Steve Jobs set extremely high expectations for others. He challenged the people around him to work harder, work longer, and accomplish more than they imagined was possible.
1. "Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become."
Think of all the things you've wanted to do but never have. What did you do instead?
If you're like me, you can't recall. All that time is gone, and whatever I did instead wasn't even worth remembering. Think about something you dreamed of doing five or 10 years ago but didn't do--and think about how good you'd be today at that thing if you had. Think about all the time you wasted and can never get back.
Sure, the work might have been hard. Sure, the work might have been painful. But the pain of effort is always less than the pain of thinking back on what will never be.
If you have a great opportunity and the only thing holding you back is the thought of moving, move. If you want to be closer to family or friends and the only thing holding you back is the thought of moving, move. If you want to be closer to people who think and feel and act like you, move.
Don't worry; you'll soon find cool new places to hang out. You'll soon develop new routines. You'll soon make new friends. When the fear of moving is the only thing holding you back, move. You'll meet cool new people, do cool new things, and gain a cool new perspective on your life.
Besides: Thomas Wolfe was wrong. If it doesn't work out, you can go home again. (Even if just for a couple of hours.)
2. "I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."
Everyone says they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. Most people who do go there think, "Wait...no one else is here...why am I doing this?" And they leave, never to return.
That's why the extra mile is such a lonely place.
That's also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.
Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment.
Don't wait to be asked--offer. Don't just tell employees what to do--show them what to do, and work beside them.
Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do...especially if other people aren't doing that extra thing.
Sure, it's hard. But that's what will make you different.
And over time, that's what will make you successful.
3. "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. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
One of the biggest reasons people don't start doing, well, anything is that they think the first step must be a component in a comprehensive grand plan--one where every step is charted and every milestone identified....
And because they don't have that plan, they don't start. They need to see an end before they see a beginning.
Plans are never perfect. Only in hindsight does it appear that way. What really happens is that people do things, try things, succeed at things, fail at things, learn from those failures, learn from those successes...and along the way they seize--and create--opportunities to advance themselves.
If you're interested in something, try it. Don't worry about where it might someday lead.
The dots will someday connect. And in the meantime, your life will be a lot more interesting.
4. "My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other's kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That's how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person, they're done by a team of people."
Some of your employees drive you nuts. Some of your customers are obnoxious. Some of your friends are selfish, all-about-me jerks.
Stop whining. You chose them.
If the people around you make you unhappy, it's not their fault. It's your fault. They're in your professional or personal life because you drew them to you--and you let them remain.
Think about the type of people you want to work with. Think about the types of customers you would enjoy serving. Think about the friends you want to have.
Then, change what you do so you can start attracting those people. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Kind people like to associate with kind people.
Exceptional employees want to work for exceptional bosses.
Be the best you can be, and work to surround yourself with people who are even better.
5. "My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time."
Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but usually not in a good way. Most people, given two weeks to complete a task, will instinctively adjust their effort so it actually takes two weeks--even if it shouldn't.
So forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity. Tasks should only take as long as they need to take. Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then, use your "free" time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively.
Average people allow time to impose its will on them; exceptional people impose their will on their time.
6. "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations."
Ask most people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns like "I" and "me." Only occasionally will you hear "we."
Then ask them why they failed. Most will revert to childhood and instinctively distance themselves, like a kid who says, "My toy got broken..." instead of, "I broke my toy." They'll say the economy tanked. They'll say the market wasn't ready. They'll say their suppliers couldn't keep up.
They'll say it was someone or something else.
And by distancing themselves, they don't learn from their failures.
Occasionally, something completely outside our control will cause us to fail. Most of the time, though, it's us. And that's OK. Every successful person has failed, numerous times. Most of them have failed a lot more often than we have. That's why they're successful now.
Embrace every failure. Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently.
7. "I didn't return to Apple to make a fortune. I've been very lucky in my life and already have one. When I was 25, my net worth was $100 million or so. I decided then that I wasn't going to let it ruin my life. There's no way you could ever spend it all, and I don't view wealth as something that validates my intelligence."
Money is important. Money does a lot of things. (One of the most important is to create choices.)
But after a certain point, money doesn't make people happier. After about $75,000 a year, money doesn't buy more (or less) happiness. "Beyond $75,000...higher income is neither the road to experience happiness nor the road to relief of unhappiness or stress," says a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
And if you don't buy that, here's another take, from William David Meek: "The materialistic drive and satisfaction with life are negatively related." (Or in non-research speak, "Chasing possessions tends to make you less happy.")
Think of it as the bigger-house syndrome. You want a bigger house. You need a bigger house. (Not really, but it sure feels like you do.) So you buy it. Life is good...until a couple months later, when your bigger house is now just your house.
New always becomes the new normal.
That's because "things" only provide momentary bursts of happiness. To be happier, don't chase as many things. Chase experiences.
Someday you won't remember what you had...but you'll never forget what you did.
8. "Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."
For most of us, failure isn't the end of the world. Failure is just the end of an idea or a possibility or a dream. When we fail, we can move on to something else, with luck a little wiser and a lot more likely to succeed.
Failing can be incredibly painful...but never being able to take a chance on your skills, your experience, and your vision is much worse.
Pick yourself up and try again. See the past as just training--training that makes you more prepared to succeed next time.
9. "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."
Don't know what you're passionate about? No problem. Pick something interesting. Pick something financially viable--something people will pay you to do or provide.
Then work hard. Improve your skills, whether at managing, selling, creating, implementing...whatever expertise your business requires. The satisfaction and fulfillment of small victories will give you the motivation to keep working hard. Small victories will motivate you to further develop your skills.
The satisfaction of achieving one level of success will spur you on to gain the skills to reach the next level, and the next, and the next.
And one day, you will wake up feeling incredibly fulfilled--because you're doing great work, work you've grown to love.