Throughout history, there have been many famous entrepreneurs that have risen from the ashes of failure and defeat. They’re names that we all know and love, often turning to them for a source of inspiration and motivation. But one name stands apart from that big playing-field — a tech titan whose time here on earth was cut short: Steve Jobs.
While the topic of his personality has been explored and uncovered in countless articles, posts, documentaries and even movies, the notion of what truly made Jobs an icon in the tech and business world was far more basic. In fact, there were 7 core habits that made Steve Jobs into the visionary that he will always be remembered for.
It’s because of these 7 core habits that Steve Jobs was able to build Apple into the behemoth that it became. It was because of these 7 core habits that his now-infamous ousting from Apple in 1985 wasn’t the end of his role as a leader, but only the beginning. It’s because of these 7 core habits that Steve Jobs was able to achieve so much over the course of a life cut too short.
Yet, before his name became synonymous with the American Dream, he was just another person struggling to make sense of the world. By his own accounts, he felt lost in his early days, dropping out of college to take courses that interested him, unable to really focus or understand what he wanted out of life.
While most of us might face some similar struggles to the early Steve Jobs, trying to deal with the day-to-day problems, fighting hard not to allow our stress, anxieties and fears to overwhelm us, there’s a set of habits, that when combined in the right formula and format, can help manifest the life of our dreams over time.
The biggest problem?
Things don’t happen overnight. Habits need to be developed and fostered; they need to be cultivated and nurtured. We can’t pick them up and drop them at a whim or because we get bored or sidetracked by some distraction.
Steve Jobs knew the importance of what he was doing, and he knew that there was a greater good to it all. While his life was cut short, he died doing what he loved. In the process, he created a company that will surely stand the test of time, building a raving culture of super-fans in the process.
So, what were those 7 core habit that really helped morph Steve Jobs into an icon? What helped to make him so special, able to weather the test of time and come out ahead?
#1 — He Consistently Created Value
Steve Jobs knew early on that he wanted to create an enormous amount of value in the world. He didn’t want to do anything mediocre, and his end goal wasn’t just to accumulate more money in his bank account — he wanted to change the world and do something revolutionary.
He had learned, somehow, early on, that by creating value, he would push past scores of average people and companies selling average products. He had learned that the only way to be great was to expect more of yourself than anyone else could ever expect.
For those and many other reasons, he focused on value, and creating beautiful, simple products embodying a far superior user-experience than anyone could have ever expected. While others pushed out products that didn’t make sense in an effort to churn a quick profit, Steve Jobs focused on visually stunning things that were simple and worked perfectly.
Today, if you look at any successful entrepreneur, you’ll see that the core habit of creating value is the centerpiece to a repertoire of good habits. Value is at the forefront of everything in today’s society, and truly marks a cornerstone in any successful individual, business, community, or organization.
#2 — He Obsessed Over Every Detail
What made Steve Jobs one of the greatest entrepreneurs to ever live was his obsession with the details. People have talked endlessly about his meticulous attention to the smallest details, mostly in a negative light. But, it’s that same obsession that led Apple on the journey from a company about to go bankrupt in 1997 before he retook the helm, to now one of the most valuable companies in the world.
The habit of obsessing over the details isn’t akin to most folks, but it is akin to many of the visionary leaders and great entrepreneurs who’ve graced the earth. While not all of them might be as well-known for doing so as Steve Jobs was, their meticulous nature is what helped them follow through, turning an idea into a well-executed plan.
If you can obsess over the details, looking at even the finest and most minute issues that might come up, no matter what you do, over time, success will surely come. Ignore the details, and even allow things to get out of hand, and success can all but be forgotten.
#3 — He Set Goals Often
Steve Jobs was a fervent goal-setter, setting long-term and short-term goals along the way. The goals helped him to outline a strategy for achieving his dreams, of creating simple and beautiful products that worked well, and of adding an enormous amount of value to the world.
The long-term goals gave him direction. But the short-term goals and the milestones helped him to stay on track in the near term, making his vision into a reality. By setting short-goals, even daily goals, we can all stay on track towards those long-term goals that seem so far out.
