I’m reading Walter Isaacsons’ Steve Jobs biography right now and am completely mesmerized by it, and with Steve Jobs, now, already a legacy. Cannot put it down.
As I’m reading it, the dots are connecting for me, for things I did not even understand back in the day when I first placed my finger upon the keyboard and used the revolutionary mouse which they brought front and center to the market as well.
My family has been long time Apple fans dating back to the once revolutionary Apple II I remember coming home from college in 1979 to find my youngest brother and my dad, who had been given one from his work with ADP, knee deep into the heart of the Apple II original spreadsheets- pre- Microsoft Excel-where my dad was teaching him to use a spreadsheet for his car detailing business. Everything was in color! From then on it was a love affair with Apple, even during “the dark years”.
Just yesterday, while visiting my brothers family and parents, I watched my 85 year old dad sit and struggle with a cell phone trying to find a friends contact to share with me for the 50th wedding anniversary we are throwing for him and my stepmom.
After witnessing him fight with this antiquated piece of technology for what seemed like 15 minutes, my heart started to bleed for him. What a PAIN!!!!! How completely un-intuitive! I couldn’t even figure it out.
The next think he knew I was sharing my iPhone love affair with him, showing him, not telling him, how much simpler life could be with this forward thinking piece of technology.
Later, his comment was that I should become a “dealer”.
So obsessed am I with the renaissance man Jobs, that this morning before sitting down to write the blog that hadn’t come to me yet, I clicked onto his commencement speech for the 2005 graduating class at Stanford University, and after wiping my eyes at the end, immediately sent it out to my daughter and to all those I love….and yes posted it on Facebook along with the other 20, 000 postings of the same speech that must be out there.
Why? Because Jobs lived his life connecting the dots.
Driven by passion and the love of simple, functional design and technology, he moved from 1 project to the next often not knowing where it was going from the beginning but believing in the process so fully that he moved others- whole departments and companies to share in his passion and do the same.
Here’s a snippet:
‘I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. 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.’
It gives us all faith that the journey is worth the effort. That we may not know where exactly we are headed but it’s the heading there that counts and which will, in time, play itself out and make sense.
That and a good dose of passion and conviction. There are so many instances in the book of Jobs telling others that they in fact can do what they believe cannot possibly be done- what they affectionately called Jobs’ ‘Reality Distortion Field’.
I did not start out writing this blog with the intent of it being a book review, only to shed light on my shared conviction with Jobs that your journey counts, and will make sense at the end of the day, so long as you follow your passion- your love for what you believe in, no matter how far outside of the box others might see it, or advise otherwise- and for what you’re doing- because you are going to be spending an awfully big part of your day-and your life- doing it. What a strong message to pass on to our kids.
Passion is alluring and convincing, and is often the difference in what sells you, your services, and your products…or not.
By far, my favorite Jobs quote is this, during Apples series of “Think Different” commercials, where he and his marketing team showcase video’s of world icons and movement makers, artists and hero’s both Jobs and his team admired.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify them or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some might see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who think they are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Mine has been a long and winding journey to where I am today. Sometimes passionately, sometimes by default, but as I look at where I am today, I feel so strongly that I am exactly where I was meant to be, helping others develop their own distinctive presence and positioning amongst all the noise. There will always be more journey, but my path is clear.