‘Be the first penguin’ and ‘get into the wheel burrow!’ RIP Steve Job

Cartoon by –Randy Bish, Editorial Cartoonist

When penguins jump into the water where there are predators, one has to go first.


Steve Job taught us failure means ‘nothing’ and it is all about the ‘big leap in the dark!’ Two speeches that should become part of school juniors syllabus universally. One by Jobs delivered now known as the the legendary Stanford University commencement address in 2005 and other by Randy Pausch (1960-10-23 – 2008-07-25) a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States and a bestselling author, who achieved worldwide fame for his speech ‘The Last Lecture’ at Carnegie Mellon University, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and having only a few months to live. The Carnegie Mellon professor’s book and talk were meant as life lessons for his children.


Both taught us about the culture that celebrates risks; culture that admires creativity; a culture that dream big, a culture that knows “Questions are more important than answers” and having passion and fun. Pausch writes: “I don’t know how not to have fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it.”


Facing death as a ‘fait accompli’ not a catastrophe , see what Job had to say about his first bout with cancer:

‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up, so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying, because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.


Encourage creativity and Celebrate brick walls. “Brick walls are there for a reason,” writes Pausch. “They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”What lessons we can pass on to our next generations when great man leave this congested space of ours. The vacuum can only be filled and they can only be recreated if we live with the ideals that they leave behind.Very few people are born with ability to change the word, it is ‘nature not nurture.’ Constructive streak and innovation is a designed part of our genes ; Steve Job was a person who made such a big difference to the world with his humility and vision, for someone like me who has looked up to great people as mentors of my life; he is the top gun and shall remain so.


People like Steve Job and Randy Pausch also educated us how to face death with decorum and style.’ Passing on’ without fuss and making every second worthwhile on our predictable dull stay on this lonely forlorn home of ours we call earth. Successful people learn how to overcome tremendous setbacks and defeats.


‘I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5-cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. ‘


Randy Pausch encouraged his students to take risks, think outside the box, and face difficult challenges even if it mean failing. In his own words, “failure is not just acceptable, it’s often essential.” We believe ‘Life is always not about success’ it is about “glorious failures” too. Life turns sour many a times but you need to still manage to maintain faith in others, refusing to become cynical. Ingenuity, kind-heartedness, which unfortunately will be played upon by others for their advantage should remain with you. Don’t ever become a victim of power-games. Those who consider you as not good enough just walk away from them; let them find their peace you find yours. Don’t sell your importance and don’t ever beg for respect only you can gain it through action.


Try to be the “First” Penguin. Be the first penguin. “I encouraged students to attempt hard things and not to worry about failing…failure is not just acceptable, it’s often essential.” Dream big. Pausch was attending camp in the summer of 1969 when men first walked on the moon. He remembers his camp counselors sending everyone back to their tents before the big event because it was getting late. Pausch thought to himself, “My species has gotten off of our planet and landed in a new world for the first time, and you people think bedtime matters?” When you put people on the moon, argues Pausch, you’re inspiring everyone to achieve to their maximum potential. “Give yourself permission to dream. Fuel your kids’ dreams, too. Once in a while, that might even mean letting them stay up past their bedtimes.” when penguins jump into the water where there are predators, one has to go first. When the late Nadine Stair of Louisville, Kentucky, was 85 years old, she was asked what she would do if she had her life to live over again. “I’d make more mistakes next time,” she said. “Making Failure Your Friend is an art of life. Admit Failure Freely – Admit mistakes and move on. Don’t Blame Others – Don’t make excuses. Be strong enough to assume immediate and full responsibility. Learn From Failure – Every success I know has been reached because the person was able to analyze defeat and profit from it in the next undertaking.


Don’t Take Failure Too Seriously – Develop a sense of humour. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have Courage – Do not be intimidated by setbacks. Balance Your Life – Develop interests in several areas of your life. Then, when you fail in one area, your whole life doesn’t lose meaning. “No single venture should support your entire emotional life”.


