I just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. Great book by the way – if you like stories of innovation and inspiration as I do. One of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs – and there are many – is this:
“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.” – Steve Jobs
If you’re anything like me you’ve had that dream of being naked in front of an audience at least once. At some point, someone pointed to you and said, “you ain’t that good” or “that’s too hard, don’t even try.” Chances are it was the mirror doing so.
Further, if you’re anything like me you’ve had dreams – usually of the daytime variety – that haven’t materialized for one reason or another. My excuse inventory included: I don’t have the resources, I don’t know enough, or my talent and skills don’t run that deep – blah, bah – you know, the usual stuff.
A few things are now blindingly clear to me.
- Skill trumps talent in the long run.
- Ignore reality. If you want it bad enough it will happen.
- Discard plan “B” because it distracts from plan “A”.
- Fear is the biggest obstacle you’ll face.
- Doing anything beats simply thinking about doing great things. Do something; lay a brick the best way you know how.
Fear runs deep. We can conquer fear but fear of fear is yet one level harder. It’s best to remember Steve Job’s quote; “… you’re already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Historically – and perhaps some of you can relate – my biggest personal challenge has been finding the right passion to follow. I’m your classic shiny object chaser. They say, “Love what you do beyond reason because any rational person would give up.” Yet, after a time, it seems as though meaning leaks out. My conclusion: That thing you love to needs to touch something in others or its endurance fails; most products are disposable, build something that endures.
Settle for building a successful business and it will close – it’s the basic difference between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Both are great business men but Gates eventually bailed from Microsoft to find meaning – Microsoft is irrelevant. Jobs found meaning in what he built and ended up changing the world through Apple.
I thought I’d share this short video [uploaded at this youtube channel] that a few Facebook friends help me discover. Will Smith – yes, that Will Smith – talks motivation, hard work, talent, skill and passion. Well worth the 4 minutes.