The Most Inspiring Steve Jobs Quotes

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 9, 2020
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In his lifetime, Steve Jobs was one of the most well-known and well-respected entrepreneurs and technological innovators on the planet. He is most known for his work with Apple Inc. and his bold approach to business, design, and leadership.

Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 with friend Steve Wozniak. At that time, it was a fledgling start-up company, operating first out of Jobs’ bedroom, then his garage. This company was born out of a simple desire to make home computers more accessible to everyone, both in design and in price.

They called their first computer model the Apple I. Before Apple, personal computers could be as large as an entire living room, with price tags to match. The Apple I, built in Jobs’ garage, was compact and desk-sized. When the Apple II computer was released, it sold 2 million units across the globe.

Jobs became rich and rose to fame. But the story doesn’t end there. In 1985, after a prolonged internal conflict, Jobs was forced to resign from Apple. However, he continued with new projects that advanced technology.

Once Apple bought his other successful business ventures, he returned as the CEO and led Apple to create their most iconic and well-known devices: the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and more.

Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor in 2003, and he worked sporadically as he fought and managed his diagnosis. Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56.

The Impact of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was widely renowned for his innovative and visionary approach to business. He understood the impact of technology and how shaping this technology also largely shapes the world around us. Many also consider him a sort of prophet, understanding far before most the latent power of computers.

Jobs held Zen Buddhist beliefs throughout most of his life, with a love for meditation and other Buddhist practices. Many of his Buddhist values, such as his belief in the power of present moment awareness, carried over to his business operations.

Jobs captivated the world with his bold, unique charisma. His signature keynotes – where he unveiled new products with powerful speeches – were iconic in popular culture.

He also delivered several other lectures and speeches during his lifetime, giving us an inside look into his worldview and the way he conducted his business.

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Though Jobs was one of the most successful and iconic business characters of the past 50 years, he didn’t become successful overnight. Many people find his story inspiring precisely because it began with very humble origins and grew to become such an influential fixture in our daily lives.

Steve Jobs serves as a reminder to many that, with great ideas and a lot of hard work, their entrepreneurial ventures and projects can grow to heights they could have never imagined.

Even if you don’t become “the next Steve Jobs” (though we’re not putting it past you), you can still be inspired by his life and his unique perspectives.

This list gathers 30 of the most inspirational, thought-provoking, and powerful quotes from Steve Jobs’ lifetime. Whether you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up or some deeper healing, these quotes are sure to help you walk the path towards achieving your goals.

Top 30 Most Inspiring Steve Jobs Quotes

  • “Things don’t have to change the world to be important.”

  • “Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.”

  • “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 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.”

  • “Ultimately, it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things into what you’re doing.”

  • “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

  • “You can build your own things that other people can use. And once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

  • “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

  • “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

  • “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.”

  • “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

  • “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

  • “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 and don’t settle.”

  • “To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a company that can continue to innovate for years, it requires a lot of disciplines.”

  • “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

  • “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”

  • “In business, if I knew earlier what I know now, I’d have probably done some things a lot better than I did, but I also would have probably done some other things a lot worse. But so what? It’s more important to be engaged in the present.”

  • “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

  • “Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask. And that’s what separates sometimes the people that do things from the people that just dream about them.”

  • “You gotta act. And you’ve gotta be willing to fail, you gotta be ready to crash and burn, with people on the phone, with starting a company, with whatever. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”

  • “Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

  • “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

  • “I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.”

  • “I think different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t. It’s the great mystery.”

  • “I’m a tool builder. That’s how I think of myself. I want to build really good tools that I know in my gut and my heart will be valuable. And then, whatever happens, is… you can’t really predict exactly what will happen, but you can feel the direction that we’re going. And that’s about as close as you can get. Then you just stand back and get out of the way, and these things take on a life of their own.”

  • “If you are willing to work hard and ask lots of questions, you can learn business pretty fast.”

  • “Most of the time, we’re taking things. Neither you nor I made the clothes we wear; we don’t make the food or grow the foods we eat; we use a language that was developed by other people; we use another society’s mathematics. Very rarely do we get a chance to put something back into that pool. I think we have that opportunity now.”

  • “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

  • “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

  • “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

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Chris Kolmar

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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