Steve Jobs has become a bit of a cult figure in the business world today. As the founder and visionary of Apple, his uniquely creative approach to technology earned him billions of dollars and a place in history flanked by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. People who have shaped the world and gained notoriety in the process. Out of all of these figures, Jobs has faced the most scrutiny over his character and temperament. Where he excelled in imagination and grit, its fair to say he fell short in people skills. Beyond the legacy of his brand and products, I’ve found certain aspects of his attitude rather compelling. The below quote struck me because of its straight-forward honesty and yet radicalism.
“Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, that is that everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”
Recently there are a number of both behavioural patterns and attitudes I’ve begun to reconsider. Things we inherit from our parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, the news. Wherever our influence comes from. Things which might feel correct but in actual fact are sabotaging us. These are some of the lessons I’m consciously working to ‘un-learn’ and why:
Be sensible and realistic, don’t daydream.
As long as I can remember I’ve had this fed into me, either directly or through insinuation, and when told it generally comes from a good place. The intention from teachers or parents is to set you on a good course. Encourage you to focus your energy on a future they can understand. However, whilst there are things we all need, like food and ideally shelter, we don’t necessarily need to live our lives within the patterns of our surroundings. Thinking ‘sensible’ actively encourages limited thinking. Sensible is a construct of our society and whilst it sometimes pays to buy into, no-one achieved anything exceptional by viewing the world through the same restricted lens. If you believe you can experience all you want in life by following guidelines laid out in front of you then lucky you. For me though, I need imagination and encouragement to visualise the future I want to create. Decisive ‘day-dreaming’ and big thinking is needed to live a ‘big’ life.
Say yes to every opportunity
Who’s terrible advice was this?! I’ve spent years being exhausted. Trying to maintain every relationship, go to every event just in case it leads to something. Going to interviews for jobs I don’t want, in case I… change my mind?! No no no. No is a much better word. Maybe some people are naturally better at this and have run into fewer issues but I am historically a social butterfly and people pleaser who suffers from FOMO (fear of missing out). I nearly cried because I didn’t go to a booked exercise class. If you swing Type A then learning to shake off the guilt is very important. Writer and investor Tim Ferris talks often about ways and reasons to reject things well. Ed Sheeran got rid of his phone because of the way it weighed him down by constant demands. Now whilst most of us are not as in demand as Ed Sheeran we all have times where we feel an overload of requests on our time and energy and a responsibility to fulfil all of them. Start saying no and you’ll be amazed at how much more time opens up!
Obsession with your body is vanity
Beyond looking on great bodies as envy inducing, I also had a perception that physical appearance was a shallow goal to pursue. Whereas I could admire someone for putting energy into developing their fitness level or running a marathon, seeing someone ‘pump iron’ in the gym, or show off their physical progress had me rolling my eyes. This was learned behaviour growing up in circles which placed far more importance on your intelligence or career than muscles. Now whilst I absolutely believe in the importance of mental growth I no longer see a focus on muscle growth as the opposite of this, but a partner. As my exercise routine has stepped up, so has my mental clarity and energy levels. Looking at many of the women I admire such as Michelle Obama or Jessica Alba it seems that despite their busy schedules, they find many hours a week to still workout; strong body = strong mind. So please forgive me if I seem to become a little obsessed. Its all growth.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
Lexy is a writer, DJ and marketing professional living in London. She is a gemini and a feminist who loves coffee and leopard print. Instagram.com/lexonthedecks