Nothing irritates me more than chronic laziness in others. Mind you, it's only mental sloth I object to. Physical sloth can be heavenly. – Elizabeth Hurley
Once again, I've learned that often in order to preserve great articles and/or blogs before the hyperlinks disappear into the world-wide-web forever, I seek to preserve them by reposting them on my site, sometimes in an easier format, but I ALWAYS give full credit to those that are the original authors as well as hyperlinking to their site. This particular article was written by Celestine (aka Celes) Chua and her blog is very motivating www.personalexcellence.co and she wrote a piece entitled with '11 Life Lessons to Learn from Steve Jobs,' which I have also used in the title of this blog. Regardless of your personal opinion of Steve Jobs as an person, you cannot deny that he was quite the visionary and innovator and while I tend to take most things in life with a grain of salt, I still feel that there are lessons that can be learned through this iconic individual that can be applied. Therefore, I give a great credit to Celes for her breakdown of lessons that may help you to achieve your goals in life.
1. LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT OUT TO BE
If you don’t know anything about Steve Jobs other than generic public knowledge, here’s a quick run down of his background:
- He was born out of wedlock, to graduate student parents who gave him up for adoption thereafter.
- He was adopted and raised in a working class family. His foster father fixed cars for a living.
- His biological parents wanted a girl, not a boy.
- He dropped out of college, after only 1 semester. His highest qualification was high school.
- While he was attending Reed (his college), he would be “sleeping on the floor in friends’ rooms, returning Coke bottles for food money, and getting weekly free meals at the local Hare Krishna temple”.
- In 1985, he was fired, very publicly, from the very company he founded (Apple), after losing a power struggle with the board of directors. (He would then later return as CEO (in 1997) after Apple bought over NeXT, the company Steve founded after leaving Apple.)
- In 2003, he discovered he had cancerous tumor in his pancreas. He would then engage in a long battle with cancer for the next 8 years, till his recent passing.
But it wasn’t the case, as you could see above. He was born out of wedlock. He wasn’t the child his parents wanted. He was given up for adoption. He 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 or let himself be paralyzed by the situations, 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.
When life gives you a curveball, what do you do? Do you (a) sit and whine about it (b) make the best out of it or (c) throw the curveball back at life and create your home run? Most people do (a) – these are the whiners. Some people do (b) – these people generally do good, but that’s about it. Few people do (c) – these are the true winners.
You always have a choice in how you live your life. Don’t victimize yourself because no matter how bad things may seem at the moment, there are hundreds to hundred thousands of people out there who are worse off than you. When you rise above what you are given, that’s when you soar.
2. DREAM BIG – VERY BIG
In each situation, no one would have ever thought things would change.
But the status quo was broken, each time, with exceeding results. With each product release, Steve Jobs (and his team) revolutionized the industry and created a new movement – from personal computing, to mp3 players, to music distribution, to mobile phones, to tablet computers.
iPod became integral to the lifestyle of masses, became synonymous with mp3 players, and paved the way to the collapse of CD sales. iTunes became the #1 music vendor in US in 2008, with 10 billion song downloads as of 2010 (after just 7 years of being online). iPhone created a demand for touchscreen phones, broke Nokia’s long-time market leadership and changed the game of the mobile phone industry. iPad 2 sold more than all other tablet PCs combined since the iPad’s release (in 2010) and is expected to account for 83% of the tablet computing market share in US by 2011 (source).
These happened because 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.
3. The greatest things started somewhere
I often hear of people saying that they can’t do X because they need to wait for A, B and C to be in place. Fair enough, but are these prerequisites really necessary or are they just excuses not to take action? If we are forever waiting for things to be perfect, when will we start taking action then?
I started Personal Excellence 3 years ago with a free basic WordPress template, a semi-casual introduction post, and no readership to boot. Today it has evolved into one of the top personal development blogs online. As of Oct ’11, we are tracking to hit almost hitting a million pageviews a month. We got from A to B because I didn’t wait to take action. I just launched the blog, despite having and knowing nothing, and took things from there.
