10 Inspiring Lessons from Steve Jobs
״The only thing you have in your life is time. If you invest that time in yourself to have great experiences that are going to enrich you, then you can’t possibly lose.”
Steve Jobs is a legend in the truest sense of the word – an inspiration to people all around the world.
Given up for adoption as a baby, dropping out of college in his first year, a rebel-hippie-genius who
in the eighties started a computer hardware company with a friend in his garage and turned it into a
super-successful start-up. Years later, after being fired from Apple, he’s rehired (when it’s almost
bankrupt), then turns it into what is today the most valuable company on the planet, with some of
the world’s most iconic products (iPhone, iPod, iTunes, iPad, Macbook, and more).
His untimely death in 2011 was mourned by the world. But his words live on and continue to inspire
millions. Here are ten inspiring lessons based on some of his quotes:
1. Find and Do What You Love
Probably the number one thing we can learn from Steve Jobs is to find and do what we love. Doing what you love makes life and “work” so much easier. Wherever possible, aim for this.
“People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing and it’s totally true. And the reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It’s really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, you don’t really love it, you’re going to give up.”
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.”
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
“If today were the last of your life, would you do what you were going to do today?”
2. Think Different. Think Beyond the Norm.
There may be a lot more to life than what you think. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, to live a different life, to do something different. Don’t be afraid to be a bit of a rebel.
“When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader than that.”
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
You have to take risks in life. It’s unavoidable. As part of this, the fear may creep in from time to time that your next step, your next action, might fail. Don’t give into the fear. Don’t be afraid to fail.
“You gotta act. And you’ve gotta be willing to fail, you gotta be ready to crash and burn, with people on the phone, with starting a company, with whatever. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”
4. Trust in Yourself
Only you really know what you want. And it’s only with a certain amount of confidence in yourself and your abilities that you’ll achieve what you want. You can listen to others, but in the end of the day, it’s up to you.
“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
“If you want it, you can fly, you just have to trust you a lot.”
5. Get a Great Team Around You
Doing big or wonderful things is very difficult without a great team. You need good people around you to help you get things done.
“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
6. Don’t Lose Faith in Others
Human beings are a tough bunch. Sometimes they can really treat you badly or just test your patience. But don’t let that ruin your affinity for humanity. There are many great and wonderful people out there. And only very few assholes and troublemakers. Don’t let the few bad apples ruin the whole bunch. Don’t lose faith in others. Stay positive and keep up your love of other people. In the end of the day, who do you think you’re living for? Just yourself?
“I’m an optimist in the sense that I believe humans are noble and honorable, and some of them are really smart. I have a very optimistic view of individuals.”
7. Own it and Move On
As human beings we have a tendency to want to be right all the time. But trying to be right and actually doing things that are right and that result in tangible results are often two very different things.
Forget about trying to be right. This is often just a way to try explain away your failures. Take responsibility for both your successes and your failures. Own it all. Regardless of anyone else’s actions, regardless of things you couldn’t control, you made a decision, you were there. Once you’ve owned your failures, move on. Choose your next goal. And make it happen.
“I don’t care about being right. I care about success and doing the right thing.”
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
8. Do Few Things Well – Eliminate and Focus
When we try do too many things we sometimes spread ourselves too thin and don’t achieve the required level of quality or the desired result. Instead of trying to do many things, get focused. Do one thing well. Then see how you can do the same with the next.
“We try to focus and do very few things well. And focusing is hard because focusing doesn’t mean saying yes, it means saying no. So we decide not to do a lot of things so we can focus on a handful of things and do them well.”
“I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.”
9. Create the Future
The major opportunities lie in the future, not in the way things have been. Before the iPhone was released, most people didn’t even know they wanted a smartphone. Today it’s a standard accessory for life. Look at the trends, look at what people might want. Use your imagination. And create the future.
“You can’t go out and ask people, you know, what the next big thing is. There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse’.”
“There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very, very beginning.”
10. Remember the Big Picture
Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, but he continued to live with this disease and still be productive for another 7 years. Forced to face death as a possibility, it also helped keep things in perspective.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
“The only thing you have in your life is time. If you invest that time in yourself to have great experiences that are going to enrich you, then you can’t possibly lose.”
That’s it! We hope these 10 lessons will help inspire you to live the life you really want.
We wish you all the best in achieving your dreams.
The Big-Shot Team
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