“Steve Jobs Headshot 2010-CROP” by Matthew Yohe. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Steve_Jobs_Headshot_2010CROP.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Steve_Jobs_Headshot_2010-CROP.jpg
Steve Jobs – Inspirational Teacher
Connect the Dots … Don’t Settle …Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish ..
As the world mourns the death of Steve Jobs, I listened to his now famous 2005 commencement address again .. and again.
This is perhaps the most inspirational and spell-binding 15-minute speech ever delivered. Three powerful messages .. in three touching stories. The message was so authentic because he was essentially telling the stories from his life.
This 15-minutes talk gives you more lessons in how to live your life and how to be creative than all of the business books combined.
Connect the Dots …
Steve Jobs talked about how his casually taking interest in calligraphy and taking a class at Reed College, a class which apparently had no practical use, proved to be critical ten years latter when this knowledge became a key in Macintosh having a great typography. Much later, when he was fired from Apple, the very company that he himself had founded, it was devastating at first, but proved to be the best thing that happened to him because it rekindled his passion and creativity and laid the foundation for his brilliant and pioneering innovations.
“Again, 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. “
I am sure, as many of us look back in our careers and lives, we can find instances where we can now see why certain things, that at the time looked devastating, or did not make sense, happened for a reason. Now we can see why. We can now connect some of these dots in our own life when we look back.
Don’t Settle …
This is probably the best advice. We hear it often but it takes an awful lot of courage to follow. We, in general, are programmed to follow a safe career path. Many of us encourage our children to become doctors, lawyers, or professionals, so that they can make good money and live comfortably. When someone decides to walk away from a lucrative Wall Street career to follow his (or her) dreams, family and friends often think that person is making a big mistake and try to talk him out of it.
Steve Jobs followed his passions and his heart. He was passionate about his work, he loved what he did, and that is why he could come up with amazing creations.
“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.”
Do you love what you are doing? Do you do the type of work so that you can’t wait to get to your office or your lab? If not, do you have the courage to change your course and look for something different? Do you encourage your children to follow their own passions and their hearts? Change is hard – but let us not settle just because it is convenient. Keep looking.
One of the books that made a deep impression on me was “The Alchemist”, an international best-seller by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. The book resonated with me because it talked about omens and messages that we encounter in our lives, trying to guide us to the right path that will follow our dreams. It kind of comnbines both of the above lessons that Steve Job talked about – “Connecting the Dots” and “Don’t Settle”.
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish …
The last message of Steve Jobs was just as important. We start our life as kids, full of curiosity and eager to try out new things. But slowly we tend to get comfortable in our lives and our careers and somewhere along the way, we sometimes lose the hunger for knowledge. We are afraid to try out some outlandish, big ideas or follow our big dreams – so that we do not appear foolish to others. However, big achievements are not possible unless you are not curious, not hungry for knowledge, not afraid to try out what may seem initially as some absurd experiments. I can vouch from my personal experience that some of my best accomplishments in my professional life were when I was trying out completely new fields and not afraid to try something totally different and something that would seem silly to someone in the field. It is also a fact that many breakthroughs in science come when researchers from a different field look at the problem with fresh perspective. For example, Francis Crick was a physicist who was able to bring some fresh perspectives to the field of biology to deduce the double helix structure of DNA with James Watson.
Great things will happen if you stay hungry, stay foolish and follow your dreams.
“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 – Thank You For Inspiring Us to Be Better
There is an old stanza by a famous Indian poet and philosphopher of the fifteenth Century, Sant Kabir, that roughly translates into:
“When you are born,
World Laughs and You Cry,
Do Such Deeds so when you die,
You Laugh and the World Cries”
Yes, Steve Jobs, the whold world is crying today. And you must be smiling today at what you have achieved. You lived your life well. So long!
– Yatin Thakore