“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.” Steve Jobs
Man! Does that quote hit you like a ton of bricks as it does for me? For those of us with a passion for business and the drive to make a dent, there is so much to glean from the mind of the late, great Steve Jobs. When I unpack these words, it gets deep. Today, I’m feeling a bit philosophical so I’ll share some thoughts about this quote. Ready?
It’s all about confidence
There are a lot of really smart people in the world, but it’s true that much of life has been shaped by plain ‘ole regular folk. Frequently, life’s movers and shakers really don’t have anything on the rest of us but confidence. The confidence to be bold and act!
I’ve struggled with self-confidence most of my life. Girl, you know what I mean! Many women will relate to this because of all the pressures society places on females to be beautiful, friendly, talented, respectful, fun-loving, affectionate, kind and basically the perfect friend, lover, mother, and wife. Whew!
My Mama always said I could do anything I put my mind to, but my self-confidence took a beating early on from my peers and a few unfortunate authority figures. Fast forward a number of years and I finally realized a) those people were no longer a threat, and b) I ain’t got time for that NO. MORE. ✋
If you really look around, you’ll notice most businesses are not run by geniuses. Matter of fact, some business owners and leaders are quite unfit. 😳 Sometimes I wonder how in the world they got where they are?! You really don’t need to be brilliant, but you do need to be confident.
I’ve always had this strong urge to not live life by default. There’s something to be said about going with the flow, but what I call “living life by default” is different. It basically implies you are indecisive and can’t make a conscious choice or take any definite action.
Indecision has definitely been a thorn in my side. I hate not being able to decide because it’s a weak position. Why? Because when you can’t or won’t decide, someone else will usually gladly decide for you! If you’re okay with that, it’s fine but it’s not a great approach for a business owner.
In reality, things are the way they are simply because, at some point, someone decided they should be that way. A chair is only a “chair” because a random person labeled it as such. We all have free will to decide what life is going to mean to us!
If you need a little modern help with decision-making, there’s an app or three for that. Here’s an interesting one I found… https://apps.apple.com/us/app/decide-now-random-wheel/id383718755. Could be fun to try!
Poke life and make a dent
“We’ve always done it that way” is a very limited way of thinking. Jobs indicates that we’re able to “poke” life in order to change it, mold it and make a dent. He says “Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
Someone who really poked life was social activist Myles Horton. He riled things up down South with his Highlander Folk School, founded in 1932, which played an important role in the civil rights movement. Horton trained key figures including the young Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. There’s also a documentary about it called You Got To Move.
I’m not a history buff, but years ago I decided to casually check out Bill Moyer’s interview with Horton after a coffee colleague told me about him. It’s 2 hours long, but interesting and relevant — especially if you’re an educator or into history. While most schools indoctrinate people to fit into the status quo, Highlander encouraged people to be creators and taught them to motivate themselves so they could take control of their own lives.
Which brings us right back to Steve Jobs… Ordinary people doing extraordinary things!
So, get poking! The world needs your big idea. What is one thing you can do today to get you further toward your goal? Take one small step.
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” Steve Jobs