I don’t care that everyone else will be writing about this. Or that you’re tired of reading articles about it. And I don’t care whether you like Apple products.
Creativity is fleeting no matter how you apply it and no matter the capacity it encompasses.
But the transient nature of its existence makes it even more magnificent when captured. The raw creative power of a single vision, when focused with laser precision, is immeasurable.
It can build cities and break down their walls. Let us laugh, then force us to cry. And invent technologies most of us don’t realize we’ll need in a few years time.
Some of us are lucky enough to be creative in one facet while others will spend a lifetime searching for their muse.
But the thing about truly creative people is their creativity isn’t specialized. They could enter any field they want and profoundly change it.
Steve Jobs was one of those people.
When Steve started Apple, he began to change computing.
When Steve bought and ran a small computer graphics company, now Pixar, he began to change animation.
When Steve shephered Apple back from the ghostly depths of bankruptcy, he began to change entertainment.
And then when Steve Jobs died last night, he took with him all of the intangible assets he embodied, including his imagination and inventiveness.
I don’t care if you don’t think Steve Jobs has affected your life “that much.” The fact of the matter is, that as an inventor, an entrepreneur, and as a film producer, Steve excelled more than many of us ever will.
Steve Jobs the Storyteller
I am under the firm belief that everyone in the film industry is a storyteller in some part. Steve, too, told many stories throughout his life. Perhaps his best is the tale he weaved during a Stanford commencement speech:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”
It made an impression on me and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
A lot of people make a big deal out of the zealousness of Apple customers: How they crave and yearn for mildly updated versions of a product they already own.
How did Steve Jobs create this strong response? By telling stories.
He sold people not on a new processor or 512 MB of RAM.
He sold them on the fact that with an iPod they might discover their wedding song. That with a Mac they can store nostalgia in the form of photos. Or how, with an iPhone, they can access the world anywhere.
And the reason Steve was such a good storyteller is because he believed what he was saying. He bought into it wholeheartedly knowing and understanding exactly what you, the customer and the character in his tale, were going through.
Steve Jobs the Creative
Storytellers, of course, also have to be creative. So I also hold the firm belief that everyone in the film industry has some modicum of creativity.
You are creative. Steve Jobs was creative. And he has a lot to teach you and I about it. Below are a few of his most inspiring quotes — blatantly honest and pragmatically applicable.
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.
— Steve Jobs
A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
— Steve Jobs
Stay hungry, stay foolish.
— Steve Jobs
Read them once, then read them again, then take some time to ingest them. Swallow the words until they rest in your stomach and absorb into your body.
What I’m trying to say is to learn from those who have achieved greatness not just in one profession or one skillset, but are able to tackle any task, any job, any feat.
I don’t care if you think I’m being especially hyperbolic in this article.
I don’t care if you never actually admired Steve Jobs.
And I don’t care that Steve Jobs is now dead because he left us so much with his life.
We have a lot to discover within it. So, let’s not waste it.