Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

What Steve Jobs wanted to tell us with this motto which has remained in history?

I will try to interpret this well know “call to action” based on my background, by connecting my dots and based on what I believe about life and how we have to deal with each one of its facets.

Complexity is the main characteristic of life on planet Earth, whether we are referred to natural phenomena or to “artificial” phenomena such as entrepreneurship which is basically a natural phenomenon because entrepreneurship means human relationships.

Our Newtonian and Euclidean education is very simplistic. It “breaks” all the complex phenomena into their “simple” parts and then, it tries to describe them with a comprehensive, objective and deterministic way. But the reality is very different. Complex systems cannot be “broken” because then they lose their original properties which come up by the interdependence of their parts.

This motto, “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” in order to be interpreted it is often be broken into to parts and then each part is analyzed and explained, supposedly objectively.

Let’s do it this way (slightly simplified in order to give emphasis!)

Stay Hungry: be hungry… Eat so as not to sate!

Stay Foolish: be stupid, be idiot!

You see? Things are so simple if we follow the “classical” scientific approach.

But is it possible that Steve Jobs to speak this way to all of us? I don’t think so!

This motto is a “system” of words which express some of Steve Job’s beliefs. And this must be treated as a united, indivisible set of values and principles which interact and by this interaction a result is produced that cannot always be controlled or predicted. Because… for every person it works differently!

Let’s interpret this motto as a whole. Let’s deal with it based on the principles of Self-Organized Criticality.

What connection can have the “hunger” with the “foolishness”?

We have to keep in mind that Steve Jobs adored metaphors!

Jobs urges us to be unsatisfied, not to be settled by the highroad, by the best practices. To chase the unknown, the new… the real life. Not to be afraid, to take risks, to dare to dream. Not to limit ourselves to what we have already achieved and not to follow the same “successful” recipe for all our lives! But, in order all of us to be able to apply them, we have to “forget” that the center of our existence is our brain/mind. We have to decide to act as we know nothing! The “pure” knowledge is dead. Selfishness which derives by “know-it-all” approach is very dangerous. We have to act from the heart!

We have been trained to think as “stupid” the people who don’t have the ability to use their minds in a particular way or/and those who have low IQ. We have been trained to believe that art is not a scientific field. The “boxes” are everything. The logic should always comes first.

But quantum physics tells us other things! Modern science shows that best decisions are taken by intuition and not with the mind (mind comes next). People who played an important role in the history of mankind (in a positive way), after careful study, it is demonstrated that they relied on their hearts, on their “passion”, on their “gut”, on their “vision”… “I have a dream!” –Martin Luther King

So, Jobs tells us, in a very simple way, to be like fools… not to be fools. He tells us not to care about our IQ. To forget the duplication of logic and to focus on what we love, on what our passion is… which of course can be changed in our linear time. The “satiated” person feels satisfaction and he doesn’t feel the need to change something is his life!

The result of this “system”, of this motto is a combination of the “dissatisfaction” with the action by heart. And this is the only thing which can lead to the roads of creativity. To the roads of pure expression of what we have inside us which is constantly evolving mostly unexpectedly. To the roads where new ideas come up “automatically” (self-organized criticality again!), where innovation occurs, where action takes place and not activity (there is a huge difference between action and activity!)

Of course this is my “explanation” of this motto. My approach based on my background. Self-Organized Criticality gives the “right” for more approaches. It is not dogmatic!

So, that’s why I urge you to give your reading to this motto. Maybe by acting this way you give yourself the opportunity to find what you love, to do the changes you want in your life and to feel finally the fullness on multiple levels! And I strongly believe that this is the desideratum considering the “odd” times we live!

Dimitra Zervaki, EMBA, PMP, TTT