“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. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. …
Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
– Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)
When I heard about Steve Jobs’ passing I had the instantaneous need to post something, anything, an ode to the man and his life’s impact.
Instead I paused… and read…and read some more. Realizing I knew more about the Apple cult of personality around the man – but not about the man himself. As I crafted this blog I went straight to his words, and the lessons they eloquently imparted.
As with the above quote…remember to move beyond stagnant, to follow your gut, follow your heart and release those fears of failure.
“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Working in an industry that puts the wordsmith on the pedestal, where the ability to spin a yarn or talk your way into and out of any situation can be rewarded – the power of silence and the clean, clear, straightforward thought can be lost. Simple – and sometimes short – can be much harder than complex and convoluted. It should be lauded and honored.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
No matter your religious beliefs, your touchstone of faith, we all have that inkling that nudges us. Honor thy gut.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.
“Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
Value the modern-day renaissance man and woman. Homogenized workforces won’t drive your business forward, won’t spark creativity. Diversity of ideas, of experiences and of thinking styles creates diversity of opportunities.
“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.”
Not everything must be a home run to make a difference. Not every idea needs to impact a million. Embrace the power of small moments.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
Go define your own wonderful.