Wisdom From Steve Jobs
A True Story
on Aug 28, 2021
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life," thus advised Steve Jobs in his famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University. He had been invited to that commencement ceremony to be conferred an honorary doctorate by Stanford for the pivotal contributions he had made in the field of personal computing.
Born in America in 1955 to a mother who was not ready to raise a child, Steve Jobs was adopted by a couple who promised his biological mother that they would educate him up to college. True to their promise, the couple saw to it that Steve Jobs attended college; he was accepted at Reed College in 1972.
But you know what? After only one semester, Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College since he didn't see the value of his college education. And after he dropped out, he started hanging around the college while pursuing his hobbies and personal interests. He, for instance, took lessons in calligraphy by dropping in on classes at Reed. As to how the Reed College administration allowed him into the classes without him being part of the college, I don't know.
Thanks to his pursuit of what interested him, Steve Jobs, together with two of his friends, founded in 1976 a computer-making company they named Apple Inc. They began the company's operations in a garage. And despite the company's humble beginnings, it grew in size within a few years - making Steve Jobs a dollar-millionaire while still in his 30s.
Steve Jobs told Stanford graduates in 2005 that the calligraphy skills he acquired at Reed College came in handy when he was developing Apple computers. So dropping out of the college turned out to be one of the best decisions he ever made.
As Steve Jobs worked on growing Apple Inc., office politics came into play which in 1985 led him to be sacked from Apple Inc. - the company he had founded. Getting sacked from Apple Inc. was a frustrating experience for him. But as he told Stanford graduates in 2005, it is the best thing that ever happened to him because it transitioned him into one of the most creative periods of his life.
After being sacked from Apple Inc., Steve Jobs founded another company he called NeXT. Using the skills and experiences he had gained while working for Apple Inc., he nurtured NeXT into such a successful company that it was eventually bought by Apple Inc. in 1996, making Steve Jobs return to the company he founded in 1976. He was made CEO of Apple Inc. in 1997.
As the CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs steered the company into one of the most respected and most profitable firms in the world. It was under his visionary leadership that the company created such game-changing gadgets as iPod, iPad and iPhone. And the products of Apple Inc. came to be known for their quality and durability.
Steve Jobs told Stanford graduates in 2005 that he was lucky to have found something he loved to do at an early age. He advised the graduates to also find their passion. This is what he advised them:
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... Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice... And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.Besides his love for what he did, what also contributed to Steve Jobs' success as an entrepreneur was his motto: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish." When I first came across that motto of his, I didn't understand what it meant. I must have thought it had something to do with going without food and being stupid. But alas! On googling up its meaning, I learnt that to stay hungry and to stay foolish means to keep improving ourselves and to keep on aiming high even after attaining our goals.
Another factor that contributed to Steve Jobs' success was his thinking that he would die one day. That sense of mortality infused him with a desire to make the most of each day. He would often ask himself in the morning, "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever his answer was "no" for several days in a row, he knew he had to change.
Sure enough, Steve Jobs did eventually die. He passed away on October 5th, 2011 after battling pancreatic cancer for a number of years. And when he died, the whole world mourned his death - a testament to the impact he had made in the field of personal computing. He left a legacy of ambition, innovation and challenging the status quo that has continued to guide Apple Inc. employees.
I don't know about you but for me, the story of Steve Jobs has inspired me to keep on working on my talents in music and writing. It has also given me hope that all things will eventually work out for my good as the Bible says in the book of Romans. Hopefully, I will one day look back on my life, just as Steve Jobs did in 2005, and realize that both the good and the bad things in my life contributed to my success.
By the way, Steve Jobs was a Buddhist who found meaning and direction in life from the Buddhism religion of the Far East. That's why, even though I am deeply Christian, I have never looked down on people of other creeds - be they Hindus, Muslims or atheists. For me, I consider my Christian faith a personal issue that I have never wished to impose on others. Adieu!
UPDATE: I added subtitles to show the lyrics of the hymn "Help Me God" that I produced about six years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the hymn and have a listen. I am sure you'll love it.
