The essential part of the philosophy is knowing, realising and coming to terms with a simple fact, and don't expect it to be anything you haven't heard before. It's very simple: It's an unpredictable world.
What? Hadn't I told you it's a simple fact. While it's an oft-heard statement, few realise its significance. Before I go expounding my interpretation philosophically, why not consider the case in point: Steve Jobs on being Laid off.
I was lucky - I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our board of directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.......This comes from Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement Speech, which I came across on Sramana Mitra's Blog. You can also watch the speech:
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
And as for why I reproduced it above- other than the obvious fact that Steve Jobs' Picture and name in the title might have actually got many of you to read this post, it was the best example that came to my mind. You see, Jobs, immediately after his boardroom coup, and the inevitable resignation, must have seen it as a great failure on his part, since at that point of time, it seemed, to him AND to the world, that between 'being kicked out' and 'not being kicked out', the latter was obviously a million times better for his future than the former. Had he not caught hold of himself after that devastating moment, he could never have gone on to rebuild his universe. For all we know, he might just have joined Hare Krishna or otherwise escaped from the valley. And what resulted is for all to see: Steve is back with a bang, with another boardroom coup at Apple, but this time making him the CEO. I consider Jobs Peace personified.
There are tons of other examples, what's important here, is not about rising from your failures. It's about knowing that there are no failures. It's just a different route taken by destiny. Whether it's the whole world, or just your peer group (which are in fact the same for most people), who believe that you've lost, it's you who should know that there is no such thing as a permanent loss. Life is indeed not about ups and downs. What seems down may just lead you to the top faster than you can imagine. It's an unpredictable world after all. Who can say where your circumstances might take you, how things may turn out. If you're down, don't be. Take a cue from Steve. Go ahead and bite that Apple!