What is left to be said about the death of an icon such as Steve Jobs?
The reaction to his death has been more like that of a rock star than a corporate titan. That, perhaps, is because of Jobs’ skill at storytelling.
Nobody could generate excitement over a new product launch like Steve Jobs. He didn’t just build products, he unleashed dreams. You might take a look at this Slideshare program, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” for ways to incorporate his strategies into your own storytelling, whether you are selling an idea to your boss, a story to your child or a new computer or phone to the world.
The great storyteller
If you haven’t heard Jobs’ Stanford University commencement speech from 2005, “How to Live Before You Die,” you owe it to yourself to watch it now. Not only is it a breathtaking wisdom, it represents the best in storytelling. In fact, Jobs divides the speech into a trilogy of short stories, the first about how dropping out of college turned out to be the right thing to do because it allowed him to take courses he wouldn’t have otherwise taken, such as calligraphy, which impacted the typography design of the Mac.
“You can’t connect the dots going forward,” Jobs says, reflecting on how decisions affect your life. “You can only connect them looking back.”
The second story is about getting fired from Apple — the company he started — at age 30, and how it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.
In his final story, Jobs talked about his initial brush with death when first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004.
“Death is very likely the single best invention of life,” Jobs says. “It’s life change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the way is you. But someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and will be cleared away… Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living somebody else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living by the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your inner voice, and, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They some how already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Beyond the machines that Jobs created over a lifetime that ended too soon, Jobs left a much larger legacy — one that reflects strength and creativity honed through the challenges of being human. Go make and tell your own stories.
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