I want to do something prolific. I want to have an affect on the world. I want to right wrongs and save the millions of suffering children in the world. But mostly, I want to grow up to be just like Steve Jobs.
It’s a pretty impressive feat when you think about it… Boy gets adopted by middle/lower class parents who promise to pay for college. Boy goes to college with parents money only to find that it really isn’t work wasting their hard earned savings. Boy drops out, has an idea and changes the world forever.
Anyone in their right mind would have said, “Push through, keep going, join the grind like all the rest.” But would Steve have listened? I don’t think so. That was really his key to everything. His most profound moment. He wouldn’t be sucked in by the idea of what was supposed to happen and how he was supposed to act. He just did what he felt was what he wanted to do and ran with it. In his big Stanford speech that he gave back in 2005 he shared his secret. “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” A final farewell quote from the inspired minds behind the Whole Earth Catalogue, which he humbling borrowed. Steve stated that he not only wished it for himself, but for also for us. It was the greatest learned advice he had to share with the world and he did it with grace.
However, he left many ways in which to interpret this fruitful message. Granted, that was probably the Great Man’s point in wrapping up a graduation speech: Leave an arbitrary message that resonates with the crowd and can be pondered and recycled for years.
I won’t deny that I saw that speech as posthumous advice from my dear mentor. Six years ago, I barely new my foot from my ass as a lowly high school senior who couldn’t figure out if she liked beer or wine coolers better. I am, therefore, extremely grateful that it was now, in this time of my life, that I came across such a meaningful manifesto. Yes, I watched it many times (almost to the point of memorization) and I cried many times. To me, his words resonated because they inspired to the point of exaltation. Hell, I wanted to quick my job, start a search engine in my garage and watch it grow into a multi-billion dollar corporation… that was until I realized that dream was a thing of the past. That dream had already become a reality. Jobs never had interest in doing what ‘was’ or ‘had been’… he barely had time for what ‘is’. Steve, in his shining moment said, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Well, that tells me that my hero only had time for the Future. The future is what is important, where we are going is more important than anything here and now. If you want to do something meaningful, something incredible, something unbelievable, it MUST be fresh, original. That is what he meant by stay hungry. If we are comfortable here and now, we will not create the future, merely more of the present. And, in order to reject fear of an unknown future, we MUST be foolish. For only a fool would give up his perfect college degree, perfect job opportunity and perfect life for just a chance to do something amazing. The future has no guarantees, no certainty. Jobs was the best example of this as he played job hokey-pokey with Apple and consistently made mistakes throughout his career. He was the biggest ‘durak’ of them all. It came with the territory. A fool can make hundreds of mistakes, but all he needs is one good idea to take flight. Jobs new this; he appreciated this reality and, as he did with Macintosh, he ran with it.
So, what do we take from all of this? One thing really…
Be like Steve Jobs. Be brave enough to be the first one to step into the future.