Steve Jobs: The Most Important Thing

I’ve seen this Steve Jobs video floating around in the last few days.  In it, he discusses what he thinks is the most important thing about understanding life.  Jobs was marginally (barely) smarter than me so I’ll let him do the talking:

“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.  But that’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact – 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 understand that you can poke life and push it and 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 gonna live in it.  Versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.  I think that’s very important.  Once you learn that, 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.”


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Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services.

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  • MacroTrader

    LSD is a helluvah drug

  • Jay

    Agreed…pure gobbledegook/drivel.

  • ES71

    It is basically “mind over matter” philosophy, it works to a degree but it cannot defy the laws of physics.

  • Cullen Roche

    Negative Nancys!

  • rfr

    Just curious how you know Jobs was barely smarter than you? According to google, he never took an IQ test.

  • Cullen Roche

    I was being incredibly sarcastic. :-)

  • rfr

    Don’t be so modest — you are obviously incredibly bright.

  • Cullen Roche

    I don’t have anything close to Steve Jobs smarts so yes, a little modesty is appropriate here. :-)

  • Boston Larry

    Steve Jobs is right! You CAN influence people around you, some a lot more than others. You can change the world in small ways and in big ways. If a butterfly flapping its wings can change the weather (this is known as the utterfly effect), then it is surprising how much each of us can affect the world for better or for worse. The iPhone, iPad, and iPod have changed the world, some would even say have improved it. Cullen is educating the few who read him on how our monetary system works and giving us a better understanding of our economy. I say thanks to Cullen and thanks to all the educated readers who write such great comments on this site.

  • Boston Larry

    Butterfly: In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane’s formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before. see:

  • Boston Larry

    Do the laws of physics include chaos theory? I would argue yes. Then they would also include the butterfly effect of Lorenz.

  • dave

    Wake up! He was a lousy Buddhist and a lousy person to many, many people. Life building a business without being a nice guy to people may be rewarding to that person himself, but so what?

  • Richard Bacon

    What you mean to say is that Jobs was barely smarter than I.

  • Cullen Roche

    I was saying I am stupid by comparison which you’ve further confirmed through proper grammar. :-)

  • Daryl

    Steve Jobs is an example of how to fleece the world and still be thought to be smart, and a great mind. When he purchased a huge amount of his company stock and then sold it, he made an enormous profit at the expense of his stockholders. This is the modern financial model being taught in our business schools, i.e., find a way to grab all you can get before this whole ridicilous house of cards falls apart. Self serving, but certainly not a way to show our youth how to be a good citizen. This is an example of why our young people don’t trust our system of business.

  • Menno

    Who should his life have been rewarding to? You? Anyone but himself? That’s a very selfish position to take, Dave.

  • GeorgieBoy

    WTF is wrong with the commenters here? Jobs was an amazing man and I’ll bet that over 50% of you are viewing this through a product he created. He was a visionary who didn’t succumb to societal norms. The fact that none of you have achieved what he has doesn’t give you the right to dimish his accomplishments.

  • Dick

    Ah new age, these were the days. Don’t change the world, use it if you can. Or it will quickly become a boring place (Lenin and Mao tried to do just that).

  • Liquid Motion

    I agree with Jobs’ modus operandi.
    In fact I have children that are progressing through final stages of secondary schooling. The challenge I put in front of them is to create an Image, an Identity a Brand….in Yourself. Dare to be different I say to them. Challenge the status quo…break the mold if you will. Keeping in mind life is about choices. How do we have choices and what makes them abundantly available.
    The message is don’t put yourself inside the box where your thinking is limited. This is true for everyone. Sure Jobs may have had smarts and an opportunity to excel in what he did best.But so does everyone.
    You really are limited by what is inside your thought patterns.
    So do as he suggests …broadening your thinking…will change your life.
    Nice break from the usual btw….

  • TheDavid

    Hey Daryl,

    Don’t forget that Jobs was ousted from the company he created by the man he picked to be his successor He was so upset he sold all his stock at its lowest price. When reinstated he reinvested in his old company (at higher prices)and successfully rebuilt Apple into what it is today. And you would deny him respect because he profited from it? .

