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13 Inspiring Life Lessons from Steve Jobs

13 Inspiring Life Lessons from Steve Jobs
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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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