Set New Goals – “Failure is the only opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Henry Ford

Macintosh Fonts and accident of fate and passion:


‘And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.’


Even when you are faced with worst of insults just forget and keep one thing in mind that you need to perform better and just move on. Once you are committed to a friendship be totally devoted and faithful. Should heart or trust be broken forgive but never forget. When a relationship breaks down even a long standing one; don’t be a whiner disappear into the sunset without a backward look. Don’t let pride become your weakness but rather leash your pride. Try to be creative and sensitive, eccentric and original, don’t play a part all the time remain ‘foolish and be hungry.’

”I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30, I was out.”

‘I even thought about running away from the Valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me–I still loved what I did.


Success through failures, this is what we instil in our team, keep learning, keep your head down and succeed against all odds. We like those who know their weaknesses, those overconfident outwardly strong are the weakest links in any team; our strength is making realisation of general weaknesses and overcoming it, more often than not we fail but we like to do it our way i.e. success through failures is our motto. In Randy Pausch Last Lecture he touched on ‘Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.’ ‘ Forget about your failures. Do not dwell on past mistakes. Anticipate failure. Realize that we all make mistakes. Intensity should be felt in everything you do. Never be a failure for lack of effort. Learn from your mistakes. Do not repeat previous errors. Understand why you failed. Diagnose your mistakes so as not to repeat them. Respond, do not react to errors. Responding corrects mistakes. Reacting magnifies them. Elevate your self-concept. It’s okay to fail. Everyone does. Quitters never win, and Winners never quit.’It’s the self believe that’s created when people refuse to let nuisance hold them back. Magic is created when people who have suffered stern failure, rebound back to make the most of the intellect and abilities given them.


‘The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum
And think you’re a wonderful guy.
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
He’s the fellow to please–never mind all the rest,’

There is going to come a time in your life when in order to succeed you will have to trust — when you will have to make a big leap of faith — and when that time comes I hope you will swallow your fear and get into the wheelbarrow.

In 1859 the Great Blondin — the man who invented the high wire act, announced to the world that he intended to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Five thousand people including the Prince of Wales gathered to watch. Halfway across, Blondin suddenly stopped, steadied himself, back flipped into the air, landed squarely on the rope then continued safely to the other side.

During that year, Blondin crossed the Falls again and again — once blindfolded, once carrying a stove, once in chains, and once on a bicycle. Just as he was about to begin yet another crossing, this time pushing a wheelbarrow, he turned to the crowd and shouted “who believes that I can cross pushing this wheelbarrow.” Every hand in the crowd went up. Blondin pointed at one man.

“Do you believe that I can do it?” he asked.
“Yes, I believe you can,” said the man.
“Are you certain?” said Blondin
“Yes,” said the man.
“Absolutely certain?”
“Yes, Absolutely certain.”
“Thank you” said Blondin, “then sir, get into the wheelbarrow.”


The man disappeared and this is that lack of big leap of faith, there is going to come a time in your life when in order to succeed you will have to trust — when you will have to make a big leap of faith — and when that time comes I hope you will swallow your fear and get into the wheelbarrow. This is the difference between what we say we believe and what we really believe will always show up in our actions. Allow others to take centre-stage and often generate their time and energy into making those they love happy or successful. Every stone in a pyramid is the most fundamental and critical, the one on the top dominates but the hidden ones end up carrying most of the weight. Be passionate and be happy, recognise that failures will happen alongside, have big faith to leap in the dark and love what you do with passion. Work, or putting in sweat, is the largest factor in being successful. You could be successful in almost anything if you just put in the 90+% perspiration, but to keep it fun and sustainable over the long run, it’s important to find something you are passionate about.


Without Passion nothing works; whatever you do be passionate about it, give it your best, love what you do all other seven ingredients will fall in place.


Have fun: “When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I thought they didn’t understand Life “.. John Lennon “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice.There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.”Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

”Thank you, Steve Jobs.’

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