How Steve Jobs’s biggest problem was his biggest opportunity

Steve Jobs saying, "I want to put a ding in the universe"

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 suddenly fired him. It was, he said, “devastating.”

For a few months he 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.”

And what made the difference that enabled him to find this opportunity?

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

That might not be what you want to do with your life. But whatever it is, finding what most inspires you, what you most love, will enable you to achieve it.

And, as Steve Jobs discovered, what looks like our greatest challenge can also contain our greatest opportunity.

What challenges in your past have turned out to be opportunities? Have you found what you love yet? If not, how do you intend to keep searching?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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