MR. JOBS, STEVE JOBS…The billionaire co-founder of Apple Inc whom I regard and look up to as an inspirational figure in living a fulfilled life. Here are 12 Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Him.
“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown 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.” – STEVE JOBS
I remember October 5th, 2011 as if it was yesterday. It was on a Wednesday, I was busy working on an IT project at my previous establishment – a financial services firm. My friend Josh Balogun – [nickname Steve Josh] walked in and announced that Steve Jobs was dead.
When I heard the news, my first reaction was: “This must be a joke?” So I quickly did a search on Google for “Steve Jobs”, and was greeted with newly published articles of Steve Jobs recent passing. He passed away on Oct 5, 2011, at the age of 56.
For so many of us in the technology world, Steve Job’s death was a great loss.
Steve Jobs was an inventor, a game changer, a CEO and an incredible leader with exemplary visionary leadership. He never graduated from college but had repeatedly proven that limitations are in our mind, and it’s a matter of challenging them to achieve our dreams.
Take 15 minutes to listen to Steve Job’s famous commencement speech at Stanford in the year 2005 where he explains it all.
As I watched this video again that day, all I kept thinking about was – “Life is truly too short to be living someone else’s dream”. That day, I came to the conclusion that “One needs to really follow his passion by doing what he truly loves in order to live a fulfilling life while there is still time”.
That very day, I decided I was going to pursue my passion fully, no matter what it takes. I had been into fashion business all throughout my college years running it in parallel with my academics but as it was the “tradition” back then – go to school, get a good grade and get a good job. I followed the same path thereby abandoning my passion for a while to concentrate fully on my job [the rat race]. But here I am today, I’m back doing what I love most.
“No matter what you do in the rat race, success is not certain but if you do nothing, failure is.” – Paul Ulasien
Since after I pursued my passion in 2011, I’ve been living every day to the fullest, filled with joy and passion. It’s a great experience. So regardless of whether or not you are Steve Jobs fan, this applies to you.
How do you feel about your life today? Are you happy with your life? Are you doing what you love?
If you answered NO to the questions, that means you’re not living your life to the fullest. And you alone can make that happen. You have the power to create the life you want, You have to refuse to accept nothing but the very best because you deserve nothing but the best. Pursue your passion and live every day to the fullest.
Here are 12 life lessons I learned from Steve Jobs
1. Life is what you make it out to be
Steve Jobs was born out of wedlock. His parents wanted a girl and not a boy. He was given up for adoption and was fired from the company he created. He was publicly humiliated during that time. And he was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, which ultimately took his life.
While he was not necessarily dealt with the best cards, it didn’t matter a single bit. Rather than complain, he made the best out of what he was given – then went to create the kind of life he wanted, eventually becoming the CEO of one of the most valued companies in the world, a billionaire many times over, and one of the most respected people in the world today.
2. Don’t Ever Stop Dreaming Big
If your dream doesn’t scare you, they are not big enough. Did you know that before Apple’s rise in the last decade, Microsoft was the undisputed giant in the world of personal computers? And before Apple iTunes, it was almost impossible to pay for music online, when music piracy was so rampant. Before Apple iPhone, Nokia was the long-time market leader for mobile handsets. Before iPad, it didn’t seem like we needed tablet computers – Desktop computers and laptops seemed to do the job just fine.
No one would have ever thought things would change. Steve allowed himself to dream big – to see beyond what was in the present, to think outside the box, to go where no one had ventured before.
Apple products became integral to the lifestyle of masses. iPhone created a demand for touchscreen phones, broke Nokia’s long-time market leadership and changed the game of the mobile phone industry. And of recent (2016), iPhone 7 was the first phone to be released without a headphone jack, instead, it has wireless earbuds that pair with Apple products.
Also Read: 7 Sure Steps To Personal Success
3. Love what you do, Do what you love
I talk about the importance of pursuing your passion all the time. You have the rest of your life to work, so rather than do something you don’t like THEN retire and do the things you’ve been meaning to do all your life, why not pursue your passion and make that your life’s work? Sure, you may have to backtrack a bit where income is concerned, but that’s just temporary.
As long as you deliver top value, and keep outdoing yourself (see #4), it’s a matter of time before you achieve both passion and money. Don’t make yourself work in a job you dislike because that will be to waste your time away. Do what you love, because that’s what life is about.
4. Outdo yourself – Over and over again
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” – Steve Jobs
“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Steve Jobs
When Steve Jobs was asked if he did market research for the iPad, his response was “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want”. But in all this, the consumers always loved whatever he came up with. Steve Jobs relentlessly pursued betterment, both in his life and his work. He was already successful in his early years, but this didn’t stop him from wanting to achieve more. Beyond settling for status quo, he kept pushing for innovation – each time creating one game changing product after another. Because of that, he kept growing, and so did Apple.
