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10 Things We Can Learn From Steve Jobs

10 Things We Can Learn From Steve Jobs

“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.

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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.

“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.

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“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

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.

“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.

Steve Jobs was an inspiring example we need to follow.

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

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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