WASHINGTON, October 5, 2011— In the spirit of thinking differently, I’d like to suggest that Steve Jobs was not a person, but a way of thinking. As long as others emulate his approach to “thinking,” he will never die.
From what I can piece together from afar, Jobs crossed boundaries that few dare cross. Not because they are difficult or dangerous, but because so many of us prefer to live in comfortable boxes.
Why is it that engineers don’t sometimes stare for hours at a flower, marveling at its beauty? Why don’t accountants write an occasional screenplay? What stops many doctors from treating patients instead of conditions?
I feel uncomfortable in boxes, but have often lacked the discipline to stay in one box long enough to make tangible progress. I know firsthand the challenge isn’t simply to get out of your box, but also to combine varied perspectives and activities into one mashup that makes a difference.
For all of Jobs’ willingness to think differently, he was able to muster a laserlike focus on excellence and execution. There are people who turn to drugs or New Age ideas just to escape responsibility, but a few turn there for inspiration that they bring back to the other side.
This is what so many of us fear: crossing to the other side, and then coming back with something tangible. By other side, I don’t mean death. I mean a Democrat hanging out with Republicans, a Rabbi going to church, an artist studying engineering.
If you stumble upon this piece, you are likely to read it and change nothing. But think about this: we don’t need more Steve Jobs. We just need more people to think, live and work like he did. Don’t think about it. Just do.
Bruce Kasanoff is President of Now Possible, a business strategy firm that helps companies develop more profitable strategies.
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