from parents that while growing up thier parents rarely said any encouraging words about the effort shown. The same traits naturally pass on to us as we only focu son the gifts and the result.
Its a conscious choice to change ones behavior and encourage kids to put in their best effort, regardless of what they are doing.
Bezos also advised youngsters to follow their passion and that’s an easier way to find success. He states
“You’ll get to work with like-minded people and you’re going to energize the room,” he added. “If you’re doing something you love, the day is going to be so fun.” And if you change your mind about your passion, that’s okay, too.
The business mogul admitted that he was wrong about his first passion.
“I thought I wanted to be a scientist when I went to Princeton,” said Bezos. “I thought I wanted to be a physicist and halfway through, I figured out I wasn’t smart enough to be a physicist.”
Here is also a video stating his larger though process on passion and choices and how they determine where you end up