“poke life and something will always pop out the other side”
Just this. From Steve Jobs in some random interview in 1995 (when he had hair, a beard and not-so-fat-wads-of-cash).
It cuts through to something we all need to know:
When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that
everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
And then again, a little later in the same interview…and frankly my favourite insight in a long time:
The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will… pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing.
It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
Poking life. That’s what we can do.
I can get very locked into thinking life is static. That it’s locked in. That the rules are set in stone. That I have to move around it like I’m in my Grandmother’s “good room with all the nice china”.
But this stifles and it just makes me want to bust out and do a bull routine (in a shop full of nice china). I eventually do, even if I don’t always plan it.
When I look at how people have done grand things, it generally involves being oblivious – albeit perhaps for just a few moments – to this notion that “this is how it’s always been” or “this is what everyone else does”. They poke. They generally have no idea what they’re doing. They just poke.
To poke is to question, to walk a different way to work, to see what happens if you take an hour off in the middle of the day to meditate on a bench, to quit something big and see what happens when you suspend yourself in the unknown (oh yes!!!)….
My friend Bill at The Cool Hunter pokes. “I think of something and then I think, no one’s done it before, and then I put it out on my site as a concept and it builds.” It certainly does.
To poke is to play and to be free and to find life very funny. If you create something, change something, make your mark from this, fine. But that’s secondary. I have to remember this sometimes. The joy is in the poking, not in producing some wild (white ear-phoned, apple-insiginia-d) creation.
Although, of course, poke and something will always pop out the other side.