The man behind Apple Computers is a polarizing figure – he’s either your hero or your villain. After reading his best-selling biography, I put him on the hero list and keep finding more reasons to admire him. There’s plenty of bad things about his reputation and history; so I don’t aspire to be just like him. But I’m a sucker for the visionary-young-man-changes-world-from-garage American Dream, and Jobs is the paragon entrepreneur. After revolutionizing personal computers, mobile phones, tablets, and the music, publishing and movie industries, he left us too soon and some say a golden age of innovation has ended. We're still looking for the next Steve Jobs. 

So in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh computer, here’s twelve of my favorite bits of Jobs wisdom. Many are from his lovely Stanford commencement speech. Because he knew his days on earth were numbered, his words have a boost of conviction and boldness that most motivational quotes are lacking.

  1. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
  2. Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
  3. If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.
  4. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things. (Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, 1997)
  5. 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. (CNNMoney/Fortune, 1993)
  6. 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.
  7. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
  8. My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.
  9. Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.
  10. Things don’t have to change the world to be important.
  11. When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again. (Private TV Interview. Watch here.)
  12. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Cheers, Steve. So, did I miss any of your favorite quotes? 

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