9. Steve Jobs's Distancing

November 28, 2023

Steve Jobs is well-known for his dramatic life. He built Apple into a success, becoming incredibly wealthy at the age of 30, only to be ousted from the company he created due to conflicts with the board. He described this period as feeling like "everything had ended", "losing all focus in life", and "being devastated." He went on to say, "For a few months, I couldn't do anything." Undoubtedly, he must've been mired in extreme lethargy and emptiness.

However, he soon picked himself back up. He noted that "something slowly began to stir in my heart again" and realized he still loved what he had been doing. As a result, he decided to start the same work again, founding a computer company called NeXT. Over time, Apple acquired NeXT, leading to Steve Jobs' return to Apple.

It's well-known that Steve Jobs had a deep interest in Buddhist philosophy and mindfulness. Consequently, his quotes often relate to the practice of "distancing."

"Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."

I firmly believe that the practice of "distancing," which Steve Jobs cultivated through spiritual training, greatly assisted him in clarifying the values he wanted. His expressions precisely point towards recognizing thoughts, clarifying values, and dedicating oneself to them.

To create innovations that could change humanity in a short period, countless pains are inevitable. At times, projects fail, one might feel humiliation from others, and even be disgracefully ousted from their own company. But Steve Jobs did not suffer in these processes. In each of these times, he distanced himself from thought, further clarified his values, and devoted himself again to his value. As a result, he was able to live the life he wanted, free from the shackles of depression or anxiety, even amid painful processes.

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