3 Lessons from Steve Jobs

Believe that the dots will connect down the road, love what you do, and remember that you are going to die

STEVE JOBS was one of the world’s great visionaries, entrepreneurs and businessmen.

On October 5th 2011, he departed.

People knew that he was sick, but nobody expected him to leave so soon. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was busy working on an urgent assignment, and dropped everything. I immediately started writing a farewell tribute, and I held back the tears as I wrote.

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?

Steve and I never met in person. So, why did his death evoke such a response?

Steve was famous. It is normal to feel sad when famous people die.  However, this explanation does not capture the outpouring of grief or the sense of loss that many people felt that day.

Steve was a visionary. He understood how technology was evolving, and how the new technology could be used to create super amazing products to delight his customers.

Steve was a perfectionist. Malcolm Gladwell argued in his New Yorker article that this was Steve’s real genius.  Steve saw things that kind of worked and then relentlessly tweaked them until they were perfect.

Most of all, however, Steve was passionate. And, his passion for design changed our lives for the better. If you have ever used a Mac, an iPod, iPhone, or iPad, then you have been personally touched by Steve’s personality and his passion for incredible design. It is the passion that we miss.

We can learn a lot from such a man and, in his Stanford Commencement address, he leaves us with three lessons:

  1. Believe that the dots will connect down the road: this 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.
  2. Love what you do: set backs are inevitable. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  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 role on. So don’t settle.
  3. Remember that you are going to die: Nobody wants to die, even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. Death is the destination that we all share, nobody has ever escaped it. Death is very likely the very best invention of life, it clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, as they somehow already know what you truly want to become.

“Stay hungry stay foolish.”