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Steve Jobs on the Secret of Life

When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

Steve Jobs, 1994

We’re all born into this world as heirs. We inherit what millenia of our ancestors have fought for and created. Yet despite the richness and variability of this world, it doesn’t quite fit each one of us individually. We go about our lives spending most of our time in other peoples’ creations: working at prearranged jobs, watching prepackaged entertainment, even adopting prejudged notions. We don’t question this, it’s just how life is, and everyone else is doing the same.

But there will be times when we feel as if something is wrong or missing in our lives. It begins as a mild itch but left unexamined slowly turns into something much more deleterious. To many, this is known as the mid-life or quarter-life crisis. The lack of purpose and fulfillment leads to a sense of helplessness. Is this all life has to offer, many wonder?

And therein lies the problem. The world can only offer what others before you have created. No matter how great this ready-made world may be, it was not made uniquely for each individual. And so the only way you can make your place in the world, or create a dent in the universe, as Steve Jobs was apt to say, is by creating part of it – contributing your part to the whole. In turn, you leave behind a greater inheritance to our heirs and theirs to come. Your world – and life – suddenly becomes a part of those who adopt it.

Every creation enlarges the universe just a little bit more. How will you contribute?