A bold and creative visionary? Of course.
A tyrant who rained fear down on his team? *Cue the thunder*
Revolutionized personal computing? Undisputed.
An unreasonable, pain in the @#$% to work for? Clearly.
It really depends on who you ask.
Whatever your opinion, it’s also undisputed that the man was ahead of his time.
When the market, his team AND his board of directors wanted to go right, he insisted on veering left.
Like all creative visionaries — he believed that we didn’t know what we wanted until he gave it to us.
And he was right (most of the time.)
And like all creative visionaries, he was shooting for targets no-one else could see. Targets the rest of us didn’t even know were there.
That’s the definition of true innovation.
It involves holding a vision that can appear downright unreasonable, or even dangerous from the outside.
For example, in the (very) early days of trains, their speed was limited to 30mph because it was thought that the human body would actually explode at higher speeds. Then one day someone defied the scientists, put their life on the line and dared to travel at 31mph.
That one “unreasonable” act revolutionized travel.
Back to the movie — Steve was constantly encouraged by his team and by the world to do the safe, responsible thing for everyone, and travel at 30mph.
But he refused.
Time and time again he stuck to his vision, pushed forward against opposition and put the pedal to the metal. And each time he hit that target, the critics joined the rest of us in the queue at midnight to buy his next innovation.
At the heart of EVERY major innovation is an unreasonable vision — an almost impossible vision.
But we know that already. The challenge ISN’T your ability to HAVE a vision. A lot of people have a vision.
The real challenge is in holding that vision, and keeping moving toward it when nobody else can see it except for you.
When only you can see what’s possible, it can create a horrible gap. By the time you listen to what everyone else thinks, the bright vision you once had starts to look a little gray.
Jobs was purportedly largely “indifferent” to what people thought of him and his ideas, which is what enabled him to pursue his vision fully.
This indifference was a kind of “reality distortion field” and he carried it with him like armor. It allowed him to keep moving, despite what other people thought, toward a vision that only he could see and it allowed him to grow Apple from a garage start-up to the most valuable tech company of all time.
But we aren’t Steve Jobs — most of us care what people think. Nobody wants to feel like an outcast, misunderstood, rejected. (It’s the psychological equivalent of death, after all.)
So how do you keep moving in the face of all this?
Because it WILL happen.
While there’s huge value in knowing how to push for your vision, there’s even MORE value in having a solid plan for how to KEEP GOING when everyone else tells you you’re crazy.
What’s your “reality distortion field” going to be? What’s going to keep you moving, even when everyone tells you that what you’re doing is “crazy”, “will never work”, and that you should “be reasonable”?
An early mentor once told me: “There are only two people you should listen to: the people who pay you and the people you pay.”
Whether or not you subscribe to this notion, when it comes to your vision it is absolutely CRITICAL to know (in advance, well-ahead-of-time) who you’re going to listen to and who you’re going to ignore.
Your ability to be uncompromising and even unreasonable in this is the ONLY thing that’s going to make it possible for you to bring your incredible value to the world.
I invite you to trust in that vision, trust in yourself, and carry your “distortion field” with you like armor.
This is the only thing that will give you a fighting chance of letting go of what (the wrong) people think, and free you to be as “unreasonable” as you need to be in bringing your true value to the world.
Remember that what you can see that no-one else can is the ONLY reason you’re here on this planet.It’s what makes you unique, valuable. It’s what makes you, well… YOU.
We’re waiting for you to show us what we can’t see…. just yet.