Monday, October 10, 2011

Steve Jobs and your iCareer

The world is still mourning the loss of Steve Jobs, the technology visionary who helped popularize the personal computer. Leading a fascinating yet private life, he opened up to a group of graduates in his now famous Stanford Commencement Speech. His oration-particularly regarding his formative years in college-reminds us of the essentials ingredients of creating a career that is as unique as we iCareer, if you will.

Stop "doing:" Jobs dropped out of Reed College after realizing that he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life but his schooling was driving his parents into poverty. Calling it the "best decision he ever made," he stopped walking down the traditional path of high school to college to job because he knew that it wasn't working for him. In essence, he stopped "doing." We tend to associate not "doing" with lack of ambition or motivation. Jobs, however, learned that sometimes to "do" one needs to "not do." It affected his life, and impacted the world, profoundly.

Embracing your circumstances: When Jobs was poor and in college, he described how he slept on friends' floors, collected and returned soda bottles for money, and walked great distances for one good meal every week at a religious temple. He didn't get mired down in the unfortunateness of his circumstances: he survived in spite of them. His example serves as a reminder that when it comes to our careers there are highs and lows; how we approach our problems determines the measure of our character and the level of our success.

"Curiosity and intuition:" Free of the college's requirements, Jobs "dropped-in" on classes and pursued his own interests. He speaks rapturously about-of all topics-calligraphy and how studying it greatly influenced the design of the Macintosh. He credited studying calligraphy and what he learned about design as being a key element to Macintosh's success. By pursuing his curiosity and intuition-without a concern about how he was going to "use" this knowledge-lead to the creation of one of the greatest devices in history.

The core message of Jobs's collegiate years is one of trust, realizing that you are not able to connect the dots at the beginning of your journey, only the end. Very few people will experience the level of success and influence that he has. But-and I feel he would agree with me-if we were to pursue our passions and trust in ourselves more than we currently do, there would be more magically alive people on this earth creating and designing wonderful things that propel us towards peace and prosperity.

Be relentlessly unafraid. Be hopeful. And, above all, trust yourself.

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