Steve Jobs: An Absolute Genius

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) was the founder of Apple Inc. and one of the most popular entrepreneurs of all time. Creator of numerous technological products consumed nowadays by people from all over the world like McIntosh, iPhone, iPod, iPad, or iTunes, among others. He was included in the list of the world's richest people by Forbes magazine. He published the book "I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words" and they have also been written several biographies about him and the company that bears his name. Some examples of these works are: "In 1984", by George Orwell; "Only the Paranoid Survive", by Andrew S. Grove; and the most famous biography of Steve Jobs, "Steve Jobs", by Walter Isaacson.

Steve Jobs in his own House (Photo taken in 1982)

The life of Steve Jobs was so fascinating that has inspired thousands of entrepreneurs all over the world. We cannot narrate his entire biography but we can provide some information about him through some of his most famous quotes. Let's jump into it!

1. The only way to do a good job is to love what you are doing.

To make others enjoy your work, you have to work in what makes you happy, what basically you want. It is very complicated to have an A+ performance when you don't feel identified with what you are doing; when you only do things to fill your work and academic records. Above all, be honest with yourself and identify that activity that makes you feel good while doing it. Commit yourself to it: you will have a good time, the rest of the people will benefit from your work, you will earn more money, and especially, you will be happy. The founder of Apple said: "You have to find your passion. Because your work is going to constitute a large part of your life and the only way to feel really satisfied is to do that thing you believe is great work for you. The only way to do great work is to have a passion for it. If you haven't found it yet, keep searching for that passion. As with the love issues, when you find it you will know.

2. Your time is limited, so don't waste your time living the life of the others. Don't let the noises from others' opinions to mute your inner voice. And what is more important, dare to do what your heart and your instinct say to you.

It's one of the worst ills which afflict many people: the need for social approval. The fear to not be liked or accepted by others, to be pointed. It's not easy to get rid of the social conventionalities and pressure, but it is extremely important if one wants to be happy and live like they had always fantasized. Steve Jobs had it clear: "Every day I look myself in the mirror and I wonder: "If this was the last day of my life, would I like to do what I was supposed to?" If the answer is 'no' for too many consecutive days, then I know I need to change something." There is one way to know if your life is on track or not. If you often say to yourself "finally it's Friday" or "pff, tomorrow is Monday," there's something you need to change.

3. I'm convinced that half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from those who don't succeed is perseverance.

The winners never capitulate; the ones who capitulate never win. When you sacrifice your life for something, that "something" doesn't materialize in one or two days. You don't sow your seeds today and tomorrow you harvest the fruit. Between one moment and the other, the droughts and the bad harvests can take place, so you will need to show your mental strength when things turn bad, and to keep yourself on your course without forgetting the objective. Perseverate to reach. Calvin Coolidge, president of the United States from 1923 to 1929, said: "Nothing in this world can substitute the persistence. Talent can't; nothing is more common than losers with talent. The genius can't; the geniuses who are not recognized as such are single currency. Education can't; the world is full of losers who got the best education. Persistence and determination by themselves are almighty."

4. My main task in Apple is to make sure that the hundred main workers are excellent. Hire people who are passionate about brilliance. The rest of the things will come on their own.

You are as good as the people from your surroundings. For this reason, the election is the starting point for the companies that succeed. If you hire the right people and you make the right decisions, everything is going to be fine. Things flow better and amazing synergies are created in the work environment. Regarding the hiring of personnel, you can spare neither time nor effort. Choosing badly has very negative consequences for the organizations, both in financial and image terms. Steve Jobs once said: "When you are working with excellent people, you don't need to be constantly monitoring what they do. If you are hoping they do incredible things, you can make them do incredible things. The original team for the Mac taught me that first-division players like to work together, and they don't like that you tolerate a second-division job."

5. When you commit intensely to something for some time, you have to sacrifice other lives that you could be living.

You cannot touch all the keys of your piano at the same time. High-performing people know it and they don't get dispersed. They don't focus on what they lose while discarding an alternative but on what they win with the chosen option. This demands a lot of experience and temper to not losing the focus -FOCUS (Following One Course of action Until Successful)- because there are too many temptations for something like this to happen. Brilliance demands FOCUS. It is a question of common sense. If you work ten hours a day and the energy from those ten hours is concentrated on the design of your project is not the same that if you spread that energy throughout 5 hours, 3 hours and 2 hours. Whoever dedicates his entire time to work on something, beats everyone because they press the pedal more times. It is a question of adding hours. 

6. Creativity simply consists in connecting dots.

There is a misunderstanding among the population that creativity is something innate; a privilege of a few gifted people with a high IQ. This belief is completely out of reality. Creativity is just the result of associating ideas that our brains produce from the data and information that they contain. Therefore, our creativity will be better and higher as we add more and more inputs to our brain, and the wider the diversity of these inputs is, the more unique these combinations or connections will be. In other words, the ability to create is associated with uniting different pieces of information, with the ability to link different concepts together and with the freshness to assembly things that give as a result a practical novelty. Curiosity and diversity are the raw materials upon which creativity is built.

7. If you wish, you can fly, you only have to trust a lot in yourself.

Every creation is born in the mind. Everything that exists in the "physical" world (tangible) was created previously in the "no physical" world (intangible,) in the mind of someone who conceived it. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing that is out of the human's reach. The universe is like a form of infinite choices. Every creation (the plane, the mobile phone, the internet, the radio, tv, etc.) is due to somebody's wish and determination to make it a reality. As a consequence, everything that doesn't exist nowadays yet is either because it hasn't been wished enough or because it hasn't been sufficiently developed until becoming a reality. There are no limits to creativity. It is a matter of wanting it, believing that is possible and not giving up until achieving it. 

8. There is a lot of work between a good idea and a good product.

An idea is just that, an idea, an act of the imagination. A product is the tangible materialization of that idea. A good product is what captivates the clients and what actually makes you succeed. And between the birth of an idea and the success of a product, it exists an unbearable amount of work even though many people aren't able to understand this yet. Having good ideas is just the beginning of a long process. There are lots of people who have good ideas but who don't have the commitment, the discipline, and the patience to convert those ideas into good products, and even less into successful products.

9. Everything has an explanation of who you are today, and you are the only cause of it. If you look back in time, you will find how those threads start to take shape.

There is a moment in life that changes it for worse: when you resign; when you think that your life doesn't depend on you and you abandon; when you think that no matter what you do, the results don't obey to your work but instead to external causes. It is just the opposite of what happens with high-performing people, who have decided to assume the responsibility of their own lives, as well as the consequences of their decisions and actions. We are building our future with every single thing we think, feel, say, and do. Moreover, these four variables are connected to each other.

10. You cannot connect the dots toward but only backward. So you must have the confidence that the dots will connect together in the future.

No one can anticipate the consequences of our actions. It is not possible to bring the future to the present moment. Consequently, you have to act and keep faith. At the time of taking a series of decisions where you might feel somehow "lost" and you don't know what to do, it is recommended learning to listen to yourself and to decipher the signals that indicate to you what path to take. This is how Jobs explained it: "You have to trust in something, your instinct, the fate, the life, the karma, whatever. This way of acting has never let me down and has made a real difference in my life." Successful people are often intuitive people. They know very well how to listen to their "inner voice" and they don't ignore it. They know that they have to follow one path, even though they didn't know exactly which one. They have that instinct, and although things were not working as they would like, they don't despair and they continue to trust in that "inner voice" that shows them what road they have to take.

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