The excellent biography of Steve Jobs, published earlier this year spoke volumes to me.
I learned ten life lessons by reading about this great man’s life.
- Passion pays off.
Jobs believed in his cause. He had set backs but never allowed these to derail him. When interviewed toward the end of his life, he told Walter Isaacson that the ability to focus has helped him a great deal.
ACTION: write down all your passions on one sheet of paper
2. Somebody packs your parachute:
Jobs is celebrated as a visionary and someone who changed the world and how we communicate. Not all people will agree. But as I read the book I saw how there were always other great people who helped Apple produce great products (By the way if you doubt their products are great explain why the competition does not bother selling tablets; ask Hewlett Packard why they dropped out of the race) Jobs did well but he could not have succeeded without A players.
ACTION: who are the A players in your life?
3. Being original is tough:
In a recent New Yorker piece Malcolm Gladwell convincingly shows how Jobs took ideas that existed and tweaked it. He took an idea and improved it. I suppose that is why some people argue over plagiarism or who had an idea first
ACTION: What ideas that already are out there can you improve on?
4. Early influences in life matter:
Jobs was adopted. It bothered him for the rest of his life.
ACTION: Do you carry baggage of your past?
5. Success comes at a cost to families:
Jobs admitted that he neglected his family. It is not ideal to do that but sadly too often this happens
ACTION: Do you neglect your family when pursuing your passions?
6. We all are looking for something:
Jobs searched for enlightenment and found peace in Zen living. It explains why he wanted things to be simple yet efficient.
ACTION: Where do you find your inner peace and will that last or will you have to look somewhere else again…and again?
7. All life’s events add up:
Just like each piece of puzzle add up to form a picture, events and chapters in our lives add up to prepare us for what lies ahead
ACTION: Tap into your past lessons and experience and use all of it as you go after goals.
8. Stubborness can kill you:
Jobs was told by his doctors that he has pancreatic cancer and that the next step would be surgery. He refused to listen to them. Perhaps if he did he could have won the battle against cancer.
ACTION: Determination and being steadfast can be good, but what is the cost of being stubborn?
9. Lacking social skills does not doom some:
By his own admission he lacked social graces. Again it is not ideal. And yet he got away with this because he was good at what he did
ACTION: Live by the Golden rule as much as possible and ask the ones you offended for forgiveness.
10. Imitation is a compliment.
One of the most emotionally intense moments were when Jobs talked about how Google (Android phones) copied the iPhone. And yet Jobs copied some Xerox ideas when he was younger. Microsoft is accused too of copying some Apple ideas.
ACTION: Who are your role models and mentors?
Happy 2012 to all of those who follow me and thank you for your support this past year. May it inspire you to take things further, higher and faster in 2012—the year of the Summer Olympics.