woman standing on top of a mountain with her arms up
The accomplishments Steve Jobs made throughout his life are a great source of inspiration for business leaders. — Getty Images/guvendemir

Steve Jobs is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of our time, and his legend continues to live on through Apple. He was known for his commitment to excellence, passion, and high standards for himself and everyone around him. Listed below are some of his most famous quotes.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and follow along with what everyone else is doing. But true leaders are the ones coming up with out-of-the-box ideas that set a new standard for “business as usual.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

In order for you to fulfill your purpose, the world needs you to be who you are. Trying to copy someone else or act like someone you’re not will only limit your contribution.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the thoughts and opinions of others. But if you spend too much time dwelling on other people’s opinions, you’re going to lose the spark of creativity that made you successful in the first place.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

It can be hard to trust in the process when you can’t see the bigger picture. But you never know what might be around the corner, so you have to keep moving forward. And one day, you may recognize that some of the hardest things you had to go through were also the best things that ever happened to you.

[Read more: How Can I Be Myself and Still Be a Great Boss?]

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

Jobs was known for having extremely high standards for himself and his employees at Apple. Sometimes this made him unpopular, and it caused conflict with other people he worked with. But he was always committed to delivering quality and maintaining a standard of excellence.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Steve Jobs

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

One of the biggest downsides of success is that it can cause you to become lazy and complacent. It’s important to continue to take risks and push yourself to try new things. Stay hungry for new ideas and new opportunities.

"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance."

Being an entrepreneur is challenging, and it’s easy to give up and move on to something else. But the biggest part of being successful is having the stamina to stick through the hard times without quitting.

"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."

Most people don’t even know what they want until they see it. So sometimes you have to give people what they need, not what they’re asking for. This is exactly what Jobs did when he disrupted the cellphone market with the iPhone.

"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully."

We all have limited time and resources, so you can’t say “yes” to everything. Sometimes, being great at one thing means refusing to entertain all the distractions that will pop up along the way.

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”

This is one of Steve Jobs’ most famous and inspiring quotes. At the end of the day, your goals and accomplishments are never about you. It’s about the contribution you make to the world.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published January 10, 2020