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10 Things We Can Learn From Steve Jobs

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“There will never be another Steve Jobs. We can’t be the special person he was. We are who we are and just have to appreciate how great he was.” — Larry Ellison

When we examine how great Steve Jobs was, we are able to gain a lot of insights which provide us with invaluable life lessons. Here are 10 useful lessons we can learn from Steve Jobs (1955-2011).

1. Love what you do

Steve Jobs loved what he did with a passion. Even after he was fired from Apple in the early years, he realized that this was what he really wanted to do in life. We too should not deflect from our path — our persistence will pay off.

“What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating, I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. And so I decided to start over.” — Steve Jobs

2. Cut out or avoid the bozos

Bozos are incompetent, stupid, and negative people. Steve Jobs had no time for these people and got rid of them when he could. They are like weeds and they will also hire like-minded people. They will have a negative impact on morale. Even if you are unable to fire them, you can make strenuous efforts to have as little to do with them as possible. Surround yourself with positive and upbeat colleagues who will inspire you.

3. Surround yourself with culture to be more creative

Steve Jobs set a great example here. The best way to be creative is to surround yourself with culture, art, and history. Enriching his life with cultural influences was an essential element in helping his passion for design to flourish. Apple products are the perfect example. Serendipity and connecting the dots may be more important than we think.

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“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” — Steve Jobs

4. Don’t be afraid to take risks

Steve jobs knew that by developing the iPhone, he was going to make the iPod obsolete. He knew that it was a risk but he also knew that the mobile market was very lucrative and he wanted a slice of that. Being brave and going against the tide are all part of taking risks. The lesson taught by Jobs was that other people’s opinions and “rules” must never thwart our plans.

“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.” — Steve Jobs

5. Qualifications are not everything

Steve Jobs never actually graduated from college. He discovered and taught us that what really counts is to have a positive mindset and how you nurture your skills. Paper qualifications are important, but they must always take second place in developing our skills.

“Truth be told, I never graduated from college. And this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address in 2005

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6. Keep it simple

When the engineers were developing the iPod, Jobs insisted that there should be no buttons at all and that the only button would be the on/off one. The engineers were skeptical to say the least, but Jobs would not relent. Keeping the whole operation simple was essential to this and many other projects. In the end, the scroll wheel was developed and is still a feature of IT today. We can learn from Steve Jobs that laser focus can sharpen our minds and help us to prioritize.

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” — Steve Jobs

7. Money need not dictate your projects

Jobs wanted to change the world and put a “ding in the universe,” as he himself put it. His projects were all designed to create amazing products to make the world a better place. Making money was not his primary aim. Here is a very valuable life lesson. If we focus on making profit without worrying too much about giving value or in helping society, then perhaps we should rethink our objectives.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” — Steve Jobs

8. Learn to be bold

At the age of 12, Steve Jobs telephoned Hewlett Packard to get some spare parts he needed for a project he was working on. As a result of that telephone call, HP gave him a summer job and he never looked back. The lesson we can learn here is to always try, even if we are turned down.

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“If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.” – Nora Roberts

 9. Question everything

Steve Jobs often told interviewers that he had always questioned everything. For example, he questioned his religious beliefs when he saw starving children. He advised people to question rules and assumptions. This questioning was the foundation for many of his most creative ideas. That should be an inspiration for us when we examine how we live and work. If we continuously question why something is always done in a certain way, we are well on the way to success.

Steve Jobs questioned everything about the building of his yacht Venus, which was to be sleek and minimalist and cost $138 million. The owner of the Dutch shipyard where it was built, Henk de Vries, said that Jobs was always telling them that they could do better!

“Everything was questioned and that made it very challenging,” — Henk de Vries

10. Technology can change the world for the better

Apparently, Steve Jobs as a kid was struck by an article which listed the most efficient species with regards speed and locomotion. He noticed that the condor was in the first place while human beings were way down the list. Put a human being on a bicycle and that combination shot to the top of the list, way ahead of the condor. Jobs later used this in an ad for Apple when he called his computer the bicycle of the mind. That sort of smart technology is the way to change the world for the better.

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Steve Jobs was an inspiring example we need to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Nice Gift/ Jan- Willem Reusink via flickr.com

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