Steve Jobs: Perseverance, Efficacy and Death’s Influence on Lifestyle Design

Want to succeed in life? Try some self-efficacy.

With the death of Steve Jobs we have lost a great creator, innovator, and inspiration. We have lost someone who understood the need to choose passion for life over work for the sake of work. We lost someone who, while wildly successful early in life would not have given up if it had taken longer or not been as grand.

I don’t clip many news stories or handle any printed newspapers too often but I am proud to share that one column from by Melinda Beck, published in tbt* in early 2008 has resided on the wall of my office and as a jpeg on my laptop’s desktop for regular review. Steve Jobs is the featured photo with the following reference to his success.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were rebuffed by Atari Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. when they tried to sell an early Apple computer.

The tbt* version is titled “Want to succeed in life? Try some self-efficacy” and was my first introduction to the word efficacy.

Self-efficacy differs from self-esteem in that it’s a judgment of specific capabilities rather than a general feeling of self-worth. “It’s easy to have high self-esteem — just aim low,” says Prof. Bandura, who is still teaching at Stanford at age 82. On the other hand, he notes, there are people with high self-efficacy who “drive themselves hard but have low self-esteem because their performance always falls short of their high standards.”

I am often asked “what exactly do you do?” and depending on who asks, my answer will differ. It could be marketing consultant, website designer, print broker or owner of a software company; or maybe I am an individual with a passion for exploration, learning and civic involvement with a desire improve the world through cultivating, developing and communicating ideas.

The first four being my way of generating income and time flexibility and the final being my passion.

Steve Jobs is one among many who have inspired me to stay the course and grow on my own terms. Below I will share with you some of the quotes and tenets I live and make decisions by.

Perseverance: Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

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

Efficacy: The ability to produce a desired or intended result

Still, such people succeed because they believe that persistent effort will let them succeed. In fact, if success comes too easily, some people never master the ability to learn from criticism. “People need to learn how to manage failure so it’s informational and not demoralizing,” says Prof. Bandura, who signs many of his emails, “May the efficacy force be with you!” (“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. That’s why I succeed,” Michael Jordan has said.) ~ Melinda Beck

Death: The action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and ask myself: “if today was 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… 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. ~ Steve Jobs, college dropout and CEO of Apple Computer, Stanford University commencement, 2005

I have not yet watched the Social Network and intend to soon but for anyone who has not yet seen The Pirates of Silicon Valley I have embedded the trailer below and recommend you watch the full movie. While it’s dramatized for TV it shows how passionate Steve was to his cause and how he overcame obstacles by adapting.

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