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13 Inspiring Life Lessons from Steve Jobs

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13 Inspiring Life Lessons from Steve Jobs

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.

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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.

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Be persistent!

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.

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Delegate tasks.

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.

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CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding is the Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network, building leaders and connections in and between humans.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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