Jeff Bezos, CEO of online colossus Amazon.com is stepping down from daily responsibilities at the company and assuming the role of Executive Chairman. His reason for stepping down, at age of 57, is to pursue his other passions.
“I’ll do hobbies. I’ll see movies. I’m talking about work. I’m not going to work on something that I don’t think is improving civilization. I think The Washington Post does that, I think Amazon does that, and I think Blue Origin [his space exploration company] does that. And I’m not going to put productive energy into anything that doesn’t improve civilization. Why would I? What would I be trying to do?”
What does the man who has everything want? More time. Time to pursue his varied interests. Time to think about how he can improve civilization. Time to recognize that we all have “productive energy” and need to reflect on how we might best put it to use.
We can all take a page from Bezos on our journey through life. He shows us how to take the idea of stopping to smell the roses to a higher level. Our time on Earth is finite. How many of us live our lives as though tomorrow is a given? Are we putting our “productive energy” toward building our net worth at the expense of spending time with the people, causes, or interests that are just as important to us?
The advertising industry is geared toward telling us how to spend our money. There is no alternative industry that tells us how we should spend our time; or take a deep dive into how we can contribute to positive change in our community or the greater world.
We are all like Jeff Bezos in the sense that from time to time we need to take inventory of our “productive energy.” We need to regularly build in time for self-reflection. Don’t wait until an illness strikes, or you retire to envision the most productive use of your time. Make time this week to spend a quiet half-hour reflecting on the life that is most meaningful to you.