Friday, October 7, 2011

Legends are people too

There has been much written this week about the loss of Steve Jobs and his life's (and death's) impact...he truly changed the world, not only through the products he created, but also through the inspiration he provided and his challenge for us to "Think Different."

The thing that has struck me as I deal with my own very real emotional response to his death is this: he was just a man. He left behind a wife and four children who are grieving for the loss of their husband, father. He put his pants on one leg at a time. Although I didn't know him, I'm guessing Steve Jobs experienced the same range of human emotions we all do: fear, love, sadness, frustration, anger, joy, essence and in many ways, Steve Jobs was no different than any of us.

Sure, Steve Jobs was in many ways very different than us. But what was it that made him so different? What is it that differentiates "us" from those we consider legends, if all of us are, at our core, the same? I'm sure there are many potential answers to this question, but here are mine:

  • Passion: Loving what you do, believing in it, not letting anyone dissuade you from accomplishing your vision
  • Intelligence: An intuitive understanding of people, processes, systems...being able to solve problems that incorporate all three
  • The ability to see "bigger": Legends focus big. Big problems, big solutions. They see things that don't exist yet
  • Marketing: The ability to get other people to see and believe in your vision to help you realize it
  • Knowing you can do it: There's an arrogance in people who truly believe they can change the world. I'm not saying the people are arrogant...they are confident, driven, and have an unwaivering optimism that they can make things better
  • Doing it: Legends do more walking than talking
Lots of people want to be see them everywhere. They call themselves thought leaders, gurus, innovators, futurists, visionaries...they do a lot of talking about what should be and spend a lot of time promoting who they are. 

What did Steve Jobs call himself? How about Mother Theresa? Ghandi? Point being...its not what people say that changes the world, its what they do. Big, focused, passionate action is what changes the world, its what makes someone legendary, and its not a secret. Steve Jobs was a man, not a superhero or a god. It was what he did that made him special.  

Can you change the world? Yes.
Can we prepare our children to change the world? Yes.
Now, will you?

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