Steve Jobs was the sort of visionary that comes along just once in a lifetime. Since cofounding Apple Computer in 1976, he has changed nearly every facet of society, from how we communicate to how we enjoy music to how we create. But to hear him tell it, there is nothing extraordinary about his life’s work; he simply found something he loved doing and then did it every single day of his life.
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money,” Jobs once said. “It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” To that end, Jobs was a big proponent of streamlining other aspects of his life so that he could dedicate all of his brain space and precious time to his creativity and pursuing his dreams. (Take, for instance, his signature black turtleneck, blue jeans, and New Balance sneakers look.) He set his sights on his goals early on and didn’t waver from them, regardless of public perception. And he always paid attention to details, prizing quality over quantity every time.
These 15 quotes reveal Jobs’ perspective on what it takes to be successful in your own right. To call Jobs an ambitious man would be an understatement, but for him, being able to wake up every day and do the things he loved was undoubtedly the pinnacle of his success.
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 do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.
Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.
When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.
Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.
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.
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. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.
We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life.