Since Steve Jobs is one of my mentors, anything that he wrote or said gets special attention. Click on Connecting the Dots; you will see his influence on me. However, one thing that he said caught my eye when reading material on the Internet. "I want to put a ding in the universe."
While pondering recently, I stared at that single sentence on my monitor for the longest time. Okay, so Jobs wanted to ding the universe. I get that, because I would also like to ding it. So? We have established Jobs' drive but why does he want to ding the universe?
Go to Google, type in Steve Jobs, and you will find 264,000,000 links to items about him. Another mentor of mine is President Obama, and he logs 190,000,000. Therefore, it is easy to say that Jobs dinged the universe on steroids.
The haunting question is why. Why was Jobs driven to be a dinger. If you asked the person next to you at work or shopping if they are driven to ding the universe, my guess is that they will not be driven much if any to ding the universe. Nevertheless, Jobs was driven and so am I.
Here is my theory. We do things in our world that are causal. Everything we do and think is based upon a reason. Many times, we do know the reasons like why are some people Baptist and others are Catholic. Their families were Baptist or Catholic before them.
We know that birth order and DNA influence how we think and feel about many things. Free will does not exist. Never do we merely decide something ex nihilo (from nothing). We were not born with a tabula rasa. While we might not know or be aware of a reason, free will is not the reason.
Therefore, what were the causes to drive Steve Jobs to ding the universe? Jobs needed to validate himself. This was a result of his being adopted. He wrestled psychologically with the feeling of inferiority and abandonment by his birth mother. Why did she give him up for adoption while someone else adopted him? This emotional trauma occurs with all adopted children as they move into adolescence. Intellectually, they grasp the various reasons for their biological mother having to give them up to an agency and then to an adoptive family. Nonetheless, emotionally, it will haunt the child for a long time attempting to deal with rejection.
Steve Jobs was not dealt a good hand. His birth mother was single and a graduate student who got pregnant. She felt that she was not able to handle being a single mother and a graduate student at the same time. Hence, she gave him up for adoption immediately after delivery. His adoptive parents raised him as their child while he wrestled with that seeming contradiction about his real worth. Jobs wanted to understand the logical and emotional disconnect between a biological mother who gave him up and adoptive parents who loved and accepted him as their own child.
After graduating from high school, Jobs went to college for a semester and then dropped out. Jobs started Apple, from which he was fired. Later, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died six years later. Jobs faced many decks of cards and most were stacked against him. Life was not often fair to him.
In spite of that, he did not quit. Instead of quitting, those feelings drove Jobs. That was the genesis of his desire to ding the universe. If he could ding the universe, it would validate his self-worth even though he was rejected many times during his life starting at his actual birth.
Name someone in the world that does not believe that Jobs dinged the universe many times. However, without the pain of rejection, Jobs would not have accomplished that Herculean task of being a dinger. Jobs did not attempt to show off to the world. He wanted to show off to himself, and the world benefitted.
Why do I feel so close to Jobs? I was not adopted. However, moving to Mt. Lebanon at the end of my elementary school years resulted in a trauma similar to what Jobs felt. My family moved from Pennsauken, NJ to Pittsburgh, PA. Pennsauken was an average community, which had an average school system in which I was above average. We moved into a golden ghetto both monetarily affluent and the 19th best school system in the country. The result was that I learned two things very quickly. I was both poor and dumb. It took me half my life to realize that I was not poor nor dumb. Looking back upon those events, I totally comprehend why I felt that way. However, I was lost just like Jobs felt. Both of us felt the drive to validate who we were. Again, our needs to ding were not to show off to the world but to ourselves and to correct our initial perception of ourselves.
That explains why I love teaching so much. I can tell myself that I am not quite as stupid as I once thought. Additionally, my students benefit from my wanting to ding the universe. I do not want others to make the same mistake that I did about feeling dumb. I could have retired a half dozen years ago. However, that will never happen. Trust me.
In conclusion, while I am still teaching at the college level, I am teaching my two grandsons, Jack and Owen, who are five and three. They learn about famous paintings, fossils, and space exploration. In fact, I am working on a new teaching project. I want to teach them online from my website art history from the very PowerPoint slides that I made to teach college students. It will not be long before I have created that online class for them and other preschoolers.
Therefore, if we all address our problems, we all can ding the universe.
Visit the Man in the Arena page to read more about this topic.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.