  • baldrad

    Kudos to Jobs for paying scant attention to the Collectivism and Stateworship claptrap pushed at him at Reed College.

    Yay Steve–you thought for yourself and set us a great example.

  • dave

    Menno, he was dick on a personal level. There are many examples including how he rejected his first daughter who was born out of wedlock when he was very young. It totally OK to have a rewarding life, but he was a jerk too. That’s not OK and it’s not anything to aspire too.

  • Octavio Richetta

    Never liked Jobs much but I admit he was “one of kind”.

    Those words are profound and will mean different things to different people. I don’t take them to mean you should be a genious, a “one of a kind”like him, an inventor of great things.

    To me, they mean you should live your life in a way that is satisfying to you, and not according to some stereotyped social standard. In doing that, you will derive joy, a personal satisfaction; which, if you are a teching type, like me, you will share with others and perhaps enrich the life of some of them.

  • dave

    and yes, your life should be rewarding to those u love and respect, and not just monetarily

  • JohnCT

    A cultural shift is needed:
    “It is what it is”?
    NO, it is what you make it!
    The pioneers had to figure out innovation in order to survive.
    The Great Generation needed to innovate and fight to survive.
    The next generation enjoyed the fruits of previous generations.
    This generation leveraged the remains of those fruits, accumulating unsustainable debt.
    Now that developed nations are old and developing nations are productive and focused on capitalism, the US needs to feel hunger for change, or else complacency will delay action until it is too late.
    Only by necessity will the true hunting/animal spirits rise to produce something of true importance/value for humanity.

  • Nils

    Isn’t that kind of what he said? Not to try and live up to societies’ expectations?

    Nice guys finish last.

  • panda

    He’s still dead.

  • robert

    What laws of physics affect the mind?

    To my knowledge there are currently no laws of physics that describe the mind.

  • robert

    ad hominem

  • robert

    who thinks steve jobs looks like jesus? I think he was the second coming of christ

  • Tom Brown

    Well the brain is made up of neurons, right? If you’re a materialist, like I am, then the mind is nothing more than the “software” running on the neuron based computer. We’ve already proven we can replace neurons (cochlear implants being an example… but now there are others that make an end run around the nerves in the eye, etc.), so in theory we could replace EVERY neuron… in which case our artificial neurons would certainly be obeying the laws of physics right?

    Well I really shouldn’t even have to go there… I was just trying to make a point. To a materialist like me, it’s clear each neuron is a little machine, and thus they obey the laws of physics… and thus the mind does as well.

    Perhaps we don’t have a model of the whole human brain yet, but we will. We do have models of smaller critter’s brains (like ants, etc.)… that essentially operate just like the animal they’re intended to simulate.

  • Nils

    Not for nothing, but it’s amazing what Apple gets away with, seeing how Microsoft got slammed with one anti-trust suit after another back in the day.

  • Not Famous

    Just finished reading the Jobs’ biography. Yes, he behaved badly to many, including his first daughter. Note that she later lived with him for years while growing up and that he often stated he regretted his early treatment of her (essentially while he himself grew up). Throughout his life, he negated others’ ideas until he was able to process them himself, in his own way…a trait that made him difficult, made him brilliant, made him enemies, made him rich and famous…and prevented him from the taking advantage of the earliest treatment options offered for his cancer. His genius was also his biggest flaw. Rest in peace, Steve.

  • Albert

    In the long run, aren’t we all?

  • littleboone

    Jobs ignored the rule that good enough will out run perfect every time and knew that there was a market for perfect and they had money. All of computer and software science benefitted from his insight and vision and all of us are reaping the rewards still. Is judging always subjective but still hovering close to objectivity? Is it as it always is depending?

  • http://www.absolutehomesolutions.comcomingsoon! Erik

    I agree with you Cullen. Let them live their lives and we’ll live our happy ones. :)