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Once in a blue moon, there are humans that do the impossible. They innovate, inspire and change the world as we know it. In a sense, they bend reality. One might ask how this is possible and even resort to labeling these people “superhumans” or “geniuses.” In reality, they are humans just like you and me, and the cause of their greatness can be traced to just one underlying characteristic: their ability to “think different.”
As kids, we have a view of reality that is untethered. Anything is possible, and there are no boundaries to what we can create or become: The world is our oyster. However, as we grow older, we are bombarded with superiors telling us what is and isn’t possible, and we inherit a plethora of limited beliefs that are only true in the sense that we believe them. We adopt these limited beliefs and continue the cycle by putting the same limitations on the younger generations to come.
Luckily, there are the mighty few who break free of these limitations and therefore tap into the level of superhuman genius that truly lies within us all. One of these select few individuals is Steve Jobs. Although he was a very controversial person, it is undisputed that his presence here on earth changed millions upon millions of lives. Below are three of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes and the lessons they offer in business and life.
First up, we have a simple yet powerful response that was given during a Q&A interview.
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it … Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
Most people go through life with the idea that they are inferior to something or someone above them. They unconsciously base their one life on the notion that they are limited to outer forces and other people. They believe that they must wait on their parents, teachers, friends, government, etc. to create the business, circumstances and life they desire. While this mentality leads to nothing but waiting our lives away, Jobs’ quote dares us to step into our own creativity and make life happen for ourselves. Once we understand this idea, we can then act from courage rather than timidity, and any act of courage inspires others to believe not only in ourselves, but also in our businesses and brands.
Next up, we have one of my favorite quotes spoken during Jobs’ famous Stanford commencement address.
“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 importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
When it comes to business and life, our human nature tends to force us to want to fit in. We don’t want to be too different and risk being perceived as weird or outside of social norms. However, Jobs taught us that to be great and inspire real change, we must take the risk to be different. True genius lies in our ability to “think different” and take the unwavering leap outside of the norm. What person or business that is regarded as “genius” or “legendary” has ever earned that recognition from doing things like everyone else? None. Businesses that are daring enough to question the status quo and follow their inner intuition rather than dogma are always remembered and revered.
Lastly, we have a quote mentioned in perhaps one of the most innovative and successful Apple advertising campaigns of all time.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Perhaps my favorite quote of all time, this symbolizes the basis of greatness. We are all born on this planet with one life and one chance to express ourselves. Unfortunately, most of us resort to diminishing all genuine expression and contribution because of negative experiences and societal beliefs that we unconsciously give the power to shut off our genius. To be viewed as crazy in a world that constantly breeds contempt and normalcy is the greatest act of courage imaginable. Be courageous enough to be crazy, and crazy enough to truly believe you can change the world — because if you don’t, you won’t.
All of the points above are similar in nature and powerful in their application. Business can be a brutal playing field just like life in general; however, to rise above and reach our potential, we must “think different.” We must be willing to sacrifice the comfort of normalcy and let go of our inherited beliefs that limit our dreams, finding our way back to the child-like wonder we all had access to at one time. In doing so, we too can leave a mark on the world and go down in history as geniuses in our own form.