Amazon CEO Shares The 'Embarrassing' Secret To Success In Your 20s

Finding success is easier than you think, according to Andy Jassy.

Andy Jassy DFree / Shutterstock

During an interview that could have easily been titled “2 CEOs Praise Each Other For Being Increasingly Out-Of-Touch,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy spoke with LinkedIn CEO Ryan Rolansky about his career trajectory and how he arrived where he is today.

The Amazon CEO shared the ‘embarrassing’ secret to gaining success in your 20s.

Jassy believes that the most important aspect in determining a person’s success is whether or not they have a positive outlook.


“An embarrassing amount of how well you do, particularly in your twenties, has to do with attitude,” he said.

Jassy posted his interview with Rolansky on LinkedIn, noting that their discussion of his “very lucky career path” highlighted what he viewed as important information for young people to consider when entering the workforce.

He stated that he thinks his path has been “A good example of not having to know at age 18 to 22, in my case, maybe all the way to age 40, exactly what you’re going to do professionally.”

@fortune Amazon CEO Andy Jassy says Jeff Bezos is the most “unusual business leader of our era,” after working with him for 20 years##amazon##jeffbezos##andyjassy##leadership##amazonprime##bezos##success##inflation##omicron##ceo ♬ original sound - Fortune Magazine

RELATED: 4 Signs Your Boss Leads With Toxic Positivity — And Avoids Real Problems


“I see so many young people today who think they must know what their calling is,” he continued. “If so, great. But, it’s not the only path.”

“Along the way, you’ll keep picking things up if you let yourself,” Jassy said. “You’ll wind your way around something that you’re really good at.”

As a CEO wielding extreme influence and major wealth, the fact that Jassy felt comfortable telling young people it’s okay not to have a dedicated career path shows just how far from reality he exists.

female factory worker holding hardhat metamorworks / Shutterstock


Gen Zers who are graduating college and entering the workforce don’t have the same luxuries Jassy had when he was young.

Current generations are trying to find their professional footing amidst huge economic and sociopolitical upheaval.

Telling young people to smile and manifest positivity is a demeaning and disconnected way to model finding success.

By claiming that a positive attitude is the best way to find success, the Amazon CEO overlooked other things, like privilege, access, and inherited wealth, that inevitably guide someone's life journey.

Gen Z woman working on laptop Drazen_ / Canva Pro


RELATED: Gen Z Worker Says His Goal Is To ‘Descend The Corporate Ladder’ To Avoid Spending His Salary On Therapy Due To Job Stress

Jassy got his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and earned an MBA from — wait for it — Harvard Business School. He joined Amazon in 1997, long before the tech bubble burst. By 2006, he became the head of Amazon’s cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services.

Jassy is an example of someone whose success depended on his intelligence and drive, but mostly, being in the right place at the right time.

Jeff Bezos stepped down as the CEO of Amazon in 2021 with a net worth of $177 billion, and he’s now worth $194 billion. Upon being named Bezos’ successor, Jassy received a 10-year pay package that totaled $212.7 million.


For all of Jassy's personal success, other Amazon employees haven't been so lucky.

Amazon fired over 100 customer service managers two weeks after posting strong first-quarter results, showing more than $143 billion in revenue and $10 billion in profit.

The Amazon CEO told the LinkedIn CEO that “there’s so many things that you can’t control in your work life, but you can control your attitude.”


Jassy explained another benefit of having a positive attitude: “You pick up advocates and mentors much more quickly. People want those people to succeed — and it’s very controllable.”

two workers shaking hands fizkes / Shutterstock

In addition to happy-go-lucky vibes, Jassy described other traits that create success, including having follow-through, committing to action, and staying curious.


“The biggest difference between the people I started with in my early stages of my career and what they’re doing now has to do with how great they were at learning,” Jassy said, noting that “The second you think you know it all is the second you’re really starting to unwind.”

The value of continuing to learn can’t be overstated, yet finding a position that allows you to do so is often a luxury that people who are fighting to survive literally can’t afford. 

RELATED: Gen-Z Worker Quits Her Well-Paying Corporate Job With No Backup Plan — ‘This Is Not The Life I Want’

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.