Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together – Vincent Van Gogh

Posts tagged ‘Steve Jobs’

Don’t hold back, develop your creative confidence

There have probably been many time when you sat at a group discussion or in a meeting and even though you may have had a point to contribute to the discussion at hand, but you chose to keep mum instead. At other times, you may have hesitated, albeit a bit too long, and then someone else at the table made the point. Sometimes you may have held back wondering if the thought you wished to express or the observation you wished to make may seem silly to others.  Well these are occasions when you lacked creative confidence, and because you checked yourself, we will never know if that idea was good or not. You have probably passed on a chance to be recognized as someone thoughtful because you stayed in the shadow out of fear of rejection.

Here is how you can deal with that fear that wells up inside you and by the way is all too common for most of us. Bring to mind a few examples of how, seemingly simple folks, irrespective of age, ‘poor connections’, lack of education and other resources went on to achieve great things for themselves. They also went on to offer this world hero’s, besides inspiration and hope to millions. Today we look upon these rather simple people with great admiration, silently thanking them for having the courage to come public and share with us their gift.

Susab Boyle on Britans got Talent

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Catching the bull by the horns with creative confidence

We are all fearful of something or the other, and the only way to get over it is repetition, repetition, repetition, says Dr Ivan Joseph, then Athletic Director and head coach of the Varsity Soccer team at Ryerson University. Repeat it so many times, practice again and again until the fear is gone, and is replaced with a skill instead. We see how repetition and practice helps sports people, be they swimmers, or sprinters, or cyclists… they practice long hours, building their emotional and physical strength, perfecting every breath, every movement, and every thought.

Of course a few repetitions and practice is not going to lead us to excellence, so be prepared for a healthy dose of failure along the way. From each failure, don’t forget to learn and convert it into a stepping stone to progress. Stories abound of folks who refused to accept failure and persisted on, from Abraham Lincoln, to recent stellar personalities like Colonel Sanders, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, J.K. Rowlings, and the list can go on. Behind the humungous success of these achievers is their tremendous grit and determination, a deep belief in themselves, persistence and the desire to succeed.

So being the person you wish to be, doing the things you wish to do, achieving the goals you have set for yourself is very possible. You need to want it hard enough, you need to stay positive. In your daily life, you will encounter many people waiting to tell you it’s not possible, it’s not your thing and pulling you back from taking that first step. You don’t need to add to their clamor with additional negative self-thought. Instead, be positive. Dr Ivan Joseph wrote a letter to himself, and read it over and over again to stay positive when at his lowest ebb. You could do that too, or instead put up a poster on your mirror, in your car, or even as the wall paper on your computer – as a reminder and positive reinforcement that you are made of tougher and better material. Remember, what does not kill you, makes you stronger.

So don’t let that manager sabotage a good idea or dampen your confidence. Don’t let that colleague talk you out of speaking up. Don’t let fear of the unknown, stop you from sharing your idea or thought.

Moving forward with creative confidence

  • While reading up on creative confidence, I came across an interesting tweetpic which read, if you want the right answer, reframe the question. If you want to extract a positive response to your input, understand your audience, learn their pain point or area of anxiety and ensure you address their pain point. Bingo, who does not want a solution for a thorn in their side!
  • Remember, different audiences have different pain points and concerns- your manager may be on the look out to simplify his/her work, a client will want to reduce costs.
  • When you step up to share an idea, and really want it to be accepted, ensure your know the problem well, you have prepared by reading up and double checking on the facts. You are clear about the problem and the solution.
  • Ensure your language is positive, display empathy, show that you are coming from a position of empathy, your audience is always listening, when they realize your understand them and wish to offer a solution.
  • When the spotlight is on you, stay confident, in words and body language. Your conviction, belief and confidence displays itself in your verbal and nonverbal cues, so always ensure you are brimming with confidence, because that’s what you pass on along with a great idea.
  • If you fail, forgive yourself and start again. There is always another day, you can always practice for another time, keep trying to fix those glitches that caused you to falter and stay with the positive self-talk.

