A couple of weeks ago, the next generation of iPhone was released – the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the all-new Apple Watch. These are part of the future of Apple built on the foundation of innovative Apple technology created with Steve Jobs as the visionary leading the charge. While he is no longer here to see these advances in person, his spirit lives on and his words of wisdom can still be heard.
Regardless of your opinion about Apple products or Steve Jobs and his controversial personality, I invite you to hear the 3 simple stories he tells during the 2005 Stanford commencement address. These stories are a constant reminder for me to “stay hungry stay foolish”. While I highly recommend spending a worthwhile 15 minutes to watch the actual video, below I have summarized his tales and kept many of his own phrases, as the eloquent words he spoke would be unjustly rewritten any other way:
CONNECTING THE DOTS
We can’t see how the actions, moments and experiences of our lives will impact our future, so there needs to be some trust to know that there are reasons for why a situation unfolds as it does. Its only in the future that we can finally look back and connect the dots for how so many things were integrally intertwined. This, for me, is an amazing reminder as my type-A personality enjoys attempting to feel a sense of control in most situations. And yet, when I look back to my most amazing memories recently, they have always been when I allowed myself to go with my gut instinct, not really knowing the outcome or the exact path.
So, in Steve jobs instance, he dropped in on a calligraphy class after he had dropped-out of school! And it was amazingly interesting. He learned about type faces, varying spaces between letter combinations – it was artistically subtle and he found it fascinating. And yet it had no practical application…until one day, 10 years later, when he was building the first Mac computer. All this knowledge came back to him and crafted a beautiful product with wonderful typography. It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward.
“Trust in something…because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.”
LOVE AND LOSS
How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, despite spending 10 years creating Apple, there came a time when the vision of the company differed and the result was Steve Jobs was out – very publicly. What had been the focus of his entire adult life was gone and it was devastating. “I had been rejected, but I was still in love” he says. And so he started over – with a freedom to be creative and with a lightness that could only be felt when the pressure of the previous position was removed. While it wasn’t easy to look at it from that perspective at the time, it was the best thing that could have happened! Ultimately, in a strange sequence of events, Apple purchased a company Steve built during this time and that technology is at the heart of Apple products today!
“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 and don’t settle.”
“If you live each day as if it was your last, some day you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression and now everyday Steve wakes up, looks at himself in the mirror and asks: if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? When the answer has been “no” too many days in a row, then its time to make a change. Pride, fear, embarrassment all fall away in the face of death. This is the most important tool you have to make big choices. When there is nothing to lose, there is no reason not to follow your heart.
It is interesting Steve selected this topic as a theme, given that he finally was right, passing away on October 5, 2011 – 6 years after he said these words. While it’s not a topic we often want to consider, we can not predict the future. Live everyday fully and “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish”. This is his how he concludes his poetic speech, referencing a message on the final issue of the Whole Earth Catalog he’d seen many years ago, which resonated with him and he passionately passed on to the next generation.
“Have the courage to follow you heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
~ Health, Happiness and Prosperity ~