Need a boost of inspiration? Here you’ve got 7 quotes from great leaders in the modern tech world that will motivate and encourage you to take on new challenges. Each quote comes with explanations, suggestions, reflections…
P.S. I’ve included an 8th quote as a bonus, from a great tech genius of the past. We shouldn’t forget the giants on which we stand!
1. Tim Cook, director of Apple: Less is more
“[At Apple] we say ‘no’ to good ideas every day in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small. You could put all the products Apple sells on one table, yet it is a $40 billion dollar company.”
Specifically, Tim Cook focuses on three things: get close to smart people to collaborate with, connect strategies and execute them. This so-called “Rule of 3,” consists of doing three things (or less!) every day, month and year.
Don’t try to do it all at once. Don’t say “yes” to all suggestions or anything you can think of. Learn to prioritize, find out what’s best for you, and go for it! You’ll discover that by doing only what’s necessary, you won’t just get better results, you’ll also have a better time of it.
2. Jeff Bezos, director of Amazon: Don’t be afraid of criticism
“If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new.”
Be ready to receive criticism as soon as you start doing things differently. This criticism comes from everywhere: your parents, your friends, your partner, your lover, yourself (The Inner Voice: trying to self-sabotage from the start), your pet and strangers (see how they look at you sideways, it’s obvious!).
Sooner or later you’ll have to get used to criticism. Otherwise, you’ll remain static and frozen. It’s not easy to adapt to criticism. Maybe it’s comforting to know that criticism is a reaction to something. And if this reaction occurs, it means you’ve done it differently. That means you’ve made an impact! Don’t worry if the first steps are well received or not. You’ll learn on the go.
Quote source: http://www.cnbc.com/2014/04/29/cnbc-25-jeff-bezos.html
3. Elon Musk, director of Tesla Motors: Why do what you do?
“People work better when they know what the goal is and why.”
Do you feel miserable at work or in life in general? You have two options: admit the absurdity of accepting your lack of general passion or ask yourself the reason for your actions. Why do you want to work? Why do you want to get thin? Why do you want to read at least ten books this year? Why do you want to find a partner?
If your answer to these questions is “just because” or “because that’s what is expected of me” or “I don’t know,” then the time has come to look for other activities that have a clearer why. If you discover a reason that makes you smile or feel excited, go on a limb for that activity!
4. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft: Learn from failure
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
There are many lessons hidden in this quote. The most obvious is that if you learn from your failures, they’ll become successes. But I’m also left with the implicit moral: don’t fear failure. Exactly the opposite: fail because it’s the only way to improve.
Pay attention to that. Don’t fail to fail. Don’t make mistakes carefree, saying “haha, it’s all good, because failure is a good thing.” Failure “is good thing” if you analyze it, if you stop to find out what happened and how you can improve from now on. You’ll learn little if you don’t take this important step.
5. Marissa Mayer, director of Yahoo!: Enjoy your hobbies
“I’ve always loved baking. I think it’s because I’m very scientific. The best cooks are chemists… I’m a businesswoman first and foremost (but) my hobbies actually make me better at work. They help me come up with new and innovative ways of looking at things.”
Don’t undervalue your hobbies. Do you like to knit? Don’t hide from it. Exactly the opposite: take it to the next level. Go to the movies, go for a walk, listen to music, sing, draw, read comics… All these elements not only make up who you are but also may be hidden sources of inspiration.
When you’re immersed in your hobbies, you enter a world you know, a world beyond danger. Your mind, which produces more noise than you think, becomes inactive because there are no problems in sight. And when fear or prejudices, those offshoots of the mind, disappear, ideas and creativity turn up. If you want to learn more about this, I encourage you to read the book Flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. I’ve broken two fingers writing his name.
6. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple: Look for the question, not the answer
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
It’s immensely important to ask the right questions regularly. The right question energizes you, lets you see things that went unnoticed, illuminates corners of your brain hidden in shadow. I prefer to discover a key question a thousand times over than find a thousand ambivalent answers.
I recommend that you keep a notebook at hand (or a cell phone, laptop, or recorder…) to collect those questions that renew you from within, so every now and then you think about them and write whatever comes to mind as a possible answer.
7. Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook: Take a step back
“On hard days, I really just step back, and that’s the thing that keeps me going.”
Sometimes you have to stop yourself from getting burnt out. There are many warning signs that it’s time to rest: a tense body, irritation, feelings of confusion, constant fatigue…
In this sort of situation, you could take another step forward and maybe win the battle, sure, but your body and mind will remember your actions and how you ignored their needs. And trust me: you don’t want to become your own enemy #1.
8. Leonardo Da Vinci, Renaissance genius: Contemplate the stars
“He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.”
Being passionate about a subject or idea is a good thing. But obsessed? Not so much. When obsession shows up, normally blinders do too, those screens we put on horses so they only focus on the path in front of them and not anything else.
If you’re obsessed, you’ll stop accepting new points of view, new sources of inspiration and even new passions that satisfy you much more than the ones you have. If you shook your head at the previous paragraph, it means you’re already obsessed. Stop fixing on one star: there are thousands of constellations awaiting you!