Steve Jobs said the most devastating and exhilarating experience of his life occurred on the same day.
He was a small boy and he was playing in the garden with a young friend.
She told him he was adopted.
She’d heard her parents talking about it.
Steve asked her what adopted meant.
She said, the people you call Mum and Dad aren’t your real parents.
Your real parents didn’t want you.
They gave you away.
Steve Jobs said his world fell apart right then.
He was actually a reject.
From the most fundamental relationship of his life.
The two people whose love he should be able to rely on totally, didn’t even want him.
He ran inside the house in tears.
His parents asked him what was up.
He told them.
His mum and dad told him it was true.
But not at all the way the little girl explained it.
His biological mum and dad had loved him very much.
But they hadn’t been able to keep him.
So, to do what was best for him, although it broke their hearts, they gave him away.
They loved him that much.
His current mum and dad wanted a baby of their own but couldn’t have one.
So they decided to pick their perfect baby instead.
They’d had the choice of every orphanage in America.
And every child in all those orphanages.
And eventually, after years of searching, they found Steve and, of all the children they could have picked, they picked him.
Because he was exactly what they wanted.
Most parents and children don’t have that opportunity.
They get the baby they’re given.
But Steve was chosen out of every baby they’d seen.
Unlike other children, he was really, really special.
And Steve Jobs said his entire world flipped over again.
The sun came out from behind the clouds and a warm feeling came over him.
And a warm glow grew inside him.
And for the rest of his life he knew he could do anything.
Because he was special.
He wasn’t rejected, he was chosen.
And that guided Steve Jobs’ life.
It gave him the belief, the confidence; to do what everyone else said couldn’t be done.
Because he wasn’t like everyone else, he was special.
But what had changed?
He was still adopted.
The facts hadn’t changed.
What changed was the context.
What changed was the place those facts were viewed from.
And that changed everything.
Utterly, completely, totally.
From night to day, black to white, cold to warm, bad to good.
Just by changing the direction he viewed those facts from.
And that’s what we should be doing.
Not worrying about changing the product.
The price, the quality, the size, the shape, the name, the distribution.
Not changing the facts.
But changing the direction they’re viewed from.
Bernbach, McCabe, Ally, Wells, Lois, Saatchi, and Webster knew that.
And Shakespeare knew that, 400 years ago.
He said “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
That’s our job.