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.
4. CERTIFICATIONS DON'T MATTER
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs
I’m not saying to quit studying or not to have any cerification. After all, I myself am a college graduate and a product of the formal education system.
All I’m saying is that 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. What’s more important is your skill level, your attitude, and your aptitude (which can subsequently be honed through 10,000 hours). I shared the same thoughts previously in Ask Celes: Are Coaching Courses Necessary To Be a Coach?
If you are studying at the moment, or if you have plans to study/get some form of certification in the future, be conscious of why you are pursuing it, and whether it meets your needs.
For those who are in school – Are you drifting your way through school so you can get a piece of paper at the end of your course, as a ticket to the working world? For those who have earned your certifications – Are you hiding behind them as a safety shield and using them as an excuse not to grow? And for those who don’t have certifications in what you want to pursue in – Are you letting this be an excuse not to pursue what you want to do in life?
5. LIVE EVERY DAY LIKE IT IS YOUR LAST
“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.”
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.”
6. STOP LISTENING TO WHAT OTHERS SAY
What followed though, was one of the most remarkable comebacks in business history.
After getting fired, Steve went on to create NeXT, a computer platform development company. He also purchased the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd, and later spun it off as Pixar (which was subsequently acquired by Disney in 2006).
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. He continued to serve as the CEO until 2011 this year (when he quit to tend to his health).
How’s that for size?
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.
7. DO NOT UNDERSTIMATE THE IMPACT YOU HAVE ON THE WORLD
Likewise for you, there is a world out there waiting for you to impact it. Are you ready to start your revolution?
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” – Steve Jobs
8. FAILURE ONLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU DEEM IT TO BE SO
Not him though. As I detailed in #6, 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.
Many of you often ask me how I got the confidence to quit everything in my life and plunge right into pursuing my passion back in 2008. How about failure – what if I failed? What would I have done?
Here’s the thing about failure – The biggest lesson I learned 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.
That’s the reason why I was able to pursue my path so relentlessly, without hesitation, even in the early days when I had no supposed reason to believe everything would work out. I knew as long as I kept going, it was a matter of time before I reached my goal. Anything that was going to happen before that would merely be an occurrence along the journey – nothing more, nothing less.
So if you often hold back in your decision making 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. DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Don’t make yourself work in a job you dislike, because that will be to waste your life away. Do what you love, because that’s what life is about – doing the things you love.
10. HAVE FAITH – NEVER LOSE HOPE
“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.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Speech 2005
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. You are not here to suffer – you are here to blossom as an individual. Everything happens for a reason, and it’s up to you to assign that reason. (see #1)
11. OUTDO YOURSELF – OVER, AND OVER AGAIN
However, the fact that people care about these models, discuss about them at length and continue to buy them (over and beyond initial hype), shows they do find value in the new models. Be it thinner, lighter, faster, longer battery life, or increased functionality, these upgrades are things which consumers find valuable, and have their lives improved as a result.
“None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.” – Jobs responding to whether he did market research for the iPad
If you could apply just a couple out of the 11 lessons above, I’m sure it will make a world of a difference in your life.
RIP Steve Jobs (1955-2011) – A visionary, genius, and legend.
Feel free to share this article with whomever you think would find it useful. As usual, the social media share buttons can be found at the end of this article.
For more about Steve Jobs:
- Steve Jobs: Wikipedia
- All About Steve Jobs
- Steve’s 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech (#1 on the list)
- Steve Job’s resignation as Apple CEO (Wall Street Journal)
- History of Steve Job’s Health (CNN; Written in 2008)
- Piecing Together Details of Jobs’ Health History (CNN)
- Tributes to the Apple Co-Founder (Telegraph)
- Top 10 Magical Moments in Steve Job’s Career (Mashable)
- Memories of Steve (Interviews & Inspiration) (Mashable)
- Steve Jobs Through the Years (Pictures) (ABC News)
- Remembering Steve – GMA Live Coverage (ABC News, Video)