How Steve Jobs Changed the World
“The thing that bound us together at Apple was the ability to make things that were going to change the world. That was very important.”
Steve Jobs, Smithsonian Institution Oral and Video Histories, April, 1995.
When it comes to seeing how to get where we want to go to in life it helps to consider how others have done it. The problem with that approach is we don’t have all the information to know what they really did – what options they took, which ones they declined, the skills they never developed, the opportunities they seized (and the ones they let escape). We also don’t really know their circumstances, the pressure they experienced from siblings – competitiveness, put downs, camaraderie and the like. We have no real clue of what they were like to live with or be around. What we often end up with is a revisionist version of them which bears little resemblance to the person and is entirely useless (as most fantasies are.) The way around that is to stop thinking we can get all the insights in one hit – people are complex and understanding what drives another person isn’t easy. Credit them with real struggles and real uncertainties. Recognize they too were a work in progress and didn’t follow a linear path to get to their destination. This way we know what to expect from life for ourselves.
Some of the things that count and seem to show up in biography after biography are: Luck, Grit – guts and determination, Resilience, and most important of all, Mindset.
Mindset involves such things as: “vision”, thinking outside the box, being obnoxious (refusal to compromise), rejection (of the status quo and cookie cutter solutions), refusal to follow the groove, recognition that they are a person of value and worth with a contribution to make to life (and maybe to others), taking responsibility for who and what they are and will become, determination to do something with what they’ve got and the resolve to move on from the past (both good and bad) so it doesn’t mess up the present or the future.
Steve Jobs was one of those people who made a way of life out of original thinking. His mindset went beyond the perceptions of his competitors and he twice made Apple into the focus of their envy, forcing them to mindlessly play catch-up on every front. Here are a couple of quotes that are snapshots of his mindset.
Focus: “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to the thousand things.”
Steve Jobs – Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, May 1997
Breaking with yesterday: “If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.”
Playboy, February 1985
“Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.”
D5 Conference, May 2007
Resolute determination: “What happened was, the designers came up with this really great idea. Then they take it to the engineers, and the engineers go, “Nah, we can’t do that. That’s impossible.” And so it gets a lot worse. Then they take it to the manufacturing people, and they go, “We can’t build that!” And it gets a lot worse. . . Sure enough, when we took it to the engineers, they said, “Oh.” And they came up with 38 reasons. And I said, “No, no, we are doing this.” And they said, “Well why?” And I said, “Because I’m the CEO and I think it can be done.” And so they kind of begrudgingly did it. But then it was a big hit.”
Time, October 2005
From an early age we are socialized into conformity but it seems that the people who achieve most in this life refuse to let conformity become a straight-jacket. They choose to discover their potential despite the risks and disapproval. They believe in destiny and great destiny only comes to those who are willing to step outside the box that limits everyone else.
It’s not rebellion; it’s creativity!
Posted on January 16, 2012, in Self-awareness, vision and tagged Apple, changing the world, conformity, creativity, faith, mindset, self-acceptance, Steve Job, vision. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.