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8 Life Lessons I Learned From Steve Jobs
Nothing happens without thought.
One of the most influential, innovative and disruptive people of our time has undoubtedly been Steve Jobs.
As commented by Walter Isaacson in Time Magazine,
“Steve Jobs revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing. You might add a seventh: retailing, which Jobs did not quite revolutionize but did reimagine. Along the way, he produced not only transforming products but also, on his second try, a lasting company, endowed with his DNA, that is filled with creative designers and daredevil engineers who will carry forward his visions.”
His commencement speech at the Stanford University in 2005 unravels some of his thinking and the meaning he attached to life events. His speech is one of the most shared speeches online and for good reason. If you have read his biography, you surely know that his unconventional thinking and strong personality have allowed him to make choices and decisions outside of what everyone else called common sense.
Thinking differently and taking action has been two key elements of Steve Job's decision making and thinking. He knew exactly what he wanted and was determined to get it.
After listening to his speech again after his death, I can see clearly his unwithering belief in his choices and the model of the world he had in his mind. Making a dent in the universe and leaving his mark upon it has been some of his driving forces.
It is fascinating to listen what drives a person and how they have accomplished everything in their life.
Τhis is a fascinating speech and you can derive valuable lessons on public speaking as well. There is a theme of birth/death/rebirth as rightly pointed out by Andrew Dulgan in his post Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 Pillars of Public Speaking.
However, I have broken down his last words in what I believe it to be eight life lessons that emerge from his stories that we can all relate to and incorporate into our life.
8 LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM STEVE JOBS
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. 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
In his opening story, Steve talked about connecting the dots. We have been conditioned by society to believe that most events in our life are unrelated, and there is no connection whatsoever. Only when those events are aligned to what we have envisioned, then we call it luck.
We have been told not to believe in coincidences and be realistic. The truth though is that everything that happens in our life, we have created with our thinking.
Nothing happens without thought.
We are so much connected to this world that is unfathomable. As Carl Jung spoke first about the Synchronicity and the Collective Unconscious, there is a connection of non-casual events that we call coincidence.
One reason that it is hard to believe that such connectedness exists is because we have lost touch with nature in the most literal sense.
With our shoes and cars and modern constructed houses, we rarely touch the earth these days. Grounding has been one of the ways that our bodies connected with the energies of the earth and shielded us from any disease. The influx of negative ions entering the body through the K1 acupressure point at the soles of our feet mobilizes our blood and stops blood cells from sticking to each other.
On a more internal level, we have neurons all over our body with the highest concentration in the gut. It is, therefore, no coincidence that we have a gut feeling about things.
When reflecting on your life so far, think about what you learned that can be used as a guide for your future. If you look into those memories that might be painful as well, you can draw incredible lessons for your present moment.
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. Alexander Graham BellMuch of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Steve Jobs
Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. - Steve Jobs
There are numerous times in your weeks, months or years that life will throw a curveball and get you off track. You should nurture the strength of your spirit so that you can persevere in situations you can't predict or control.
As Brendon Bruchard has said, visualize yourself not only achieving what you desire but also the moments that you feel weak. It is in those moments of being in denial or lost or not feeling like doing what you know to be true.
You need to get yourself in a state where you have overcome or stayed the course in your mind. So when it appears in real life, you know what to do or at least you know that not showing up is not an option.
I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.... Unless you have a lotof passion about this, you're not going to survive. You're going to give it up. So you've got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you're passionate about; otherwise, you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through.― Steve Jobs
3. Life Purpose
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. And 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. - Steve Jobs
Our modern schooling system is more consumed with educating and cramming more information into our kids heads from an even younger age each year and leaving less space for self-expression. This system inevitably leads to a postponing of the inevitable question of why you are here.
After you finish school and you get into the workforce, somewhere along that path you are faced with questions. Questions that you have only answered to others on a superficial level, thus creating an identity for you that is ok and acceptable to society.
A great speech I watched the other day was from Adam Leipzig's TED Talk on Finding your Life Purpose. This speech also inspired me to create a short motivational video on Life Purpose, which you can view here.
Adam Leipzig helps everyone define their Life Purpose as a statement that excites you and inspires others. You don't have to become Dalai Lama, but you have to take the time and write down your thoughts.