If you look at your past 2-5 year history, have you been stagnant? What can you do to outdo yourself? As the CEO of your life, what is the new trajectory of growth you want to embark for the next few years?
5. Live every day like it is your last
If you reflect it on yourself, are you living your life to the fullest? Or are you wasting your days away? Steve Jobs was a strong proponent of living life to the fullest – every day. This was clear from many of his quotes:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
If you were to die today, will you die fulfilled and happy or with regrets? Think about it and make a decision today to start living out your true life potential.
6. Follow your Heart and trust it knows where it’s going – Stop listening to what others say
Steve Jobs faced so many naysayers in his lifetime. When he was fired very publicly from Apple in 1985, business leaders and press saw him as a has-been. They thought it was over for him. What followed, though, was one of the most remarkable comebacks in business history. After getting fired, he went on to create NeXT, a computer platform development company.In 1996, Apple, after a decade of steady losses since firing Steve Jobs, acquired NeXT. Steve stepped in as interim CEO in 1997, before being appointed as official CEO in 2000.
Under his leadership, Apple was brought back from the brink of bankruptcy and is today the largest company in the world (surpassing Microsoft in 2011) by both revenue and profit.
If Steve Jobs had listened to his detractors when he was fired, he would never have achieved the success he did. Rather, he listened to his heart and did what he felt he had to do. Being guided by that led him to realize his goals – many times over.
Whatever your dreams are, follow them. Don’t listen to people who try to discourage you, simply follow your heart desires – doing what you love.
7. Do not underestimate the impact you can have on the world
Steve Jobs was just 1 person, but he revolutionized the technology industry and impacted masses with his work. It’s safe to say that iPod, iPhone, iTunes, iPad, among his other creations have positively impacted millions (if not billions) of lives around the world. This would have never happened if he didn’t pursue his dreams.
Likewise, for you, there is the world out there waiting for you to impact it. Are you ready to start your revolution?
“Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” — Steve Jobs’ legendary pitch to John Sculley (then PepsiCo CEO) in 1983, to get him to run Apple (Sculley later pushed Jobs out of Apple in 1985)
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?” – Steve Jobs
What is the change you want to bring to this world? What do you need to do to make it happen? How can you start your revolution, with effect from today?
8. Use your Failures to drive you towards success
Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he created. By most people’s standards, this would be the epitome of failure. Most people would give up, hide from the world and wallow in self-pity, right at this point.
Not him though, he went on to create 2 successful companies (NeXT and Pixar), got rehired into Apple, turned it around in one of the biggest comebacks in business history, and made it the biggest technology company today. He never gave up on himself and fought for what he believed in.
Here’s the thing about failure – The biggest lesson about failure is this: There is no failure until you deem it to be so.
This means even if you lose all your money, go bankrupt, lose your housing, suffer some major setback, or fall flat on your face, you have not failed. It is only one of the many, many mid-points toward your end goal. The only point you fail is when you give up – because that’s when the story ends.
So if you don’t want to try again because you’re afraid to fail, know that failing doesn’t exist until you declare you have failed. So as long as you keep going, and have no intentions to give up on your dreams, you can never fail. It’s a matter of time before you get to where you want to be.
9. Be willing to start small, Great things started somewhere
Steve Jobs started Apple in his parents’ garage, along with high-school buddy Steven Wozniak. Who would ever think that a world class technology organization can come out from a garage? It would never have grown if there was never a start in the first place. Likewise, for you, how can you get started on your dreams today, even if in a small capacity. It’s from starting that you get to somewhere. The greatest things were at a time, but just a dream
Also Read: Taking Steady But Sure Steps To Success
10. Degrees don’t matter, skills do
Steve Jobs during his address at Stanford Commencement 2005 [watch the video I put up above if you haven’t seen it] said “Truth be told, I never graduated from college. And this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.” Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed after just 1 semester. His highest education qualification was high school level. He would become one of the many billionaire school dropouts today who would put the age old belief that certification is essential for success in life to shame. Whether you succeed or not in life is independent of your certification. There are people who succeed in life and are graduates, just as there are people who succeed and don’t have any certification.
11. Have faith – Never lose hope
Even when things looked bleak, Steve always had faith that things would work out okay one day. It kept him going and allowed him to make the best out of his life.
No matter what rough patch you may be going through now, don’t give up. Don’t lose hope either. As long as you keep going, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
12. Live Life By Your Own Rules
“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.”
“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.”
A lot of people are unable to pursue their true goals for fear of “the unknown”. Some already have a good job that pays very well, but they do not have any passion for the job. Some others have so much passion in something that is not instantly lucrative or could be in a job that doesn’t pay so well while being passionate about other things.
If you consider yourself an entrepreneur but find yourself stuck in a job you don’t love, I’d advise you to first have a plan, then start working toward your goal in parallel with your job till you are ready to quit and pursue your goal fully.
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Until next time gentlemen – Continue to Do What Your Love & Love What You Do.
Yours in Style,
Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
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