Creating something valuable takes time and most creators fail a lot of times. The torturous thing is to let go of your own baby you created into someone else hands. This is the classic Steve Jobs story, who got kicked out of his own company, Apple. Yet, in his commencement speech at Harvard after getting diagnosed with cancer he said – Getting kicked out is one of the best things that happened to he was able to start from scratch and with uncertainty again as a beginner. Without getting kicked out of Apple, he would never have started NeXT or Pixar.
Pixar became the world’s best animation company and the NeXT technology became a core part of Apple. Steve Jobs is one of the few people who served as a CEO for two public listed companies at the same time. He got kicked out of Apple at age 30 and he never anticipated what future has beheld for him.
Abdul Kalam at 8 years of age worked as a paperboy and dreamt of becoming a pilot. The Idea of flying a machine above stratosphere excited him. But when he attended the Interview, the dream of his life shattered. He was the 9th person while they took only 8 people from the 25 attendees in that Interview. He left to the Himalayas after that and he is until he realized his potential. In his own words from his ‘My Journey book’ –
“It is only when we face failure do we realize that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives,”
He went on to become the 11th president of India. He is often referred to as Missile Man of India for his contribution in ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He then went on to give Hundreds of lectures throughout India inspiring youth to dream and take action. India must be glad for him to fail as a pilot, even he would not have known what future has beheld for him.
We all face unexpected turns, disappointments, failures and even to the extent of feeling life is unfair for you. And other few times, it will seem like life unfolds for you. It is up to you on how you handle the unknown(read it as – embracing the future). Steve Jobs and Abdul Kalam embraced what happened to them, accepted the facts though they took the time to digest them.
We do not know what the future has for us. It is not for us to see it right now. We need to embrace what is coming, the future. Expectations and relying on external factors. No one would expect Steve Jobs will be kicked out of his own company. No one would expect someone who failed a pilot test can become President and is called a ‘Missile Man’. We have something to learn here to Embrace what is unknown and ahead of us.
To Embrace the future, you need to
1) Reduce the number of disappointments and accepting things that you have not anticipated.
2) Learning to keep control of your happiness and expectations.
Here are a few ways to do them
External Vs Internal control
Things happen and you cannot control what is happening outside you. But you can control what is within you. For example, happiness comes from within you. Once you place your happiness on someone you love, a milestone you want to hit or a car you want to buy. You will be under constant pressure to reach the external expectation. And you have very less control on how it can turn out for you.
Will Smith, one of the highest paid actors advises people to find their own happiness instead of expecting it from others. He and his wife came to an understanding that they are on their Individual happiness together. He says someone can make you smile or laugh but happiness is deep and should come from your inside.
Once you know you can control what you have and not external things, your future will be more in your hands. You will have more control over your Happiness and will be less affected by external factors.
Focus on the present
As Eckhart Tolle put it –
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. “
You can only expect and expect your future. But you cannot control it. When you live your present, you are living your life. To Embrace the future, you need to embrace the present. And the present is the only reality you have.
Mac became the first computer with beautiful typography. Since Microsoft copied Apple in this, he says – No personal computer would have beautiful fonts if he had not attended the calligraphy class.
Trust your gut and have hope
When he dropped out of college, he had the freedom to attend any class he wanted. He saw all campus posters are in beautiful fonts. He got fascinated by them and attended the calligraphy class.
Attending a calligraphy class seemed to have no practical purpose. But 10 years later when they were making the Mac, It all came back to him. He says it is impossible for him to connect the dots forward. He says – trust your gut and have hope it would somehow work out.
Set Low Bar and have harmony
You work hard at your work, relationships and yourself and yet there are a lot of screw-ups that happen. You may have already experienced these, don’t you? We can learn to expect less from people, situations, and future while we work towards them to become stronger.
Marcus Aurelius Writers in his journal –
“Say to yourself first thing in the morning: today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, unsocial. All this has afflicted them through their ignorance of true good and evil. But I have that the nature of good is what is right, and the nature of evil what is wrong; and I reflected that the nature of the offender himself is akin to my own — not a kinship of blood or seed, but a sharing in the same mind, the same fragment of divinity. Therefore I cannot be harmed by any of them, as none will infect me with their wrong. Nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him. We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of upper and lower teeth. So to work in opposition to one another is against nature: and anger or rejection is opposition.”
He has a very low bar for expectations from people around him. He tried to be in harmony with them saying they all are of the same body parts. He says opposing Harmony of the same body is against nature. I would go ahead and say, set a low bar for everything(outputs). Work hard for great results but prepare for the ground to hit if it doesn’t work.
Accept and Act.
The Stoics say – “ Let’s not waste any energy fighting things that are outside our control, let’s accept them, let’s embrace them and then let’s move on and see what we can do with it”
When people say – accept something, there is a total misconception of not taking action about it. Wrong. If you feel hungry, you don’t just accept it, you go and eat too. If a relation is not working, you accept it and work on making it work or move on. If your work is not getting attention, you accept the fact and work towards how to make it better. Accept and Act.
Bonus: Que Sera Sera