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Connecting the Dots: How Steve Jobs Changed My Life

Steve Jobs

The greatest mentor in my life, whom I had never met, died yesterday. And it deeply saddens me.

Steve Jobs, creator of the Apple II, Macintosh, Pixar, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad and countless other innovations, touched millions of lives. Including mine.

I have always admired Mr. Jobs. His mentality towards creating products has been the guiding light for nearly all of my business decisions. I owe him dearly.

But this post isn’t to mourn him.

Steve wouldn’t want that. He is famously known for wanting us to not miss a beat. That we must continue striving to change the world. My consulting and speaking career has been based around Steve’s innovative mindset. In fact, just yesterday, I published a post about the evolution of technology. And no one more than Steve understood this.

We must embrace change.

And Steve Changed My Life…

About 3 years ago I had watched a remarkable speech on YouTube given by Steve Jobs in 2005. And it changed my life forever. If you haven’t seen it, please watch this:

Throughout the speech, Steve makes the point to trust that you know where you are going. That only after you’re there, can you then connect the dots.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
~ Steve Jobs

My life has certainly seen its fair share of ups and downs thus far. But I hope my failures are out-shadowed by my successes.

However, up until I watched this video, I had never given full consideration into what got me to where I am. And to where I was going.

I had not yet considered the dots, let alone connect them.

At that time, I had just left my well-paying job in a Fortune 200 company to re-enter the world of entrepreneurship. I had looming student loan debt. And I was completely over my head.

At that time, my life was still a scattered graph of random dots. I had no real significant contribution to the world. But Steve assured me that the dots will eventually connect.

I trust Mr. Jobs, so I trusted my path.

Connecting the Dots

Fast forward three years. I have an online marketing firm and a growing consulting/speaking career, as well as launching an Internet startup. Life is good.

And the dots finally make sense:

Had I not been a curious, shy little kid on a tiny indian reservation full of bullies and fights… I would not have avoided the troublemakers by self-teaching myself how to build computers and websites.

Had I not been infatuated with modifying my car in high school, spending countless hours and thousands of dollars… I would not appreciate the subtleties of finding art in everything around us.

Had I not worked as my Dad’s little helper growing up, suffering through what, at that time, seemed like overly strenuous child labor… I would not understand what hard work truly is.

Had I not become bored with college, skipping classes, losing interest, and barely graduating… I would not have immersed myself into hundreds of books of my own accord.

Had I not taken the corporate job in Chicago, developing a severe case of work-place depression… I would not appreciate the true benefits of being my own boss.

Had I not destroyed my financial statement with student loan debt, nearly impossible to pay when starting a business… I would not appreciate the value of a dollar.

Had I not tirelessly worked with hundreds of businesses through my marketing firm… I would not deeply understand business in the broad perspective that I do at age 25 nor be capable of launching my new startup.

Had I not have you in my life… I would not be where I am today.

So I thank you, the reader. I thank my parents, my family, my friends. I thank all those who have changed my life for the better.

And of course, I thank you, Steve. Thank you for helping me connect the dots.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

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