16 Pieces of Advice From Steve Jobs
I want to put a ding in the universe.
You don’t have to be a fan of iEverything to recognize the tremendous impact Apple has had on technology and business. Steve Jobs led the company he co-founded in 1976 with charisma and an insatiable drive to innovate and succeed. When Jobs died in 2011, he left a legacy that will continue to shape our world for generations. Here are sixteen pieces of advice inspired by his words to help you make your own dent in the universe.
1Trust in something
You have to trust in something; your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart.
Jobs believed in going where inspiration led him. Those leaps of faith require us to trust that things will work out as they should. Even when taking risks leads you to unexpected or even undesirable outcomes, knowing you’ll be able to tackle those outcomes inspires the confidence necessary to take chances on big ideas.
2Love what you do
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.
When your work is also your passion, it doesn’t feel like work. Jobs believed in the importance of following your bliss.
3Remember that revolution isn’t easy
I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.
Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
The world sees Steve Jobs as a success story, but his successes didn’t come without failures. Want to talk about a blow to the ego? Consider how Jobs must have felt when he was dumped by the company he co-founded. Apple ousted him in 1985, then hired him back in 1997 when the company was struggling financially.
5Turn losses into wins
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
Jobs often said that being fired ultimately inspired him. While separated from Apple for more than a decade, he bought Pixar (then known as Graphics Group) for $5 million and played a major role in turning it into the multi-billion-dollar studio behind blockbuster movies like Toy Story (the first ever computer-animated feature film) and Finding Nemo.
6Understand that saying no is as important as saying yes
I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.
Jobs realized that saying no plays a big role in the creative process. Choosing which paths not to follow is as important as choosing the one to take. He celebrated the role saying no played in the decision-making process.
7Learn to tell your story
Anyone who’s ever watched an Apple product unveiling understands that Steve Jobs was a masterful corporate storyteller. Broadcasting your message isn’t enough—tell a story. In business, as well as in life, people are moved by those who don’t just present but rather inform, enlighten, inspire, and entertain.
8Be aware that small steps are important, too
Things don’t have to change the world to be important.
Jobs said that things didn’t need to change the world in order to be important. He realized that small shifts and minor wins can create a ripple effect and advocated embracing them all. When progress seems slow, celebrating minor victories can help maintain your energy and even build momentum.
9Don’t let success make you lazy
I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.
Scoring a win is amazing, but it’s how you react after the win that matters. Jobs didn’t rest on his laurels following a success, but quickly put the gears in motion to figure out what his next innovation would be. Everyone needs to take a moment after completing a major project to take a breath and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. But when that moment’s over, it’s time to put that positive energy back to work.
10Pay attention to the simple things
Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.
Anyone who’s ever tried to write a 250-word bio or distill the essence of an article into a two-sentence blurb knows that just because a task seems simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. Practicing the sort of clear-headed, logical thinking required to accomplish small but significant feats can become a hugely beneficial life skill.
11Cultivate crazy dreams
Arguably, Steve Jobs’ most famous quote is “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” He believed that the key to accomplishing big things was to nurture big dreams, dreams that might even seem too crazy to be within the realm of possibility. “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,” he said, “are the ones who do.”
12Take stock and make changes
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Jobs was never satisfied by maintaining the status quo; he wanted to accomplish big things. He learned that life is too precious to waste by spending time doing things that aren’t gratifying.
13Don’t let others run your show
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
It’s important to be able to accept and grow from feedback, but Jobs knew that it’s equally important to be able to listen to yourself and, ultimately, be your own decision maker.
Have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Being a leader and innovator means being perceptive enough to tune in to your own intuition and bold enough to venture where it leads.
15Spend your time wisely
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Facing death and being told to get his affairs in order helped Jobs realize that time is our most valuable commodity. His 2005 Stanford commencement speech echoed those sentiments, reminding us that life is short, and every minute needs a purpose, whether that purpose is to achieve, dream, create, or just relax.
16Keep a sense of wonder
Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow.
—Steve Jobs’ final words
Although the meaning of his last words remains mysterious, it’s clear that Steve Jobs’ sense of wonder and curiosity was a force that propelled him. Remember to take time to have a look around, be amazed, and say, “Oh, wow!”