What do Bruce Lee and Steve Jobs have in common?
Both Bruce Lee and Steve Jobs are considered visonaries and innovators. Both were trail-blazers in their respective fields. A trail-blazer is "a person who blazes a trail for others to follow; an innovative leader in a field; a pioneer." Trailblazers point the way, take risks, and change the environment. They have a vision to move forward, a faith that turns their dreams into reality, and a determination that cuts through barriers and obstacles.
Lee did not invent martial arts, but he revolutionized it. Lee broke down centuries of tradition and changed the way people viewed martial arts and martial art training. Lee did not invent martial art films, but his innovative ideas and creativity resulted in a whole new genre of action films.
While Steve Jobs did not invent such things as computer science, broadband, wireless telphony, or recorded music and entertainment, he was the ultimate catalyst for these technologies. Jobs didn't invent the personal computer or the MP3 player, yet he innovated around those devices and gave the world the Mac and the iPod. He didn't invent smartphones or the tablet computer yet he innovated around those devices and gave us the iPhone and the iPad.
Bruce Lee and Steve Jobs were pioneers who changed the world in some fashion. Both men, to use Jobs' own vernacular, "put a dent in the universe." There are a number of striking similarities between Lee and Jobs (and I'm sure other famous innovators as well), and the following are some of the qualities and attributes the two met shared:
Both men, to again use Jobs' own vernacular, had developed the ability to "think different." (To really understand and appreciate what "think different" (not "think differently") means I would urge you to visit YouTube and watch Apple's "Think Different" television commercial which appeared in 1997, or read the text for it. The advertisement was built around famous people such as Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Martha Graham, Muhammad Ali, and others who had achieved great things because they were able to "think different.")
Both Lee and Jobs possessed an insatiable curiosity and continuously sought knowledge and understanding of their respective crafts, often going to extreme lengths to gain insights and learning that would aid them in the solving of a specific problem or to facilitate a new innovation.
Both men were overtly passionate about what they were doing and what they wanted to achieve. In addition, they adjoined their passion to vision.
Both men defied convention and challenged the status quo, constanly questioning why things were the way they were and how things could be improved.
Both men were constantly seeking out new and diverse experiences. From these experiences they
were able to make associations and connect seemingly unrelated things.
Both men were highly self-motivated. They also had incredible focus and the ability to filter out distractions.
Both men strove for excellence in what they developed or created and believed in putting product over profit. Lee commented on numerous occasions, "Money comes second. I will not prostitute my art for the sake of money." Jobs stated, "Be a yardstick of quality."
Both men inspired (and continue to inspire) countless other individuals to push the envelope, step outside their comfort zone, to grow, develop, and innovate.
Both men continued to push forward after dealing with challenges, obstacles, and roadblocks that cropped up in each of their lives, following Lee's adage to "walk on."
But finally, at the end of the day, and perhaps most important, both men were beings, just like you and I.
And who knows, perhaps one (or hopefully more) of you reading this blog recognize some of the same similarities within yourself and have decided, like Bruce Lee and Steve Jobs, to become a trail-blazer and put your own dent in the universe. Go for it!