It is always easier to learn life lessons by walking in the footsteps of others, especially the footsteps of successful people. And upon recently watching the movie “Jobs,” based on the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, I realized that there are quite a few lessons to be found, simply in the portrayal of his character in the film.
Don’t restrict learning to classrooms or mandatory programs.
Have a wholistic knowledge. Seek out different experiences in life.
I’m not dismissing the value of higher education; I’m simply saying it comes at the cost of experience.
According to Jobs film director Joshua Michael Stern, Steve Jobs felt that life experiences were critical to being creative. Stern included pivotal scenes in the movie, showing a young Steve Jobs taking a college calligraphy course and visiting India with his friend, Daniel Kottke. “Absorbing culture, art, and history were extremely important to Jobs. He believed in taking life experiences and using it as a subtext for something else you’re doing, like helping to form the product you’re creating,” said Stern. This is one of the most powerful success principles we can learn from Steve Jobs: a broad set of life experiences is essential for creativity to flourish.
Do not be afraid to challenge others.
Early on in the movie, we can see that a young Jobs is not afraid to push limits, both in himself and in others. He was not worried about feelings, just about the goals the video game designers were working towards. He wasn’t concerned with playing nice, just with people delivering on expected results. It continued even on to the point where he challenged the Macintosh team lead, reviving a previously dead and listless project. If something is not right around you, make it known and make the necessary changes. If someone is doing something wrong or not performing promised duties, it is a key leadership and life quality to be able to challenge them and work towards making it right.
Learn how to negotiate.
Negotiating is something that happens everyday in your life, whether you realize it or not. Knowing how to negotiate so that you do not sell yourself short or cheat the other party is an extremely valuable skill not often taught. Creating a win-win situation out of a negotiation leaves a favorable impression of you in the other party’s mind, which increases the possibility of further favors.
Do the tough jobs, the leg work.
At one point in the biopic, while challenging the attitude and work ethic of Daniel Kottke, Jobs makes the assertion that he has made over 200 phone calls, most to no avail. Two hundred! That is an example of the grunt work and the type of menial tasks that successful people like Steve Jobs were willing to do in order to move forward in life.
Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
It is important to realize that success in life is not a destination, but a grueling process, one that includes tasks that may seem mundane. You may have to make 200 phone calls and be rejected each time, only to find what you were seeking on call #201. But don’t give up! You will learn many valuable lessons in the process, and will be better for it in the end. Thomas Edison tried and failed over 10,000 times in the creation of the light bulb!
Learn how to effectively market yourself.
Know your worth and do not settle.
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.
It is vital in life to know exactly what you have to offer and to portray that properly. This tip applies in your professional and personal life, whether applying for a job or on a first date. Underselling yourself will definitely cap your potential, and exaggerating your abilities and characteristics will eventually come back to haunt you.
Demand greatness from those around you.
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
In your personal journey toward success, you may find that other people will not possess the same drive and determination. But demanding the best from the people around you fights against the attitude of complacency, and will weed out people who do not belong in your circle. Demanding excellence is an effective way of lifting people to reach towards their potential.
Be a leader, not a specialist.
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
Even early on in the infant stages of what would become the Apple company, Steve Jobs acted with the realization that although he had a great idea and vision, he could not accomplish anything alone. He looked at his vision and recruited people who were willing to help and/or the best at that particular task. This way, the maximum work that could be accomplished was greater than what he could get done alone, and he had time to focus on new ideas, building off of what had already been created. These designers, board makers, public relation directors, and CEOs may have been better at their individual and specific tasks, but it was Steve Jobs who drove the vision, the reason and motivation why they came to work each day. In life, as a leader, it is important not to get lost in the details but to keep the “big picture” in mind.
Have PASSION for what you do.
It [what you choose to do] has got to be something that you’re passionate about because otherwise you won’t have the perseverance to see it through. You’ve got to find what you love… 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.
Have you learned any other life and leadership lessons from “Jobs” the movie or the life of Steve Jobs? Share below.