Make Something Wonderful

Steve Jobs:

There’s lots of ways to be, as a person. And some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.

And you never meet the people. You never shake their hands. You never hear their story or tell yours. But somehow, in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something’s transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation. So we need to be true to who we are and remember what’s really important to us.

Laurene Powell Jobs:

The best way to understand a person is to listen to that person directly. And the best way to understand Steve is to listen to what he said and wrote over the course of his life. His words—in speeches, interviews, and emails—offer a window into how he thought. And he was an exquisite thinker.

Much of what’s in these pages reflects guiding themes of Steve’s life: his sense of the worlds that would emerge from marrying the arts and technology; his unbelievable rigor, which he imposed first and most strenuously on himself; his tenacity in pursuit of assembling and leading great teams; and perhaps, above all, his insights into what it means to be human.

Steve once told a group of students, “You appear, have a chance to blaze in the sky, then you disappear.” He gave an extraordinary amount of thought to how best to use our fleeting time. He was compelled by the notion of being part of the arc of human existence, animated by the thought that he — or that any of us — might elevate or expedite human progress.

It is hard enough to see what is already there, to gain a clear view. Steve’s gift was greater still: he saw clearly what was not there, what could be there, what had to be there. His mind was never a captive of reality. Quite the contrary: he imagined what reality lacked and set out to remedy it. His ideas were not arguments, but intuitions, born of a true inner freedom and an epic sense of possibility.

In these pages, Steve drafts and refines. He stumbles, grows, and changes. But always, always, he retains that sense of possibility.

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Steve Jobs on Intelligence

Steve Jobs:

A lot of [what it means to be smart] is the ability to zoom out, like you’re in a city and you could look at the whole thing from the 80th floor down at the city. And while other people are trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B reading these stupid little maps, you could just see it in front of you. You can see the whole thing.

And:

You have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does, or else you’re gonna make the same connections and you won’t be innovative. […] You might want to think about going to Paris and being a poet for a few years. Or you might want to go to a third-world country — I’d highly advise that. Falling in love with two people at once. Walt Disney took LSD, do you know that?

Alan Trapulionis:

Some time ago, I did an exercise where I tried to recall the key turning points in my life. After a while, I realized that it was never a “genius idea” or “an amazing realization” that shaped my path — but people.

I’d meet someone. I’d have my core assumptions challenged. We’d do something together that I’d never think of doing on my own. In the end, I’d be left with experiences and lessons that I never would’ve been able to get just by my own intellectual effort.

Leonardo da Vinci:

To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.

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Curious

CNBC:

When prompted to describe Jobs using just one word, Cook chose “curious.”

During the same panel, philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs shared a little-known insight into her late-husband’s curiosity, saying that Jobs called multiple people — including business leaders from industries beyond tech — to ask them what trends they were seeing and what was on their minds.

“He had a list of people he called, and he just would ask them what’s going on,” Powell Jobs said, adding: “He would just pick people’s brains constantly, which was really interesting. I think it’s not a widely spoken-about trait of his.”

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Break the Chain

Steve Pavlina:

What’s the most important thing you want to do before you die?

Consider beginning sooner than you think is possible. If you delay for another day, you’ll very likely delay for another after that… and another… and another. You’ll reinforce the habit of delaying indefinitely, and your desire will probably never happen.

Break that chain by starting today. Just lean into the new possibility space with one 5-minute action. Then repeat the next day… and the next… and the next. Otherwise if you establish the pattern of delay, it will very likely stack right up to the moment of death.

If what’s most important to you has no actionable presence in your reality today, then it has no presence in your reality, not even in your future. That’s not entirely accurate of course since you always could do something later, but the bigger risk is conditioning the mental habit of telling yourself that you could do something later… right up to the point of death. It’s safer to begin stacking the important patterns into your life today.

Death can be one of life’s greatest teachers if you take it seriously. It’s one of reality’s best mechanisms for reminding us not to delay what matters to us.

Steve Jobs:

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.

(…)

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

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