How Steve Jobs showed us our biggest problem is our biggest opportunity

Steve Jobs was an imperfect human being like the rest of us, but he achieved more in his short life than many of us do.

In his famous commencement address, at Stanford in 2005, Jobs talked about how his biggest challenge contained an even bigger opportunity.

When he was 30, Jobs said, the company he had founded and worked hard in all his adult life suddenly fired him. It was, “devastating.”

For a few months Jobs felt awful, “a very public failure.” But then he reflected and decided to start over. “It turned out,” he said, “that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me… It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life… It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”

What made the difference and enabled him to find this opportunity? Jobs said:

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love… If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

This approach enabled Steve Jobs to turn a tiny, struggling computer company into the most valuable company in the world.

This ability to find the opportunities in a crisis is the attitude that defines leadership. It comes when we find what most inspires us. And, as Steve Jobs discovered, what looks like our greatest challenge can also contain our greatest opportunity.

Adapted from Inner LeadershipBuy the book 

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