“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”
With that legendary challenge, Steve Jobs convinced a reluctant John Sculley to join Apple as CEO, a move that would increase Apple’s sales ten times over. Although somewhat notoriously difficult to work with, Steve Jobs possessed a special genius and ambition that left a legacy filled with lessons that can be applied to any career.
“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
It’s exceedingly important that you always put effort into every detail of your work. It’s better to do beautiful work all the way through than it is to only do things halfway and hope no one notices the flaws. Even if it feels like no one will notice, you’ll always know that you did the best work possible. Not only does it increase your worth at work, it improves your feeling of self-worth and confidence as well.
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
While you’re doing excellent work, don’t lose track of where you’re going. It’s good to take some time now and then to evaluate how far you’ve come, but don’t forget where you’re going next.
“The hardest thing when you think about focusing – you think focusing is about saying ‘Yes.’ No. Focusing is about saying ’No.’ And when you say ’No,’ you piss off people.”
Always remember that you have limits, and when it comes down to deciding what you can do and what you can’t, choose what’s most important to you. Work hard and do as much you can in your job but also mind your limits and don’t let yourself get burnt out for nothing.
“It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.”
“That’s been one of my mantras: focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
It can be all too easy to get carried away with planning to the point where you start to feel stressed out. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by where you want to go with your career. Trim everything down to the simplest form, and don’t feel like you have to elaborate every detail before you get somewhere.
“If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.”
When you pursue work that really means something to you, you can accomplish anything. Believe in what you do, and don’t be afraid to put in extra work to get where you want to go.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
So, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” -Steve Jobs