Steve Jobs died yesterday. He personified what fiscal conservatism can do to generate wealth from ideas that create new products, new industries and transform the world. How fitting his name was “Jobs” — he was the embodiment of a jobs creator. The stimulus he needed was not exacted by force from taxpayers. He raised the money to start Apple Computer by selling his VW van and grew it by selling great products at a profit and attracting investors.
My first computer was a 512K Macintosh that my father bought in November 1984 to help me with my writing career. I’d seen a Mac demo at a Washington Independent Writers conference. The beauty of its fonts took my breath away. I often tell my father this was one of the best investments of his life because my Macintosh let me be an entrepreneur as a writer, desktop publisher and computer consultant. I would not have been able to hold down a job and take care of my late life partner, who had multiple sclerosis, so the Macintosh was a godsend. I also taught my dad, brother and nephew how to use the Macintosh so we were all early adopters. My father wrote his second and third books on Macintosh computers.
For my birthday this week, with the IRS tax levy, I got some of the bitter medicine that Jobs talks about in his 2005 commencement address at Stanford after he survived a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Here are the excerpts that are the most meaningful to me now at this crossroads in my life (boldfacing mine):
I didn’t see it then, but 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.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
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 important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.