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I’m sure everybody who hasn’t been living under a rock, knows about the recent passing of Steve Jobs. The CEO of Apple was a true innovator, great leader, and relentless worker, who brought the world some of the most groundbreaking products ever seen. The impact he left on this planet will be felt for generations and is the stuff of legends. In short, he embodies everything that we strive for at living.life.fearless, and like everyone else I am in awe of the brilliance he was able to achieve in such a short span and will greatly miss the fire he brought to his industry and the rest of the world.

With his untimely passing, everybody has been examining his life, his actions, all in the hopes of identifying that secret ingredient which made him and his company so extraordinary. There have been a lot of ideas thrown out in speculation: that he was simply a genius, that he worked harder than everyone else, that it was sheer luck, and so on and so on. While there is some truth to a lot of these points, I find that they all miss the mark; they all miss a simple little fact that is often missed and often the one thing that separates the elite performers from the average. I don’t think there was anything innate that made him better than the average person, but what he did have, was something so many people in life lack and struggle with; PURPOSE.

How smart you are, how much of a hard worker you are, or how much innate talent you possess means absolutely nothing without purpose. I know that’s my biggest struggle with the school system in general. I like to think that I’m a fairly intelligent person, but if you look back through my years of education, my GPA wouldn’t suggest anybody above the average, and my parents would always wonder why is that? Well now I know, it’s because I didn’t feel like I was doing the work for any purpose, I was just going through the motions and doing enough to get the grade and pass the class. But when I stepped onto that court I didn’t need any incentive to keep giving it my all, to keep performing at my highest level. I wasn’t getting paid for staying after practice and working on my game on my own. There was no cash reward for waking up early on the weekends to get on the court before everyone else. It was the purpose that I felt I had that drove me. Steve Jobs wasn’t working those long hours, while battling cancer so that he would get paid. He didn’t push his company to reach for even greater heights, even though they were the kings of the hill, for a bonus at the end of the year. He did it because he found his purpose.

If you find yourself doing work just to get by, just to get a check, and expect to reach the top and become a true innovator, then think again. Work without purpose is just that, work; but work with purpose becomes so much more, it becomes a necessity just as breathing, and often leads to innovation. The moment you find yourself putting in countless extra hours and work to achieve something that will bring you no obvious gains, then you might have just found your purpose. Someone who’s found their purpose has no explanation for why they do the things they do, or for why they push themselves so much, it’s just something that gnaws at them and must be done. It’s as much a compulsion as it is a trait. So really the secret ingredient, really isn’t so secret. To accomplish anything in life you must first have a purpose.

Steve Jobs was a special man who brought a lot to this world. He has shown me so many things in my life, but the thing that will stick with me the most, is that with a true purpose you can accomplish anything. RIP Steve Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011.

Elliott Fryback showed me this great video that influenced this post, I think everyone should check it out, it’s really well done. You can check out his blog here.

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