Steve Jobs certainly deserves such a title ”The genius of today ”. And not at all because he created one of the most expensive companies in the world – as we will see later, it was not money that moved them at all. For 40 years, he has revolutionized five different areas: personal computers, music, telephones, digital publishing, and animated films. What helped him achieve such amazing success? He relied on some principles. Let’s find out about them and see how this can be applied in your life.
- # 1 Focus on the essentials. Be ruthless in prioritizing
- # 2 Simplicity
- # 3 Say No to a Thousand Things
- # 4 Don’t follow your passion, but let it follow you
- # 5 Memento Mori – Remember Death
# 1 Focus on the essentials. Be ruthless in prioritizing
In 1996, Jobs lost control of the company. Returning a year later, he found himself in a difficult situation – Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy. At that time, a set of main products and peripheral devices for them was presented in the product line, including several versions of the same gadget.
Just a week later, Steve Jobs decided to reduce the number of products by 70%. Now there were only 4 of them: one stationary computer and one portable, with a version for professionals and ordinary users. The strategy worked. The company was saved from death, and a year later earned $ 309 million. Just because 4 main priorities were chosen.
Deciding what not to do is just as important as deciding what to do. This is true for both companies and products.
How to apply this in your life?
Your task is to find priorities and focus on them. Remember the Pareto rule – 20% of the effort brings 80% of the result. Do this 20%, and ruthlessly discard everything else. Here are some tips to help you:
- Start with the ultimate goal. Identify specific (preferably expressed in numbers) goals. Develop individual steps and strategies to achieve them. Drop everything that does not bring you closer to the intended result.
- Find your 20%. Rank your to-do list according to two criteria: applied effort (1 point – minimum effort, 10 points – maximum) and impact (1 point – minimum impact, 10 – maximum).
- Your top priorities will be those with the least effort and greatest impact. Do them first.
# 2 Simplicity
Jobs simplified products by focusing on their essence and eliminating unnecessary components. Machines should be user-friendly smart devices, not challenge them. It was such an important value for Apple that the first Mac user manuals began with a quote from da Vinci: “Simplicity is an absolute complexity.”
Jobs believed that simplicity should come from conquering, not ignoring, complexity. It is not just minimalism or interference removal. To eliminate the extra buttons on the phone, it was necessary to deeply understand the role of each element and provide a simple, elegant, but no less effective alternative.
It is much more difficult to achieve simplicity than complexity. It takes a lot of work to make your thoughts clear and to do a simple thing. But it’s worth it, because as soon as you achieve this, you can turn mountains.
How to apply this in your life?
Answers to the following questions will help you find the easiest solutions to problems:
- Why does this problem exist? Decide on the causes of the problem, as well as why you are dealing with it. Why are there buttons on the phone? For navigation and data entry. Thus, the problem is not in the buttons, but in how to enter numbers and other data.
- Are there obvious solutions to this problem? Very often we think that a complex problem must have a complex solution. And therefore, we immediately discard the obvious method that first comes to our minds.
- What less can I do to solve the problem? List all possible solutions to the problem and focus on what you think is best. Now remove anything that does not add value to this solution. Although this is difficult, it is also the key to making it simple.
# 3 Say No to a Thousand Things
The ability to prioritize is not enough. An equally important skill is to be prepared to give up even more things that sometimes also seem very significant.
“Steve’s methodology differs from everyone else in that he always believed that the most important decisions you make are not what you make, but what you decide not to do,” recalls former Apple CEO John Scully.
Take your iPod as an example. MP3 players were uncomfortable with their large number of buttons and wheels, and you had to take the time to figure out how it works. With iPod, you just need to make a few intuitive clicks to access thousands of tracks.
Many designers are trying to highlight their products by integrating more and more features, but Apple has moved in the opposite direction. The iPod is designed to help people listen to music, and anything that could distract from it was mercilessly removed.
I am actually just as proud of what we did not do as what I did. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.
How to translate this into your life?
The author of the book “Essentialism. Strive for less ”offers the following 5 tips to help you learn how to say“ No ”:
- Soft “No” (or “no, but”) . Explain that you are now focused on other things, but you could very well agree as soon as you finish.
- “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” This will give you time to pause and evaluate your priorities, rather than agreeing automatically.
- Use an e-mail answering machine. Why limit this practice to weekends and holidays only? Teach people to respect your time – use automatic answers.
- Say: “Good. What then should I depriorize? ” Remind your superiors that you would neglect to say “Yes,” and make him compromise.
- “I can’t do it, but X may be interesting.” It is tempting to think that our help is uniquely priceless, but often the people who ask for something do not really care who exactly helps them – as long as they receive help.
# 4 Don’t follow your passion, but let it follow you
In fact, Steve Jobs was not passionate about computers as such. His true passion was creating tools that help people reach their full potential. The success of Apple and its founder was not that he found his calling in computers, as many people think. But he realized that these devices could change the world – and he did not want to stay away from this process.
Your work fills a significant part of life, and the only way to be satisfied with it is to do what you believe is a great thing. And the only way to create something great is to love what you do. If you have not found this, keep looking. Do not stop. As with all heart affairs, you will understand when you find it.
How to apply it in your life?
You probably expected to read something like “do what you like.” Everything is so, only the concept of “what you like” is not always to be understood literally. You can create computers, but at the same time you will enjoy the fact that you are changing the lives of millions of people. And that is why you will love your work – the manufacture of technical devices. The writer George Martin once said that he didn’t really like to write, but he “liked what was written”. In other words, you need to find a higher order goal. And then it will be much easier for you to implement the formula for success: find an occupation that you like and for which people are willing to pay.
# 5 Memento Mori – Remember Death
In the famous Stanford speech, Steve Jobs revealed his main motivation in life: death. Here is how he explained it: “When I was 17, I somehow heard a quote that sounded something like this:“ If you live every day like the last, one day you will be right. ” This made a deep impression on me and since then, the last 33 years, I look in the mirror every morning and ask myself: “If today was the last day of my life, would I like to do what I am going to do today?”
And every time I get the answer “No” for many days in a row, I know that something needs to be changed in my life. ”
We all have days filled with things that we don’t want to do – but when there are more of them than great days, when we are filled with enthusiasm, it is time to reconsider our life. If everything doesn’t look so good, maybe it’s time to change your career.
Remembering the inevitability of death is the best way to escape the trap when you think you have something to lose.
How to apply this in your life?
Take on the issue of Steve Jobs. Every day, ask yourself: “If today was the last day of my life, would I like to do what I am going to do today?” And no, this is not a reason to go into all seriousness, as the heroes of the film “Knocking on Heaven” did. This is just about the highest goal for which you “write”, then to say “I like what is written”.
Remembering death is also a good vaccination from the habit of looking back at the opinions of other people – almost the strongest brake on your self-development. Would you worry about what others will say on your last day of life? Unlikely. Do what you think is necessary, and try to do the maximum. Satisfaction with the lived is the only measure of truth.
Being productive does not mean doing everything. It means doing the most important thing. Find your main priorities and focus on them. The other side of the coin – you must ruthlessly discard the thousands of things that take your time and energy. Achieve simplicity in everything – but not by simply throwing something away, but by understanding the essence of the subject. Your calling is not always what you love to do. Sometimes this is what you are doing something for. Always look for a target of a higher order. What would you do if tomorrow was the last day of your life? Try to live, remembering death – this is a good way to avoid an empty and aimless life.