Steve Jobs: The 1 Thing That Separates the Doers from the Dreamers

I recently read an article from TheLadders.com written by Michael Thompson, who explained a story about Steve Jobs and what he believes to be the one thing that separates the doers from the dreamers. See the excerpt below (emphasis mine):

When Steve Jobs was 12 years old, he wanted to build a frequency counter, but was lacking some of the necessary parts to complete the project.

Instead of giving up, however, he did the only thing he could think of: He looked Bill Hewlett’s number up in the phonebook and gave him a call.

To Steve’s surprise, Bill, the co-founder of Hewlett Packard, personally answered the phone. After Steve explained who he was and what he was up to, Bill agreed to give him some spare parts for his project. Not only that, but he also gave Steve a summer job at HP putting nuts and bolts together on the assembly line that built frequency counters.

While sharing this story in 1994 with the Silicon Valley Historical Association, Jobs stressed the importance of asking for what you want:

“Most people never pick up the phone. Most people never call and ask. And that’s what separates sometimes the people who do things from those who just dream about them. You gotta act. You gotta be willing to fail. You gotta be willing to crash and burn. With people on the phone or starting a company, if you’re afraid you’ll fail, you won’t get very far.”

The moral of this story? If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Let me add to that. If you don’t ask, ask again and then ask again, you won’t get what you want.

Polite asking and persistence is the key to success.

When most people think about taking a chance, they paralyze themselves thinking about all the negative things that could happen.

They allow their self-talk to be flooded with “What if” statements like, “What if I get rejected?” “What if they laugh at me?” and “What if I’m not ready?”

The people who make an impact, however, silence their doubts by focusing on the potential positive outcomes: “What if they say yes?” “What if they know a friend who can help me?” “What if this is my big break?”

They do this because they know the old adage “Good things come to those who wait” is out of date.

The people who get what they want have the guts to ask for what they want…and then keep asking with polite persistence.

Greg Muzzillo, Founder of Proforma

AboutGreg Muzzillo, Founder of Proforma

Greg Muzzillo started Proforma as an industry distributor in 1978. The company grew quickly and in the early 1980s Proforma was recognized for three consecutive years on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing companies in North America. In the late 1980’s Proforma introduced its membership program to enable distributors to retain their business ownership and independence, and to share in sales and marketing resources, purchasing power with industry suppliers, one back office including all billing, accounting, vendor payments, cash flow, computer systems and more. Today Proforma has more than 750 members with over $500 million in sales. Proforma has over 100 members in its Million Dollar Club and more than 40 members in its Multi-Million Dollar Club (With sales ranging from $2 million to over $26 million). In 2014, eight Proforma members were named to Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 List of the 5000 Fastest Growing Companies.

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