Make Something Wonderful

Make Something Wonderful

There’s lots of ways to be, as a person. And some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.

And you never meet the people. You never shake their hands. You never hear their story or tell yours. But somehow, in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something’s transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation. So we need to be true to who we are and remember what’s really important to us.

—Steve, 2007

  • “Your aesthetics get better as you make mistakes.”

  • I don’t think my taste in aesthetics is that much different than a lot of other people’s. The difference is that I just get to be really stubborn about making things as good as we all know they can be. That’s the only difference.

  • The real big thing is: if you’re going to make something, it doesn’t take any more energy—and rarely does it take more money—to make it really great. All it takes is a little more time. Not that much more. And a willingness to do so, a willingness to persevere until it’s really great.

  • Good aesthetics result from just your eye. An instinct of what you see, not so much what you do.

  • I want to build products that are inherently smaller than any of the products on the market today. And when you make things smaller, you have the ability to make them more precisely. Obviously, a perfect example of that is a watch. It’s beautiful, but the precision has to be the scale of the object itself, and so you make it very precise. And as our products get smaller, we have the opportunity to do that. So, obviously, I would like everything to be smaller.

  • What I’m best at doing is finding a group of talented people and making things with them.

  • To me, Apple exists in the spirit of the people that work there, and the sort of philosophies and purpose by which they go about their business. So if Apple just becomes a place where computers are a commodity item and where the romance is gone, and where people forget that computers are the most incredible invention that man has ever invented, then I’ll feel I have lost Apple. But if I’m a million miles away and all those people still feel those things and they’re still working to make the next great personal computer, then I will feel that my genes are still in there.

  • You never achieve what you want without falling on your face a few times.

  • If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.

  • Character is built not in good times, but in bad times.

  • One of the things I always tried to coach myself on was not being afraid to fail. When you have something that doesn’t work out, a lot of times, people’s reaction is to get very protective about never wanting to fall on their face again. I think that’s a big mistake, because you never achieve what you want without falling on your face a few times in the process of getting there. I’ve tried to not be afraid to fail, and, matter of fact, I’ve failed quite a bit since leaving Apple.

  • A lot of companies don’t do that. They hire people to tell them what to do. We hired people to tell us what to do.

  • We are never taught to listen to our intuitions, to develop and nurture our intuitions. But if you do pay attention to these subtle insights, you can make them come true.

  • If you don’t have any of these feelings, called dreams, then you’re in trouble. Before you “spend” four or more years of your life going in a direction your heart may or may not want you to go, you need to recapture them.

  • Be a creative person. Creativity equals connecting previously unrelated experiences and insights that others don’t see.

  • So to be a creative person, you need to “feed” or “invest” in yourself by exploring uncharted paths that are outside the realm of your past experience. Seek out new dimensions of yourself—especially those that carry a romantic scent.

  • But one has no way of knowing which of these paths will lead anywhere in advance. That’s the wonderful thing about it, in a way. The only thing one can do is to believe that some of what you follow with your heart will indeed come back to make your life much richer. And it will. And you will gain an ever firmer trust in your instincts and intuition.

  • Don’t be a career. The enemy of most dreams and intuitions, and one of the most dangerous and stifling concepts ever invented by humans, is the “Career.”

  • Your work is different and separate from the rest of your life. If you are passionate about your life and your work, this can’t be so. They will become more or less one. This is a much better way to live one’s life.

  • Make what you love your work.

  • The journey is the reward. People think that you’ve made it when you’ve gotten to the end of the rainbow and got the pot of gold. But they’re wrong. The reward is in the crossing the rainbow.

  • The worst thing that someone can do in an interview is to agree with me.

  • Your gut feeling gets refined as you hire more people and see how they do. Some you thought would do well don’t, and you can sense why. If you study it a bit you might say, “I thought this person was going to do well, but I overlooked this aspect,” or, “I didn’t think this person would do well, but they did and here’s why.” As you hire people over time, your gut instinct gets better and more precise.

  • Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

“It is always a team of people, and the chemistry between that team of people, that makes great results,”

  • Apple, at the core—its core value—is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. That’s what we believe.

  • People that are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that actually do.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

  • When you get into your fifties—I’m forty-eight, I’m kind of there, pretty much—you’re not grabbing the pencil out of the twenty-five-year-old’s hand to do it better than they are. If you’re smart, you’re hiring twenty-five-year-olds who are smarter than you. You know things that they don’t know, and they know things that you don’t know, and it all works.

  • Optimism and passion is the essential ingredient for innovation. Because it’s really hard. And if you don’t really, really care about what you’re doing, you’re gonna give up if you’re a sane person—because it’s just super hard.

People say you learn more from failures than you do from successes, and that’s probably true. And I’ve made more mistakes than most people I know.

  • You have begun your 20s, and during this decade you will meet many amazing people. And some great teachers - mentors - who you will never forget. But remember, a teacher is someone who stands with you in the dark and holds their flashlight just long enough for you to find your own flashlight.

  • You can’t plan to meet the people who will change your life. It just happens. Maybe its random, maybe its fate. Either way, you can’t plan for it. But you want to recognize it when it happens, and have the courage and clarity of mind to grab onto it.

  • I remember talking to Woz, and saying: “We may fail, but we have no responsibility now, no wives, no kids, no house payments, nothing. If we don’t do this now, we never will. We have nothing to lose - the worst we’ll get out of this is that we’ll have the memories of having gone for it.” To give ourselves the experience of participating in what Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard did– to start a company. So rather than invest in better cars, or better apartments, or our bank accounts, we decided to invest in ourselves.

  • The most important thing I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices is to remember that I’ll be dead soon. I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. And when I remember this, I realize that all of the expectations and standards and restrictions of others and society mean nothing in the end. I realize that I have nothing to lose by following my heart and intuition, even if I embarrass myself or fail in the eyes of others. Because I’ll be dead soon. And I realize that I don’t have forever to decide to find what my intuition tells me is waiting out there for me.

  • When I was 17, I read a quote that said something like “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” And since I was 17, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself “If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And when the answer has been “NO” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something in my life.

  • 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. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.

  • Sometime life’s gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.

  • Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.

  • No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

  • 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.

  • You can’t look back and say, “Well, gosh, you know, I wish I hadn’t have gotten fired, I wish I was there, I wish this, I wish that.” It doesn’t matter. And so let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.

  • When we sit down to design products [at Apple], we don’t think, “Oh, well, our target audience is fifteen to twenty-nine, male.” We don’t think that way. We think about making a great product for just about everybody. And the beauty of the products we make is they can be tailored with software to do almost anything.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact—and that is: everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

And you can change it.

You can influence it.

You can build your own things that other people can use.

And the minute you can understand that you can poke life, and if you push in, then something will pop out the other side; that you can change it, you can mold it—that’s maybe the most important thing: to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there, and you’re just going to live in it versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

I think that’s very important, and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better. Because it’s kind of messed up in a lot of ways.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

—Steve, 1994

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