Inside The Mind Of Steve Jobs – The Other Side Of His Story

From founding one of the world’s greatest companies to being fired from the same company, the life of Steve Jobs is nothing less than a rollercoaster. His company, Apple, is currently the most valued company in the world. 

Despite having achieved so much in his life, he had a very peculiar life journey. For the starters, from an early age, he used to state that he won’t live a long life. He passed away at only 56. He was such a visionary, so was he able to predict his own death as well?

Joking aside, Steve had a unique mindset that led him both to his success as well as his demise. So let’s now dive inside his mind, shall we?

Side note: I am currently reading the Biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Its review will be published soon.

Topics we’ll be discussing:

Steve Jobs with iPhone
Steve Jobs with iPhone

Reality distortion field

The term reality distortion field was coined by an Apple employee, Bud Tribble, in 1981. In his words, “In [Steve’s] presence, the reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he’s not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules.”

In his mind, Steve Jobs used to think that anything was possible. That he can achieve anything he wants to achieve and expects the same from others as well. This meant that setting unachievable deadlines, creating impossible products, and innovating like no one else. 

Despite these unattainable tasks seemed out of hand, they inspired surrounding people for greater accomplishment. By pushing the Apple employees, Steve made sure that Apple was ten steps ahead of its competitors. He was able to motivate himself as well as his team during the worst of times.

In that way, Apple was able to come up with the 21st century Mac laptops in the 1990s itself. Similarly, we all know how the launch of the iPhone in 2007 changed the mobile industry forever. Steve and his team were able to create a product ten years ahead of him. 

“Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.”

Manipulation strategies

Steve Jobs didn’t have to read How To Win Friends And Influence People to learn about psychology. He had a natural tendency to make people like him, and be able to manipulate them whenever he wished to.

He used to question himself in his mind on how he achieved the desired results with other people. He made sure that he connected with others on an emotional level. A lot of people who had worked with him later claimed that they had fallen for Steve’s manipulation strategies. They tried to avoid falling for them, but Steve was just too hard, as they said.

One of his main moves was to stare at people, and say nothing. He would make the situations so awkward that it forced the other person to speak up. 

Another common approach was to flatter out his correspondents. He used to lavishly praise Apple’s past CEOs Amelio and Sculley to make them believe Steve actually liked them. But, it was merely an impression. After flattering them, he then used to get work out of them, which they might have rejected otherwise. 

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

Get this best selling book! (Currently available only in India)- Steve Jobs Biography

Was Steve Jobs a hopeless romantic person?

You can write a whole book about Steve Jobs’s romantic life, and yet not finish his love story.

Steve had his first child, Lisa Brennan Jobs, with his high school girlfriend, Chris Ann Brennan. Due to some reasons, it had initially denied being the father to Lisa. At one point, he even claimed that Chris Ann used to sleep with many guys, so anyone could have been the father.

He then went onto date women of different age groups – one was fifteen years older than him, another was around ten years younger. He even tried to propose the latter one many times, which were all rejected. 

One day, at Stanford Business School, he met Lauren Powell, who he would eventually marry for the rest of his life and have three children. Even while dating her, he was going back to his previous girlfriend, trying to convince her to marry him.

After a year of dating, Steve asked Lauren to marry him. She gladly accepted his proposal. But Steve wouldn’t bring up about the marriage proposal for at least the next six months, before being confronted by Lauren.

“I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.”

Adoption left Steve Jobs emotionally vulnerable 

Despite being in a loving family, Steve Jobs still felt traumatized about his biological parents leaving him for adoption. This trauma would repeatedly come back time to haunt him. 

Whenever he felt defeated, he used to cry like a child. It didn’t matter who he was surrounded with at that time. He was unable to control his emotions.

If things didn’t turn out as he desired, he used to scream and blame everyone else in the room. In fact, he had even confronted his former boss, Apple’s CEO, John Sculley, for being a bad leader for Apple and demanding him to leave the company. 

“I wanted to meet my birth mother and to thank her because I didn’t end up as an abortion. She was 23 and went through a lot.”

Steve Jobs on stealing

Steve Jobs once quoted Picasso “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

When Steve and his Apple team visited Xerox in 1979, they found some innovative designs out there, which inspired Steve to make for themselves in Apple. But he was never shameful for stealing. 

In his own words, “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”.

How many people do you think can steal and yet be so public about it? In Steve’s mind, he didn’t feel any guilt about copying from others. He was rather very proud of having done that.

But his motive was never to earn money. He had not taken stock options from Apple and also took only a minimal salary. It’s one of the most crucial life lesson you can learn from him.

Anyways, Steve claimed that Microsoft stole something similar to that from Apple. He then berated Bill Gates for doing so. Gates famously replied, “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”

The bottom line

Besides being one of the most innovative people of his generation, Steve Jobs indeed had an interesting life story. His thinking process was completely different from most of us. While some of them were of great use, others might have been self-destructing, such as the impact of adoption on him.  

Nonetheless, we can all agree that Steve Jobs is truly a one a billion guy, and without him, we might still have been using conventional mobile phones.

Get this best selling book! (Currently available only in India)- Steve Jobs Biography

We have written a similar article about How To Motivate Yourself During The Worst Of Times? Check it out – How To Motivate Yourself During The Worst Of Times?

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hamish

    The g great discoveries of the future are only found by trying new things. Steve Jobs was truly a visionary, and there are many lessons about tapping into creativity we can learn from him.

    1. Kiran Kandel

      Yeah, Hamish! You’re right. When we opt for new things, discoveries happens. In this case, Steve Jobs created history in apple.

      Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

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