Friday, October 7, 2011

Thoughts On Steve Jobs And Being Different

With the passing of Steve Jobs its quite obvious that not too many people knew all that much about him; I can only wonder with the release of his official biography slated for October 24th if we will get any clearer picture of the man.

On one hand, we are told that he was a tyrant and a bully, but for a multitude, he was a genius, worthy of imitating.  Sadly, imitating and or learning from Steve Jobs will not benefit anyone, because he marched to his own "drummer," and to learn anything from Steve would require one to find their own "drummer" rather than attempting to duplicate someone else's.

As Steve said:
“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.”
The truth of the matter is most of us do not have our own "inner voice" nor do we, "...have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."  In Buddhism this is reflected as the lotus:
"The lotus (Sanskrit and Tibetan padma) is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols and one of the most poignant representations of Buddhist teaching.

The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

Though there are other water plants that bloom above the water, it is only the lotus which, owing to the strength of its stem, regularly rises eight to twelve inches above the surface.

According to the Lalitavistara, "the spirit of the best of men is spotless, like the lotus in the muddy water which does not adhere to it."

According to another scholar, 'in esoteric Buddhism, the heart of the beings is like an unopened lotus: when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein, the lotus blossoms; that is why the Buddha sits on a lotus bloom.' "
 In a world that is championing "consumer centric," "individualization and customization," and the need to "interact" with the consumer Steve Jobs stated very bluntly,
“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”
How many people can honestly say:
“I was worth over $1,000,000 when I was 23, and over $10,000,000 when I was 24, and over $100,000,000 when I was 25, and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.”
Very few have any comprehension of what " wasn't that important because I never did it for the money..." feels like or even means.

Fitting in and going along is more apt to bring one success than having the courage to listen to your inner voice.  On one hand people will promote change, innovation, and talk about changing the world only to also want to promote political beliefs that are 235 years old.  Never quite understood why people who make a living in technology and its promise for a better future would be so willing to promote the promise of the past in their political beliefs.  If the horse and buggy is not a viable option for transportation today then why do we want to believe that the thoughts and ideas of our Founding Fathers are the answer for all that ails us politically.  If simpler, smaller, and traditional works as a solution in one part of your life then why does it not work in all parts of your life?

No, lets respect Steve Jobs and rather than attempt to imitate him, lets try to learn to recognize those among us who, "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."  Let's seek them out and nurture them.  Lets have the strength to understand them rather than scorn them.  In closing, lets remember:
“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… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but 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.” 

1 comment:

Geoffrey said...

I don't pretend to know Steve Jobs. I am sure he had some warts; we all do. And I can guarantee there are some things I probably would not have liked about the man. One thing I find interesting and admirable is that he did seem to march to his own drum beat. He is in many ways an antithesis of so much I witness in today's tech world.