My Favorite Steve Jobs Quotes on Life and Work

Like most I’m saddened by the loss of Steve Jobs. I’ve been an Apple fan since 1982 when a professor from Michigan State, Norm Bell, gave me the opportunity to play on the Lisa (the precursor to the Mac). As I thought about how to best honor Steve and his genius, I came to the conclusion that the best way was not to talk about him, but rather to simply let him express himself in his own words.

However, since my collection of Steve quotes is rather lengthy, I decided to make this a four-part series. In light of that, may I encourage you to tune back in each day for the next four days so you can let the words of Steve motivate and inspire you.

Copy the quotes that move you. Think and reflect on them. And then, most importantly, do something different because of them. What good is inspiration if it doesn’t translate into action?

That said, here are my favorite Steve Jobs quotes about life and work.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

“Sometimes life’s going to hit 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. This is true for work, as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work; and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.”

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

“Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

Playboy: “Are you saying that the people who made PCjr don’t have that kind of pride in the product?” Jobs: “If they did, they wouldn’t have made the PCjr.”

“I want to put a ding in the universe.”

In light of what you just read, what will you do differently today because of what Steve said?

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