And will you take pride in your gifts or pride in yourchoices?
I got the idea to start Amazon 16 years ago.
I came across the fact that Web usage was growingat 2,300 percent per year.
I'd never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast,
and the idea of building an online bookstore with millions of titles,something that simply couldn'texist in the physical world,was very exciting to me.
I had just turned 30 years old, and I'd been married for a year.
I told my wife MacKenzie that I wanted to quit my job and go do this crazy thing that probablywouldn't work since most startups don't,
and I wasn't sure what would happen after that.
MacKenzie ，also a Princeton grad and sitting here in the second row)，told me I should go forit.
As a young boy, I'd been a garage inventor.
I'd invented an automatic gate closer out of cement-filled tires, a solar cooker that didn't workvery well out of an umbrella and tinfoil, baking-pan alarms to entrap my siblings.
I'd always wanted to be an inventor, and she wanted me to follow my passion.
I was working at a financial firm in New York City with a bunch of very smart people,
and I had a brilliant boss that I much admired.
I went to my boss and told him I wanted to start a company selling books on the Internet.
He took me on a long walk in Central Park, listened carefully to me,
and finally said, "That sounds like a really good idea, but it would be an even better idea forsomeone who didn't already have a good job."
That logic made some sense to me,and he convinced me to think about it for 48 hours beforemaking a final decision.
Seen in that light, it really was a difficult choice, but ultimately, I decided I had to give it a shot.
I didn't think I'd regret trying and failing.
And I suspected I would always be haunted by a decision to not try at all.
After much consideration, I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I'm proud ofthat choice.
Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life -the life you author from scratch on your own -begins.
How will you use your gifts?
What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you're wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it's tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
I will hazard a prediction.
When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself themost personal version of your life story,
the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you havemade.
In the end, we are our choices.Build youself a great story.
Thank you and good luck!