I didn’t see it, I didn’t hear, I didn’t know.
I was caught up in the drama of my life and missed the passing of Steve Jobs. On Wednesday, I didn’t hear a word. I arrived at work on Thursday morning and before I even sat in my chair, our art teacher gave me a sheet of paper. She said, “this is for you, something to ponder today.” I love quotes. I was so excited. This is what it said:
Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, althought that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grasp what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experience than other people.
Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enought dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader ones understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have. – Steve Jobs, Wired, February, 1996
I really enjoyed reading it and hung it up on my wall.
Then, moments later, upon checking my email, my boss sent out her quote of the day, “My job is not to be easy on people, my job is to make them better.” -Steve Jobs.
And I thought, “Hmm, two Steve Jobs quotes in minutes? That’s weird.” And still, I knew nothing.
Then, I read the very next email, which is my Word of the Day email. It gave the word, definition, and usage, and then, as always, there was a fun quote at the bottom.
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” -Steve Jobs
Okay, something weird is going on. Then I noticed that after his name, the last one said (1955-2011) and I thought, “that’s strange, they only do that when people are dead.”
No kidding. I’m an idiot.
I then, finally, went to the internet and clicked open Yahoo!. Lo and behold, Steve Jobs was 4 of the top 5 stories. How did I miss this?!?!?!
It was actually a comedy of errors.
And, strangely, I found myself saddened. He was the same age as my mother. That’s far, far, too young to die. He was a brilliant innovator and the world is a bit poorer for all the things he didn’t get to do. Not like we really NEED more technology, but it was incredible to see the things we think and dream turned outside in, every few years, with a new idea from Apple.
I remembered a few years back, Steve Jobs gave the commencement address at Stanford University. There was a lot of buzz at the time about the inspiration in his speech. I think it even may have circled the globe in a few email chains. There was a passage I always particularly liked. I looked it up this morning:
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. 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.
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.
And I remember thinking, upon reading those words, that he is a very wise man, and, that college students are idiots. We’re so young when we finish college, we don’t often stop to reflect on the wisdom of the ages. We’re full of “I did it” and we don’t ask questions of those who’ve had it done for years.
It isn’t until we get there ourselves, until we begin to see the innocence of our own youth that words like that begin to make sense. We can see the road behind us and the road laid out before us and we start to wonder. Am on I the right path? Is this road going to take me where I want to go? Should I be on a road at all? Maybe I should fly…or take a path…or trek through the woods.
That’s what he did. He took a path unlike the one most of us will ever know. He revolutionized the world. He gave us the first Mac, the portable music player, and all the things that start with the tiny i. It may not seem like it to some, but Steve Jobs changed the world, in measurable ways.
But, it was not in just his products that he inspired a genereation, it was in the way that he lived and the way that he dreamed. Dreamers have a tough row to hoe in this world. Dreamers are encouraged to live practically, to choose reality, to make the smart choice. Dreamers whisper while the whole world screams. I am a dreamer. I’ve always been. There are times when I drift and times when I feel that no one can tell, but, still I dream. He may have been just a businessman, be he was also one of the world’s great dreamers and I will miss him.
My dreaming soul will leave you with one final quote, my favorite of all the things he’s ever been quoted as saying.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, about the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~Steve Jobs