What can I say today without reflecting on the fact that Steve Jobs, at the young age of 56 has passed. I can remember being in high school learning how to type on one of the 15 Macintosh computers our high school had in our one computer science lab. I remember the flimsy feel of the floppy disk. Fast forward, and I remember being in my college Intro to Advertising classroom at UT watching some of the best commercials in history, with the 1984 commercial for the Macintosh at the top of the charts. I remember my first iMac. Then my Powerbook. Then of course, trading in my Walkman for an iPod (which turned into ipods). The “I told you so” chants from my friends as I swapped out my Blackberry for my iPhone. In the end, I got the iPad just for fun.
As I listened again to Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement address today, I was reminded of many wonderful pieces of advice and reusable quotes from one of the major innovators of our time. And just how we all as a people are different, we all hear a quote like the following, and feel like it is being said to us, at exactly the time that we need to hear it.
“Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and your own intuition.”
In many a professional life, we sometimes have to make deliberate choices to keep pressing towards our goals. No matter what others say, and no matter how long it takes, we keep going because we just “know” we are on the right path. It is more than often than not very difficult to keep moving forward as self-doubt creeps in. Boy does it come in even faster when the criticisms of people whose opinions you value are spoken as well. I can’t speak for anyone else, but within my experiences, every single time I went against my gut, I was wrong.
“Sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”
I’ll bet there are a lot of you out there that think you can build a house with all the bricks that have hit you in the head. Sometimes I think my house would be the biggest on the block. And when I start feeling that way, the first thing I think about is how I have already won the life lottery by being born in this incredible country. The second thing I think about is all of the learnings I have discovered on the way to where I am today. I don’t always know how things will work out, but I do always have that faith that they will. And if I ever start to lose faith, I take a deep breath, listen to the theme from Rocky, and my faith comes flying back and brings with it a gallon of confidence, and a million dollar smile.
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
The last quote I will reference from the commencement speech, and the title of this entry came from the Whole Earth Catalog: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” I love to challenge myself to do things I might not have been comfortable doing a year ago, much less 10 years ago. And I know for a fact, that the only reason I am able to rise up to these challenges today is because of all the “bricks in the face” that I was able to get past before. There is a way to achieve your goals. There is always a way. There will always be people you know who want to help you. All you have to do is ask. Sometimes you will have to get out of your comfort zone, maybe even feel foolish to get the help you need in order to get to where you want to be. But whether in business or just in life – I promise you, it is worth it. I have been called crazy by many a critic because for about 7 years of my life, I spent my weekends jumping out of airplanes. But I can tell you one thing that I know for sure – by doing that “foolish” thing approximately seven hundred times, I knew that if I put my mind to it, I could achieve anything. Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from jumping.
This one’s for you Steve. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8