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The Evil in This World
A True Story
on Aug 23, 2021
Last Friday, my Dad left home early in the morning and headed to Nairobi City to hustle for our daily bread. He had promised us the previous day that he would be back home before dark with cooking oil and a packet of wheat flour for cooking chapatis and lentils stew - my favorite meal. That Friday morning as Dad was in Nairobi, I peacefully went about my duties here at home of taking care of my sick Mum who was crippled by a stroke a couple of years ago.
Then at around noon when Mum phoned Dad to inquire about something, a stranger received Dad's phone. Mum asked me to talk to the stranger, which I did. The stranger informed me that Dad had left his phone in a matatu and that he had arranged with a contact on the phone on how he would hand over the phone to Dad. And the stranger talked to me in such a friendly and confident manner that I immediately trusted him. I thought to myself of how kind it was of him to give the phone back to Dad.
Hearing that Dad had left his phone in a matatu worried me a bit. And as I always do when worry creeps into my soul, I uttered a short prayer asking God to oversee the successful handing over of the phone to Dad. After praying, I felt a peace in my heart - the peace that transcends all understanding - while I took a shower and washed my clothes in the afternoon.
Guess what! When I was done with washing my clothes, a neighbor of mine named Mama Kuria phoned me to inform me that a criminal was using Dad's phone to con people out of their money. Mama Kuria was right because immediately after her call, I got an SMS from Dad's number asking me to lend him Ksh. 12,000 which he would return later on in the evening. Mum, who had been listening attentively to me talking to Mama Kuria, asked me what was happening.
My Mum is a worry-wart. The slightest wrong thing can set her crying and wailing. And last Friday, she was no different when I told her what was happening to Dad's phone. She started sobbing, squawking and yammering as she made frantic calls to our family members. I tried to allay her worries by telling her I'd call my brother Bob Njinju who was in Nairobi.
When Bob received my call, I updated him that it was a conman who had gotten hold of Dad's phone and then I requested him to find a way he could have Dad's number blocked. Bob followed up on my request with the keenness of an athlete preparing for an Olympic race. Thanks to his intervention, Dad's number was blocked which I am sure stopped the conman dead in his tracks.
Soon after Dad's number was blocked, it dawned on me that the conman needed Dad's MPESA PIN for him to use Dad's phone to solicit money from contacts in the phone. That made me worry about Dad's safety. Had the conman stolen the phone from Dad and made him surrender his MPESA PIN by force? Or was he part of a gang that could have kidnapped Dad as it happened to another elderly man I read about in the newspaper recently?
I was greatly relieved when Dad phoned Mum an hour or so later using a relative's phone. For me, what mattered was whether Dad was safe and sound. Once I learnt he was safe, I thanked God and asked Him to fill Dad with the peace of mind he needed to deal with the situation that was unfolding in a disturbing manner. And I could hardly wait to see Dad back at home and hear him narrate to us about what had transpired to him.
Dad came back home at around 9.00pm, looking serene and peaceful. (He is such a mature and worldly-wise father.) Glad to see him, I cajoled him to tell us how he had lost his phone. Well, I didn't get to understand the gist of his story. The little I gleaned from him was that he had an MPESA PIN that was easy to guess. That's why the conman had gained access to his MPESA account.
And you know what? Not only did the conman solicit money from contacts in Dad's phone, he also withdrew all the money from Dad's MPESA account and took a loan of Ksh. 9,000 under Dad's name. What an evil man!
As I reflected on what had happened to Dad and on how the conman had talked to me in a friendly and confident manner, I came to agree more with Abraham Lincoln who observed that "all men are not true; all men are not just". I also agreed with the author of the "Desiderata" who noted that this world is full of trickery. Indeed, it is full of trickery.
Perhaps most important, the experience made me believe in the Bible more. Dad had left home early on Friday morning with a promise to be back home before dark, only for him to be held in Nairobi by the circumstances that had befallen him. And he came back without the cooking oil and packet of wheat floor he had agreed to buy. How true the Bible is when it tells us not to boast about tomorrow because we never know what may happen! And how right it is when it talks of the evil in this world!
 MPESA is a mobile banking and money transfer service here in Kenya.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the evil in this world, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about two years ago on "How I got Swindled Out of My Money". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.