When Jobs was kicked out of Apple in 1985, ousted by the same man he brought on as CEO, his whole world fell apart. But he fought back little by little by taking things one step at a time. Of course, we all know the story about how his company, NeXT Computer was acquired by Apple in 1997, and he regained the helm of his once-beloved company.
Goals help us move from one point in life to another. And, without an effective strategy for setting goals, life can seem far more meaningless. Jobs knew how to leverage the art of goal setting by making it habitual, helping him to achieve monumental dreams during his lifetime.
#4 — He Built Trust at Every Stage
Steve Jobs knew that in order to win over customers, he had to build trust. During every stage of each company he was involved in, Jobs built trust by focusing on making a superior product that was free from flaws and beautifully designed. Not only did they look good, but they worked great.
He also focused on ensuring that his customers were satisfied. If there was a complaint or a problem with a product that his company produced, he made sure he handled it. He knew that the way to create a super-culture of raving fans was to do it one customer at a time.
While most people focus on self-advancement at any cost, it’s those who focus on ensuring that they do everything aboveboard, beyond anything else, that truly get ahead. Warren Buffet once said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Jobs knew the importance of trust, making it a cornerstone of his habit repertoire.
#5 — He Tracked and Analyzed the Numbers
Steve Jobs’ propensity for the details extended well into the numbers, making a habit out of tracking and analyzing. Simply put, you can’t achieve your goals without really being a stickler for the numbers. The more people can pay attention, track, and analyze the numbers, the more likely they are to succeed.
Successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs know that in order to achieve their goals, they need to constantly track and analyze the numbers, adjusting their approach where seen fit. In fact, it’s the meticulous devotion to tracking and analyzing the outcome of his results that led him into wild success.
While many of us ignore the numbers, that was a hallmark that made Steve Jobs so great. He knew he had to watch the numbers and do so very carefully. He also had an accountability mindset, ensuring that there was someone responsible for every figure at a meeting. If something was amiss, there was someone who had to fix it.
#6 — He Learned From Every Failure
No one likes failure, including Steve Jobs. Even the fear of failure is enough to scare people from reaching for a lofty goal. There’s the fear of what others would think if you failed, or how you would feel, and what you would do or say in light of the embarrassment. Steve Jobs was no stranger to failure. But he also knew how to use those failures to fuel him rather than deter him.
The habit of learning from failure is a rare one. Not everyone looks at failure as a stepping stone. But there are huge lessons to be learned from failure. Steve Jobs’ biggest failure was being ousted from Apple, his baby, the company that he built, in 1985, by someone he had personally hired and even trusted. Leaving Apple left Steve Jobs feeling as though he were lost, embarrassed to even show his face.
It wasn’t that he lost the money that starting Apple afforded him, it was the loss of dignity and of allowing someone else to upheave what he had been trying to achieve. Of course, while Apple was failing, on the verge of bankruptcy even, Steve Jobs took back the helm in 1997, only to do things the right way that time around, with full approval from the board of directors.
#7 — He Never Gave Up
Of course, not giving up is a habit akin to all of the greats. It’s that level of persistence that truly turns someone from a mediocre person, into an extraordinary individual. Jobs was certainly an extraordinary individual, refusing to give up, and not taking ‘no’ for an answer when he wanted to achieve something. Others thought certain things weren’t possible, but Jobs knew all too well that they were.
When Apple was set to launch the first iPhone, it was widely reported that Steve Jobs had given his team an almost-impossible task. Getting the iPhone and all its gadgetry to work was one of the hardest jobs he had assigned to his team of aptly-capable engineers back in 2005.
Even up until the day prior to the presentation on stage in 2007, there were software glitches, dropped calls, and WiFi problems with the iPhone. However, Jobs kept persistent from the beginning. And we all know the result of what happened after that. Apple’s products have revolutionized the industry and the world, while also creating a massive marketplace for apps, almost even making smartphones an extension of our brains.
If Steve Jobs hadn’t been persistent at any point in that time, the company would not be where it is today.