Thursday, June 08, 2006

Steve Jobs' Commencement Lecture at Stanford

Listened to Steve Jobs' lecture at Stanford just now. Had read it earlier. But listening and seeing makes a different kind of impact.

And a while ago I was musing about people, their talents, and what they end up becoming.

I have realised over the the years that most of us are endowed with nearly equal amount of intelligence and muscle power in the beginning. OK, not exactly the same, but almost all those gifts considered, the things nearly balance out for most of us. Yet, most of us end up doing well in our lives in varying degrees, and in a variety of ways. The thing that causes that is the motivation. Motivation is like most other god given talents.

If I run and sprint, my leg muscles will grow stronger. If I lift weights, my arms and shoulders will build. If I keep singing, my voice will grow. If I solve lots of puzzles, my analytical skills will improve. Almost all talents grow sharper with practice. In fact, it's only practice that brings in the difference between 'just talented' and a brilliant person. Practise enough, and one can do anything.

But unlike what impression this statement gives, practising is not so much a matter of chance as it looks. Whether we end up practising hard on any of our god-given qualities is determined by another more fundamental god-given qualities. Motivation.

And sharpening this talent, enjoying higher levels of motivations on the average is usually quite hard to achieve. It requires other things. Bringing up, culture, triggering circumstances (like something very tragic or something really happy) and perhaps good genes.

How does one, with whatever initial conditions he has been born with, increase his motivation to live a fuller life?
Well! Will tell you when I find it!


Karthik said...

Really nice post Sujit! Motivation is the key. Anthony Robbins, a motivational speaker/writer has written some interesting stuff on this.

He says eveything we do , we do in order to gain pleasure or avoid pain. And people generally go to longer lengths to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. So when the pain of not having done a project exceeds the pleasure of procrastination, we get motivated and do it.So, he says, the idea is to associate massive pain to not taking action.

You can read more of that in his book 'Awaken the giant within'.

Pritesh said...

I have also read a book by Anthony Robbins called Unlimited Power. And that one says just about the same thing.

There's one more aspect to developing one's talent Sujju, and that is moving beyond failures. Most of us stop at some stage or the other of developing our talent because someone or the other around us manages to convince us that this is NOT our cup of tea.

Many a time, this deterrent force is not someone outside us. it's we ouselves too........and moving beyond failures generally needs a degree of insensitivity to the deterrent forces and sensitivity to encouraging ones.

Which I guess can be called motivation too. If the motivation is strong enough, we do end up doing very well.

Having motivation and PERSISTENTLY having it are also two different things. You may LOSE motivation on the way sometimes. So, in order to retain that, I personally feel, one ought to have some honest critics who can give them a balanced view of their progress as a function of time.

And since I mention this, I must add that Ananth, you and Karthik are some people in that category for MY Art! And am I not thankful????

Nice blog Sujju

fuse me said...

Interesting analysis. I would like to add attitude as another factor besides just the motivation. Attitude is similar to sustained motivation against un sustained motivation.

Sambaran said...

Steve Jobs asks us not to settle but keep looking for what we enjoy. On the contrary, Eknath Easwaran says it is easy to do what one enjoys. A higher goal is to enjoy even those tasks which at first attempt seems boring. Easwaran exhorts one to enjoy the unenjoyable with sustained practice.
Jobs or Easwaran are immaterial. These two conflicting ideologies have been there for a long time. Both can not be true. One has to be false. Which one? What is the fine-line of difference between looking-for-what-one-likes and ficklemindedness? What is the difference between cultivating taste for unenjoyable and defeatist-attitude-accepting-circumstances? Both Jobs and Easwaran can be debated against. Your take sujit. And please let me know the link if you reply to this.