As Bezos explained onstage in November at the 2018 First Inspire Gala in New York City, you can be happy about being good-looking or being talented at math, but these traits you've been born with shouldn't boost your self-worth. What you should be proud of, instead, is your work -- which is something that you choose to do.
Here's how Bezos sees it: When you apply yourself, you can make the most of your talents and set yourself apart. Yes, you might have a leg up if you have a gift or a talent, but it's up to you to work hard and leverage that gift. When you work sufficiently hard, chances are that it'll lead to your success -- and that's something you can be proud of.
Bezos also encourages his children -- and other young people starting out in their careers -- to choose a field that they love. The rationale behind this? If you pursue your passion, you'll get to work with like-minded people whom you're excited and energized by. When that's the case, it makes it that much easier for you to "make that choice to work hard."
Like Bezos, I'm a huge advocate for the idea that you should be proud of your choices and work. I get it, though. When you start to experience that first bit of success, it's easy to deceive yourself into thinking that you know everything. That you don't need to work harder anymore.
If you're struggling with this, don't give into the temptation and start letting things slide. Instead, double down and work even harder.
Personally, my strengths are in marketing and sales, but I know that being overconfident here would cause my business to suffer. There's no way around it: I have plenty of competitors, and I need to be at the top of my game if I want to beat them and grow my business profitably.
That's why I've been taking courses, listening to podcast and audiobooks, and participating in marketing conferences, ever since I started my business. And even though I've successfully grown my company into a 250-plus people business, I still do all these things today. In fact, now that I have more cash flow, I go one step further and hire business coaches to push me to the next level.
The bottom line: Your work is never done.
As an entrepreneur, there's no day where you can sit back and say "my work here is done" -- simple as that. Remember: Our talents can give us a head start, but ultimately, it's our choices that influence our success. So choose to persevere, and keep working hard.