Best Steve Jobs Quotes That Will Change Your Life

Like many other successful individuals and entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, had a set of rules that he applied to both his business and his life.

Learning about and understanding successful people's way of thinking, and then applying this way of thinking to our own life can really help us become better ourselves. Yes, we are all unique individuals that do things differently, but some truths are universal and if we apply them, they tend to lead to similar results.

Don't Live a Limited Life

While growing up, most children and teenagers are taught that the world is the way it is and that you have no choice but to live your life inside that world. While doing this, you should conform to what society expects, and your goals should be to have a good family life, enjoy yourself, and save some money.

This type of life is however very limiting. Life can be very different and more fulfilling once you discover and understand a very simple fact, and that is that everything that you see and experience around you is made up by people that are not necessarily smarter than what you are. This means that you can influence it, you can change it, and you can make new things that other people will want to use.

The moment that you understand that life does not have to be static and that you are able to change it, you can mold it to become what you want it to be. This is probably the most important thing you can do in your life. Shake off this mistaken idea that life is simply there and that you have no choice in how you're just going to live in it, versus embracing it, changing it, improving it, and ultimately making your own mark upon it.

For Steve, this was crucially important, and he believed that however you learn this, once you understand and accept it, you will want to change your life and make it better, because if you really look at it critically, it's likely to be messed up in many ways. Once you have learned this, your life will never be the same.

Have Passion

Many people believe that you need to have a lot of passion for whatever you do, and Steve agreed with this. He said that the reason for this is because achieving anything in life and becoming successful at it is extremely difficult. It is in fact so difficult that if you don't have a lot of passion for what you're doing, any rational person would give up sooner rather than later. It is really difficult and you will have to do it over a long time to become really successful. This means that if you don't have fun doing it and you don't really love doing it, you're going to give up.

That is actually what happens to most people. If you take the time to study individuals that ended up not being successful as far as society is concerned, and compare them with the ones that did, you will most often find that those that loved what they did are the successful ones. This helped them persevere when things really got tough.

The individuals that didn't love what they did, eventually quit, simply because they're sane. Nobody is willing to put up with really difficult stuff if they don't love it. To become successful you have to work extremely hard and you will also find that you'll constantly worry. If you don't love doing what you do, you will most likely fail. To become very successful you have to find something to do that you love. You have to have lots of passion for what you're doing.

Focus

Steve said that although they hired very smart people, their organization (Apple) was very simple, and they tried to focus on only a few things and do them very well. I love this statement and it makes a lot of sense to me. When you start a business, there are often many new opportunities that come your way and it is very tempting to try and tackle them all.

Steve however said that focusing is difficult because when you focus, it doesn't mean saying, ‘yes’, but it most often means saying, ‘no.’

Apple decided to not do many things. This allowed them to focus on only a handful of things and do them really well.

Don't Sell Crap

Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike Inc tells a story of when he was first appointed as CEO. At the time, Steve Jobs called him and offered some advice. After Steve congratulated Mark and said he would do a great job, Mark asked Steve if he had any advice for him.

Steve first said that he didn't have any advice for Mark, but then changed his mind. Steve then told Mark that although Nike made some of the best products in the world that were stunning and beautiful, and that people lusted after, they also manufactured products that were crap.

Steve's advice to Mark was to get rid of the crappy products and only focus on the good ones.

The story does not say if Mark followed Steve's advice, but Mark ultimately did agree with this statement. Not selling crap actually goes hand in hand with rule number 3 – Focus. When building a business, focus on the good stuff and say ‘no’ to the crap.

Build a Great Team

Having the best people working for you is one of the most crucial aspects of a business, but it is very difficult to achieve.

For Steve, the greatest people don't need to be managed but are self-managing. Once they understand what is expected from them, they will figure out how they can do it, and don't have to be managed at all. Before this can happen, however, they need a common vision, and that is the function of leadership.

Apple wanted people that were amazingly good at what they did, who had the passion, and understood where the latest technology was. They also have to understand what could be done with that technology, and who wanted to bring that to lots of people.

Steve says that once a core group of about ten great people work for a company, the decision about who should be allowed into that group as new employees becomes self-policing. This means that the existing team will decide who will be a good fit for the company and its vision. In that scenario, Steve's most important job became recruiting.

The recruiting process continued for days and involved every single employee. Not only were formal interviews done, but applicants would talk to every other employee at least once, and sometimes more than once. Before the final decision was made to employ someone new, the team would get together and discuss it.

Don't Do It for the Money

Steve said that although he was a multi-millionaire before he was 25, it wasn't that important, because he never did it for the money.

Yes, having lots of money is wonderful and it will allow you to do things like investing in ideas that don't have any payback in the short term. For Steve, however, it was never the most important thing.

The most important things for Steve were the products we were making, the people, and the company, and what they were going to enable people to do with the products. He never sold any stock as he really believed that over the long term, the company would do really well.

Be Proud of Your Products

From the beginning, Apple's goal has always been to make the best personal computers globally, and the same applied to the other products that they eventually created. They would only make products they were proud to sell and would feel good about recommending them to their friends and family.

They also want to do this at the lowest prices possible, but never at the expense of the quality of the products. Steve was often critical of his competitors as they were willing to ship stuff in the industry that Apple wouldn't. This rule once again ties in closely to Rule 4 – don't sell crap.

Selling products that aren't the best and recommending them to family and friends may work in the short term, but it will never be a viable long-term strategy. Sooner or later, a reputation for making inferior products will catch up with a company and ultimately sink it.

To check the validity of this point, simply compare Apple to any of its competitors over the years and see who has survived and who has been the most successful. There is a good reason why the Apple brand is one of the most valuable in the world.

Build Around Customers

Two business models are generally used – customer centric and product centric. In the customer centric model, the business looks at what their customers need and want, and then figure out how they can make products that fill those needs and wants. With the product centric model, the business designs and makes a product, and then tries to figure out which type of customer would want those products, and how to market them to those customers.

Steve Jobs has tried both models and he said that the product centric model simply does not work.

That is why Apple has always tried to come up with a vision and a strategy that started with what incredible benefits they could give to customers, and where they can take the customer.

The company never started by sitting down with its engineers to figure out what awesome technology they have, and then how this could be marketed.

Marketing is About Values

For Steve, marketing is about values.

We live in a very noisy and very complicated world. In this world, no company really gets the opportunity to get people to remember much about them. That is why it is crucially important that a company be really clear on what they want their customers to know about them. Apple decided that they couldn't do this by talking about things like feeds and speeds, or megahertz and bits. In their marketing, they also never spoke about why they are better than Windows.

Steve's team asked themselves what their customers wanted to know about Apple and what it stands for. Where do they fit into this world? Although Apple makes boxes for people to get their jobs done, and they do this well, that's not what they're about. Apple stands for something that is much more than that.

A core value of Apple is that they believe that the world can be changed for the better by people with passion, and that the people who are actually crazy enough to believe that they can change the world, are the ones that do. Core values should never change. The same things that Apple believed in at its core when the company started back in 1976 are the things that Apple still stands for today.

Stay Hungry and Foolish

Follow your curiosity and intuition and believe that things will work out. Keep on trusting your heart even if it leads you off the beaten track and trust that the dots will connect in your future somehow. You can only do great work if you love what you do. Keep looking if you haven't found it yet and never settle for second best. Your heart will know when you find your passion.

Don't get trapped into living according to what other people think. Don't allow your own inner voice to be drowned out by the noise of others' opinions. Most importantly, have the courage to follow your own intuition and heart. Everything else is secondary as they already somehow know what you truly want to become.