There are five questions you can to ask yourself now and come up with your Life Purpose in the next five minutes.
1. Who You Are?
2. What You Do?
3. Who You Do It For?
4. What Those People Want And Need?
5. How They Changed As A Result?
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ― Eleanor Roosevelt
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning 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. - Steve Jobs
Every morning we are all equally granted the amount of 86000 seconds in our personal bank account. Everyone gets the same. The question is how to spend your seconds?
Do you wake up excited, looking forward to your day or are you dreading every second of it?
This reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day. You have nowhere else to go, so you might as well do something.
If you don't change your thoughts and subsequently your actions, your day and your life is not going to change.
It is essential to start creating your ideal environment in your head, even before you get up from your bed. Start visualizing while lying down, your life in what would be ideal for you. Feel how you feel, what you smell, notice the colors and the people you are with. Visualization is amazing as part of priming yourself for the day.
A great exercise is to set a timer for every 50 minutes throughout the day and check on yourself. What are your thoughts, what are you telling yourself? Notice the words, the tone and repetitiveness of what you affirm to yourself. Then replace the words and tone with something positive that will put you on a totally different mindset and path.
"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." - Steve Jobs
You've got to free yourself from fear. As Alan Watts used to say, worrying about death is completely absurd, because once you are dead you will have nothing to worry about.
We all have a part of the brain called Amygdala that is responsible for keeping us safe. We have managed to program our subconscious brain to respond the same way to what you wouldn't call actual threats, such as giving a speech or being late for work.
These events are almost never a single incident that will cause us to cease to exist, but it is more a chain of events that feel like a 1000 cuts. The actuality of such chain of events leading up to our death is highly unlikely and that is where we need to consciously step in and start asking Why going 5 times deep. This will instantly clear out any fears and set us free from dogma, pride and expectations from our environment.
Try it, it is awesome. It is very likely that the barriers and worries originate from you, but it is a truth you have to accept and carry on. Accepting yourself and being able to learn from your mistakes will set you free.
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ― Gloria Steinem
"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." - Steve Jobs
Be at peace with life. Change is omnipotent in nature. The change of the seasons, the birth of new life and the end of another. Nothing stays still or stagnant although it may feel like that at times. Just remember what you did or where you were 10 years ago or even a year ago. Everything keeps changing all the time.
The issue lies in our perception of change. Our society is moving at a frenzy pace, promoting a culture of living in the future. No time for reflection of the past is allocated and living in the present is not trendy. Yet all you have available is the present moment.
I believe that one of the reasons we are so afraid of death is not so much that things will change but more that we won't have done or said or been everything we wanted while we were alive.
It is the fear of regret.
So, embrace change every moment of your day and ask yourself, If I died today, would I be at peace?
If the answer is no, go do the things you want now. You have the permission you need.
Just do it.
7. Social Conformity
"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." - Steve Jobs
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with as Jim Rohn used to say. You are your environment. The minute you take the time to listen to your inner voice and realize that your decisions and actions may be a sum of the opinions of the people around you and not a true reflection of your inner world, your life will change.
These days there is a new condition called Social Anxiety. It is used to describe the anxiety caused by social interaction and fear of being judged by others. This is a common problem for most people these days and something I've seen with my clients. The fear of being judged by your family, friends, co-workers is enough is to stop any thought, dream or concept dead in its tracks.
You have the power to change your life and design it exactly as you want. Don't be a clone. You were born unique and amazing in your own right and you have the right to be here.
Who are you?
What do you really love to do? If you google it, you will certainly find others that are already doing what you think is unattainable.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." - Steve Jobs
Everybody loves the innocence of children and their unwithering strength and determination. However, when we grow up and as we are growing up, we hear phrases from adults like, Be realistic, Grow Up, stop acting like a child. It doesn't take long before we have blocked our imagination and stopped trying.
It is exactly what they do to elephants when they are babies. They tie them to a big heavy chain and no matter how hard and long the elephants try, they can't free themselves. As they grow up, they have lost the hope and will to try and all they use on them is a tiny rope.
As someone has said, adults ask children what they want to be when they grow up, so they can get ideas. It is difficult to be original and creative in a society that wants you to be realistic and compliant, but it is not impossible.
"All things truly wicked start from innocence." - Ernest Hemingway