By now you would have realized that creative confidence is not a one off event, it is a perspective and a philosophy on how we choose to live our life, it requires development and nurturing before it begins to yield benefits for you. Don’t shy about from developing your creative confidence, set about building it and become the person you wish to be.

Steve Jobs – Black, White and Everything Between

Steve Jobs Biography

The biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson was launched soon after Jobs death. Simply titled Steve Jobs, the book fueled the  abiding fascination the worlds has for the bespectacled man in blue jeans and black turtleneck.

The hefty hardbound basks in the characteristic sheer white of Apple and with over 600 pages, is a  serious read. Folks lined up to buy it just like that have all Apple products and while it does make for an excellent Christmas gift, I hope it remains less a collector’s item and is widely read.

The book is simply named Steve Jobs. On the façade, the answer may seem obvious, Steve Jobs needs no introduction, yet reading through the book it becomes clearer through each passing page that Jobs is a man difficult to describe. One can adopt his love for binaries and label him black, however Isaacson has done a brilliant job of fleshing out a man in all his colourful hues and the reader is constantly oscillating, like the man himself, between appreciating his genius and weights the costs.

Being a biography, the book focuses completely on the man. It peels away the veneer, created by Apple around its CEO and the veneer created by Jobs himself and captures a range of interesting details that are insightful not only to a casual reader, but even one trying to understand the personality man and those attempting to glean nuggets on how he cut an arduous path to grow his businesses again and again. The book is an excellent chronicle of a man and his time and one cannot fail but see where so many smaller companies have picked and stolen ideas from (following in the path of Apple itself).

The book is full of quotes and if one were to make notes, the lovely white would be full of pencil grey. I myself resisted the urge to take up the pencil, convincing myself that this provides me with a reason to read the book a second time.

In a rather old fashioned way the book reiterates a few old principles. Prominent among them in the need to have an eye for detail – to take the time to dot ones I’s and cross ones t’s. To spend time, thought, care and healthy dollops of love, developing a product. ‘Perfection’ becomes a familiar word and for Jobs it was less an imposition and more a choice. One that few companies like or choose to take.

Marketing is a highly overrated aspect of business when the product itself is bad, and yet today, ‘competition’, ‘faster time to market’ etc are become catchwords that psych companies into launching half baked products. Consumers wait expectantly and are disappointed, but instead of focusing on improving the product, companies spend tons of money on marketing and coning consumers, thus eroding their goodwill. Apple chose to be different and its products continue to stand out for premium quality, robustness and ease of use.

Man Behind the Job

While for a long time people have been fascinated with the man, the book paints Jobs in rich and complex hues which range from genius to megalomania. More importantly, it also details out the larger number of people who shared his vision and worked with him tirelessly to bring his visions and theirs to life.

Looking deeper, I think, one of the reasons Jobs was able to do what he did for Apple and then Pixar is because he represented the aspirations of a generation. The sixties were a time of the great counterculture, people thought differently, yearned to be different, do things differently, challenged the old norms. Jobs was able to energize and synergize these earnings  and truly bring out something different. Many of these unsung hero’s working with Jobs, challenged him and did what they though was right so that products turned out the way they did. Much of Jobs credit goes to these heroes who once they had their catharsis, went back to being the many functionaries of the system, with their bruised egos and traumatized hearts.

For those looking for takeaways, Steve Jobs (the book), forces people to make a choice. There is good and bad in each of us, we need to decide what to promote and what to hold back. At his worst, Steve Jobs was a demon who ran roughshod over people who cared for him, manipulative,  arrogant, boastful and controlling. At his best, he gives strong lessons on the need to strive for perfection, display conviction in ones action and the need to be inspired about what we do. Too many people these days, put their own passions behind them to do what is socially desired of them, thus denying and killing a lot of talent. At yet another level Jobs was highly grounded in Buddhist principles of frugality, vegetarianism and minimalism. Even as one reaches the last pages of the book, the reader is left wondering who really is Jobs…. Should I love him or hate him.

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