A couple weeks ago I finished the new biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. And although I buy all my music from iTunes and listen to it on my iPod, I’m afraid I’d definitely be the ‘PC guy’ in the ‘Mac versus PC’ commercials. Nonetheless, I marvel at all of the incredible products that Steve Jobs’ team has created over the years and look forward to what they come up with next.
Now, I won’t try to write a book review or give away the ending, but I will tell you this… I found Steve Jobs’ life story to be quite surprising. As wealthy and successful as he was, Jobs was a complex person who loved simplicity. He was obsessed with creating beautifully designed and perfectly engineered products that people want. For Steve Jobs, it seems that the journey was the reward. Year after year, he was more concerned with the journey of creating products that would “change the world”, than the reward of financial success that came with each new invention.
And sure, when your net worth hits $200 million by the time you’re twenty-five, it’s probably a lot easier to enjoy the journey when you’ve already got the reward. But Jobs didn’t inherit his $200 million in his twenties… he created it. His extreme good fortune was the result of combining extreme intelligence, vision, passion, persuasion, and execution.
And even though Steve Jobs completed his professional journey on top, his road was just as long and bumpy as that of most highly accomplished people. While Jobs suffered many financial and emotional losses along the way, most of us only see the good times he enjoyed in the past few years and have no idea what kind of adversities he endured to get to the part of the story that most of us are familiar with.
Ultimately, it’s easy for us to look at Steve Jobs and Apple and see a brilliant businessman and a forward-thinking tech company. But that’s not the whole story. That only recognizes the reward at the end, not the journey that led up to it.
So what do you think matters more… the journey or the reward?
Let’s face it. As long as we all have bills to pay and people to take care of, the financial reward has to matter to some degree. But at the same time, many of us have already seen that financial success isn’t the only reward. When you do what you love, the enjoyment of the journey often helps sustain your efforts.
Of course, every one of us has a unique journey that leads us to our own reward. And as different as we all are, the truth is that most of us discover the reward looks less like money and more like the fulfillment, satisfaction, peace, and purpose that we encounter along the way.