Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Secret to Steve Jobs' success?

Have you noticed that every person has a story to tell? There seem to be millions of stories in the world, but only few actually have "listeners". The story I told you about in my last seven posts was written by David L. Cook, based on a multitude of real people and I could easily have been one of them. It's the story of a once destructive path, redeemed by a loving God. There are many types of stories in this world and once in a while, there is an extraordinary story that the entire world seems to take notice of. A story like the one of Steve Jobs. Ever since I printed one of his quotes in my blog something grabbed me and I decided to dig around in the internet and read up on his story a little. I was curious. What might have been the secret to his phenomenal success? Was he happy? It didn't take long and I found a common thread running through his life. Walk with me, for a little while, as I explore just a tiny part of his story...

Steve Jobs was adopted at an early age and during his childhood, he often stuck to himself. According to an internet biography, he preferred competitive swimming over team sports, so he didn't seem to mind competition, but he did prefer to compete alone. In his teens, he spent a lot of time in his neighbor's garage playing with all sorts of gadgets and electronics, so you could say, that in his childhood, Steve Jobs was a bit of a loner. Later, he dropped out of college, but kept attending his favorite courses and if necessary, he collected bottles and returned them for money so he could buy food. Considering this humble beginning, his story is even more incredible, especially his rise to fame. So what might be the secret of his success? How did he do it? How did he get there at such a young age? I am sure there are millions of people more qualified than me to answer this question, but here's what I have been pondering over:

Difficult childhood  =  (usually) lots of quiet time
A loner as a teen  =  (probably) more quiet time
Spending his early adulthood in a garage  =  (very likely) tons of quiet time

It appears to me that Steve Jobs definitely has had a lot of opportunity for "quiet times"! So I dare ask - could "quiet times" somehow have been the base of Steve Jobs' success? What does real success start with?

Let's first define "quiet time" as a restful time that we (usually) spend alone. Some people spend their quiet time sitting in a chair simply pondering, reading or in conversation with God. Other people spend quiet time on the fairway of a golf course. But whatever you do, quiet time is defined by a certain amount of solitude. Judging from what I read about Steve Jobs early life, he seems to have had a lot of quiet time. I don't know if he ever had any conversations with God, but he did seem to prefer solitude over a raving party. Now, in my personal experience, during a good "quiet time" God will not only show us much needed corrections, He will also show us our true passion and calling in life and no doubt, quiet times are there to renew our energy levels and gather strength. Any long distance runner will tell you that without well timed stops along the wayside of a very long race, there is no race being won! These stops are crucial and serve to replenish much needed energy. But in a frantically busy world, that seems to be on a permanent "fast forward", most people don't seem to replenish anymore! Many of us face a life depleted of energy and inspiration. But this doesn't have to be! Well timed stops - "quiet times" - will allow us to replenish abundantly!

Steve Jobs was one of the wealthiest men in the world and certainly one of the most gifted businessmen in the history of the USA. I suppose it is possible that he simply launched a product at the right point in time and in the right market, but there are so many failures in this world, so many products that never took off at all, that I wonder - how did he know? How did he get the timing just right? I believe that the answer could be quite simple. That the foundation to his success, to making it all work together at the right time, might just be nothing more than quiet time! Steve Jobs, at a young age was wise enough to allow himself a lot of quiet time, during which he was likely to see the "bigger picture" of what was happening in his life as well as in the lives of others. Many others that one day would become his customers. He even said so himself. He spent a lot of time "calming his mind" during which his intuition blossomed and somewhere along the way "Apple" must have taken shape in his mind. Of course he did have an advantage. He was young and he still had the energy to turn his visions into actions and his actions into success. A truly rare occurrence nowadays on such a large scale. So rare, that we write books about it, make movies and stare at them in awe, could it be done? Life has become very complicated, when it could and should be so simple. Quiet time. Spend time with God. Often. Even when you are young and restless and not "in the mood" for it! Perhaps, especially when you are young for the promise of benefit is right here:

"He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 
They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." 
Psalms 107:29-30 NIV

I admit. I will probably never know what really guided Steve Jobs to his desired haven. But my guess would be quiet times. It makes sense to me. It was during quiet times that my path was straightened and I set course for my own desired haven! No, I can't claim any sort of rise to fame, but it definitely worked for me and I am certain that it would work for you too. So, if you secretly hope to be the next Steve Jobs or you just wish you could have a small but very own piece of success, may it be monetary or otherwise, I suggest - stop thinking about ingenious products, market gaps and other people's stories of success and start at the source of it all - have a quiet time! Learn to calm your mind. You might just discover your true passion and calling and a new road to greatness could open for you! We live in a world that seems to be growing colder and colder and perhaps we need great stories like Steve Jobs' to look up to, but one of the greatest stories in God's kingdom is still a fruit bearing tree. Someone who is willing to show kindness to others. So even or especially if your life seems to have frosted over like this tree, I would like to encourage you today and wish you... inspired and wonder-filled day!!

(Photos are my own or courtesy of


  1. This is very insightful and true. Stay blessed. For the next 21 days, I will strive to spend at least 20min alone...

    1. What a fab decision and thank you so much for your kind words! Perhaps, if you would like to, come back and tell us how you did after the 21 x 20min blessed!

  2. LOVE this Sue. You have a gift for taking a story others would overlook, or a well-known story like a fairytale, and bringing some great truth from it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Shirley, I really appreciate your encouraging words! After a series of slightly more serious posts based on golf, I will definitely try to extract some truth from a more jovial source next month...stay tuned! ;)


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