“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” (Steve Jobs)
I was torn between a few topics that I wanted to comment upon, but this little quote from Steve Jobs kept coming back to haunt me. Obviously Jobs was a person who never lived anything but his own life; but how does this apply to the rest of us?
I think all too often we may become hung up on emulating someone else or trying to be like someone else, mainly people that we thing are cool at the time. We want to be accepted and sometimes we think that this means being like others in the cool, “in” crowd that we so covet being a part of. How sad that we abandon who we really are trying to live the life of someone else. Of course, we can never succeed at that and it may, in fact, brand us as a loser – a hanger-on who has no life of their own.
It’s better, I think, to spend more time getting in touch with who you really are and finding ways to express that confidently. If that doesn’t fit in with that “in” crowd, then maybe you weren’t meant to be a part of that scene. You have to find your own crowd, one that more closely reflects your interests and in which you are much more likely to be comfortable. Maybe you weren’t meant to be in the jock crowd; but, rather, fit better in the artsy crowd. Maybe you don’t fit in a crowd at all and need to find your own way. Take heart that you are not alone; you just haven’t found your fellow travelers yet. You may even find that there are people who envy you because you don’t run with the crowd.
Sometimes the very young get so hung up on trying to emulate someone else that they end up changing their appearance to try to look like that person. The may dress like them or change tier hair to a style that looks the same as their dream person or maybe they fantasize about becoming a big star. Ironically many of the so-called big stars fantasize about being able to be anonymous again, like they used to be before they became famous. They’d like to be like you!
Steve Jobs lived his own life on his own terms and changed the world a bit through his leadership and influence within Apple. Now Apple has become identified with Tim Cook, Jobs’ protégé and successor. Tim has not tried to live his life like Steve Jobs. He acknowledges and appreciates the work that Jobs did and
the mentorship that he provided, but he is taking Apple off on a new direction that is of his making and not that of Steve Jobs. Somehow I think Jobs would approve of that.
Another lesson that I think follows from the Jobs quote, is not to live your life for the approval of others. When we are young we all seek the approval of others – our parents, our teachers and our peers. As we get older it is important to start living our lives for ourselves; doing things that we want to do and not just to win the approval of others. In fact, we may find a mission in our lives to do things not for the approval of others but for the betterment of others. Instead of waiting for them to say, “you did good”; maybe just hearing them say, “Thank you” for what you did will be reward enough. That is not wasting your time, it is spending it wisely.
So, instead of spending time wondering what someone else is doing or would do, get out and start being yourself. Make being you your full time job, not trying to emulate someone else. Enter a room not seeking the approval of someone else or trying to be like someone else; but, rather, seeking to share with others who you are and what you bring into the conversation. Displaying confidence in who and what you are can be one of the most powerful and attractive things that you can do. It’s not egotistical or self-centered, it’s self-confidence. It is saying to the world, “Here I am; take me as I am; because, I’m not trying to be someone or something that I’m not.” You may be surprised that some in the room will start to gravitate to you and try to emulate you. They are people who haven’t yet figured out how to be comfortable just being themselves. Maybe you can help them just be themselves. After all, there’s already someone who is busy being you.