What we Learned from Steve Jobs – 16 Lessons on Life and Entrepreneurship from a Creative Genius

What we learned from Steve Jobs‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life’
-Steve Jobs 1955 -2011

Every generation has given birth to a few selected individuals who have left their mark in shaping the world by being the visionaries, the innovators, the rebels, the inventors, the leaders and the creative geniuses. Steve Jobs was one of them, as the technological advancements he presented us with, have enhanced the quality of our lives in unique ways.

As the media around the world are buzzing with tributes to his life and his contribution to technology and society at large, I would like to focus with this article on what we have learned as a global community from Steve Jobs, including some of the gems of inspiration and popular inspirational ‘quotes’ he has left us with, that will be perpetuated for generations to come:

1.      You don’t need a college degree to succeed

Steve Jobs was a college dropout and he spend some time taking different classes trying to decide what he wanted to do in life .  The way to succeed is to find out what you love to do, what you’re passionate about, decide how you can offer true value and innovation to society doing what you love and work very hard at it – this usually has nothing to do with whether you have graduated from university.

2.      Don’t be trapped in other people’s limited thinking

“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’ as quoted by Steve Jobs

3.      Trust that the dots will connect – have the courage to follow your heart and intuition

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”….
….”You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will made all the difference.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs

4.      Remember that you will be dead soon, don’t waste your life

Jobs long battle with cancer made him re-evaluate how important is every day of our life to be well spent.
‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these …things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart’ …..
…..”If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

5.      There are no excuses when you have a life purpose

The first Apple products where assembled in his garage. Steve Jobs parents were a working class family and he did not have any additional support than any other average person his age. If you are committed, you don’t make excuses.

6.      Focus on quality, innovation and value, reasonably priced for the masses

Jobs produced the fastest, most innovative, most elegant-looking and best quality computers in the market and he made them available for everyone with reasonable pricing. As the products range grew, the quality, service and innovation of his products, remained very high and kept improving. That was what conquered the world.

7.      Quantum Leaps in life are feasible

The creation of the iPod was only one of the examples. In 2005, due to Apple’s innovation with the introduction of the iPod, the music industry was revolutionized. For the first time in history people could carry with them in a small portable device their entire music library! That was a quantum leap in music consumption and affected the growth of the whole industry of music and how music reaches our hands today.

8.      There is always room to create new market needs

There is room to create gabs that consumers do not even know that exist. He created a new category of devices, firstly the iPhone – a mix of iPod, smartphone and internet device and then the iPad – a mix between the laptop and a smartphone. Both products took the market by storm, although there wasn’t any obvious need for them in the market before they were created.

9.      Technology can be stylish and fashionable

Jobs paid a lot of attention in creating stylish and aesthetically good looking products, something that had never been done before in the world of computers and technology. His products created fashion trends and that was one more reason they stood out.

10.  Let your inspiration and creativity run free

Jobs was a real life example to everyone, that when you let your creativity and imagination run free, when you don’t put boundaries on what is possible and you don’t hold back from taking action to implement, you can really produce ideas, movements and things that can make a difference in the world.

11.  Do something wonderful with your life

Jobs always said that he never build the Apple empire with money in mind “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.”

12.  You can overcome adversity and triumph under any circumstances

’Sometimes Life’s gonna hit you in the head with a brick, don’t lose faith’. He was fired from the company he created in very public fallout, he experienced public humiliation in the process, but he found the strength to move on and create new innovations. He fought cancer for 7 years while continuing to create some of the most innovative devices on the planet. If you love what you do, you don’t let anything stop you.

13.  Sometimes adversity is the best thing that can happen to you

He admitted that being fired from Apple was the best thing that ever happened to him. He made him reassess his life and create more wonderful things in the future. ‘It was awful tasting medicine but I guess the patient needed it’ Jobs said about the experience.

14.  The only way to be satisfied in life, it’s to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle

“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. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

15.  Health cannot be bought and cancer does not discriminate

The cure is yet to be found. When technology is making quantum leaps, the pharmaceutical industries are still presenting us very limited cancer treatment solutions.

16.  Stay hungry, stay foolish

As a 1995 Apple advertisement very accurately put it “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do” and Steve Jobs proved to be one of them. I am finishing this blog post with this wonderful inspirational Apple advertisement ‘Think Different’:



“A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.” ~ Steve Jobs

The exclusive biography of the inspirational legend Steve Jobs is currently has been released on Amazon October 24th 2011:

12 Responses

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  2. Hi Pavlina,

    Great lessons from an immortal man!

    I really love number 14:

    14. The only way to be satisfied in life, it’s to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle.

    This is a very balanced idea. I know people who “don’t settle”. Never. And although that is better than just being lazy in your comfortable live, it is not necessary an expression of love.

    Steve Jobs lesson is certainly an expression of love.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I just cant believe it has happened. I knew he was ill, and i knew it was of Pancreatic Cancer which is more or less incurable, but for it to happen is still a shock. I did actually, for a split second, think that when he stepped down from CEO that that was it for him and he was not long away, but never for a second wanted to believe that. Such an inspirational person and one the whole world will miss. I am unbelievably sad right now. Rest in Peace Steve.

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