“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you … the minute that you understand that you can poke life … that you can change it, you can mould it … that’s maybe the most important thing.” – Steve Jobs
What does that mean?
To me, the quote talks about the power of one person. He points out that everything around you was created by ordinary people, and improved on by other ordinary people. From the coffee pot to the microwave, each invention, each improvement, happened one step at a time, and one person at a time.
He finishes by urging us to understand that each of us can make a difference, we all can participate in the change. Each of us can help move things forward, we can all be part of the next big thing, whatever it may be. It just takes a little belief and a lot of effort.
Why is imagination important?
While he doesn’t state it explicitly, imagination is one of the most powerful tools a person has to create, improve and transform the world we live in. He looked at ordinary items, sometimes ubiquitous items, and imagined what they would be like if they were easy enough for everyone to use.
He looked at something and said “this isn’t a very good way to do things” and imagined how it could be made easier, simpler, and more functional. You can do the same, if you put your mind to it, and looked at something you do every day and use your imagination to find a better, easier, faster or more fun way to do it. What are you waiting for?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Have you ever seen a commercial for a product and said “I had that idea months ago!”? I know I have, as have most of my friends. The big difference is someone else acted on the idea and brought the product to market. That could just as easily have been you, right?
I’m not trying to knock you for not jumping on it sooner, but I am trying to point out that you can run with the big dogs, if you wanted to. There are also the products that, when you see them, you say to yourself “Wow! I should have thought of that!” right? That’s another sign that you’re on the right track.
Not everything needs to be created brand new, from scratch. Nearly every one of Steve’s greatest ‘inventions’ wasn’t new at all. He found ways to make things better, friendlier, and more accessible to ordinary people. Did Apple invent the Personal Computer, or did they find a way to improve it? Did Apple invent the MP3 player, or did they find a way to improve it? Did Apple invent the Cell Phone, or did they find a way to improve it? Did Pixar invent animated movies, or did they find a way to improve them?
But how does one improve their imagination? A quick web search turned up more ideas than I could possibly cover in this post, so I will leave it to you to find what works for you. The quote implied imagination, but explicitly stated that the point when things change for both you and the world is when you realize that you can ‘poke’ life, that you have the power and influence to change it, mould it.
How do you know that you can influence life? Short of coming up with the “Next Big Thing,” you can do smaller things. Can you imagine how life in the future changes when you help a child learn? Which one of them is the next Steve Jobs, the next Albert Einstein or the next Nikola Tesla?
You can also give life a poke by helping others. You can nurture, help, assist, feed, shelter, clothe and/or guide others. Even if they never change the world directly, your actions can change the world, just look at Mother Theresa and how she changed the world. She didn’t set out to change the world, just to feed one person, then another then another. Slowly, the world was changed.
What are you going to do to ‘poke’ life? What are you willing to do to help change it, mould it, into something better for yourself, everyone else, and all the people to follow? It sounds scary when put that way, but if you just take one small step after another, you can make a difference.
From: Twitter, @tonyrobbins
confirmed at :
(last 1/2 of 2nd paragraph) Steve Jobs – One Last Thing premieres Wednesday, November 2, 2011 on PBS (check local listings)
Photo by Tom Coates