January 1, 2016

Why Steve Jobs Should Be Remembered As A Great Philosopher Rather Than Just A Great Innovator?

Steve Jobs is regarded as one of the great innovators of all times, and rightly so. He has given many wonderful and game-changing gadgets to the world. One can instantly think of names such as iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and many more to justify him being called a great innovator.

 

It is useful to think of his contributions in the right perspective. What Steve Jobs did in technological arena is surely important. However, many things he said and epitomized when it comes to living life are much more important.

It's hard to imagine what kind of gadgets will be there in the world 100 years from now. For all you know, the iPhones and iPads  a century later may be unlike the iPhones and iPads of today. And they may be created not by Apple but by companies which are yet to get incorporated.

However, the way Steve Jobs conducted his life and the thoughts he shared on various occasions in respect of life as well as death have strong philosophical underpinnings.

One good example is his commencement address at Stanford in 2005 (http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html). These thoughts were as relevant 10 years back as they will be 100 years later and in fact beyond that and forever.

The following paragraph from that speech so beautifully captures why trust on yourself and on destiny is so much needed and so important. It clearly highlights  that you cannot plan the course of your life very precisely. The idea is to do your best and to God leave the rest.

"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

Another paragraph as quoted below is about finding your true calling in life. If you do what you would anyway love to, then you would be happy whether you are professionally successful or not. It follows from the above paragraph also that success depends on you and several factors many of which you have no or minimal control upon. So you should focus on finding work you would enjoy till you die and do it with passion and perseverance.

And if you turn out to be successful that's like the icing on the cake. In this context one example you can think of is of Guy Spier who found that value investing like Warren Buffet is his calling in life and got into that. He may never become Warren Buffet but he will perhaps be always happy about what he does for living since he got into doing what he would have wanted to.

"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."

Another paragraph given below is so profoundly true. It is crystal clear in terms of the meaning of life and death. It is always important to think about 100 years later (when you would, in fact, be dead) to put things in their right perspective as captured in http://random-reflections-thoughts-blog.blogspot.in/2010/12/feeling-down-think-100-years-later.html.

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. 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."

The following paragraph talks about the ephemeral nature of our existence. This is a philosophical master-piece. It shows the circle of life, and its ultimate culmination in death.

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true."

And finally, here's the paragraph that shows the way to live your life. You should choose how to live it based on what you love to do, what you want to be and what you think is right.

"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."

The above are but a few philosophical nuggets from Steve Jobs that are so apt, so profound and so very useful for anyone who wants to live their life on their very own terms.

One thing they indicate towards though is quite clear - Steve Jobs should be remembered as a great philosopher rather than just a great innovator.

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