2010 Inspiration from Steve Jobs

Here's an inspiring way to start 2010. It's a clip of Apple CEO Steve Jobs talking to Stanford University students about three key stories from his life, focusing on the need to follow your passion. Thanks to the Emotive Brand tweet that tipped me off to Meridith Bell's post. 

Its one of the occasional posts here which is a bit off branding, and more about life.

The key messages are discussed below, and you can click to watch the video (15" long, but worth it). The entire text is here.

Picture 1

1. You can only join up the dots when you look back:

The first point is about trusting your intuition when you feel you want to go "off-piste". Later in life when you look back, this may make more sense and you may be able to "join up the dots" between the things you did.

Jobs took a college course in calligraphy, learning about different typefaces, and how the spacing of letters worked. At the time this course was off course for a tech dude. However, 10 years
later, he used this learning when designing the Macintosh computer, the first computer with beautiful typography and multiple typefaces, something we now take for granted.

2. Failure can fire creativity

The second point is about how failure can fire creativity and personal growth. At the age of 30 Jobs was fired from Apple by the guy he hired, John Sculley. At the time this was a personal disaster. But as he says: "It turned out that 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
, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of
the most creative periods of my life."

And what a creative period. Jobs started not one but two revolutionary companies: Pixar Animation (maker of Toy Story, Up and The Incredibles) and NeXT, the computer firm that was later bought by Apple, and whose technology was key to the the new generation of Macs.

I love that bit about the lightness of being a
Keeping the enthusiasm for the basic craft I started 20 years ago is somthing I strive to stay in touch with myself.

3. Do what you love. Love what you do

The next point builds on some of the themes in one of my most popular posts from 2009, on being in your element. Its about chosing to work in an are where you have a true passion. Jobs says "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

4. Live today, this month, this year, likes its your last

OK, I know this is a bit over-the-top. But it is true. Jobs was told he had incurable pancreatic cancer, even though he later found out it was in fact a rare type of cancer that was curable. This really focused his mind on being sure what he was doing was really what he wanted to do, and losing the fear. Jobs says: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life?
Remembering you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of
thinking you have something to lose. There is no
reason not to follow your heart."

Pretty inspiring stuff I think to kick off 2010 in the right frame of mind. Follow your passion, listen to your intution and see failure as fuel for creativity.