Love What You Do
The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
In the wake of Steve Jobs’ death, I (like millions of others) paid tribute watching videos and reading articles. Back in 2005, he gave a commencement speech at Stanford entitled “How to live before you die” that paints a (15 minute) picture of his life and the lessons he’s learned.
He talks about getting fired from Apple and how it felt like the focus of his adult life was gone. Despite the public failure of it all, he says in his speech: “Something slowly began to dawn on me, I still loved what I did… I’d been rejected, but I was still in love.” He took ownership of his mistakes, apologized for his failures, and started over. As fate would have it, he ended up back at Apple.
Everyday, people launch into careers they hate for big paychecks, or launch start-ups with the goal of an “exit”, not the goal of an awesome product or company. A career becomes a means to an end, not a source fun and fulfillment (despite the hundreds of thousands of hours we spend at work over the course of our lives). But that’s not how great companies and people come to be.
In ”Delivery Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose”, (which is an amazing book) Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh talks about similar concepts. His passion for LinkExchange and Zappos, and his belief in what they could be led the companies to success (and him to greater riches at the end of the day). When he lost the passion for LinkExchange, it was time for him to move on — even though it meant sacrificing a substantial amount of money.
Jobs is an incredible case study in great people — and the creation of great companies and products. Hsieh too. Jobs ends the video with words of advice: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” So, if you read or watch anything in memory of Jobs, watch the video.