Much wisdom about Apple's inner workings—and life in general—can be gleamed from interviews with Steve Jobs. His Stanford commencement address, in particular, is one the most highly watched inspirational speeches on YouTube, trailing only Al Pacino and President Obama.
In light of recent news, much media attention has now shifted from Jobs to his successor Tim Cook. Consensus is that Apple is in good hands, but that Cook is no Steve Jobs—in particular when it comes to creative vision, personal gravitas and negotiating chutzpah.
But, taking a look at Tim Cook's commencement address at Auburn University, it appears Cook may also have some wisdom to share on both life and Apple.
In addition to displaying his extreme modesty and humility—Jim Collins would approve—Cook shares a few golden nuggets worth reviewing.
Below is a summary of some of the best quotes from Apple's new CEO Tim Cook:
"I've discovered it's in facing life's most important decisions that intuition seems the most indispensable to getting it right."
"Intuition is something that occurs in the moment, and if you are open to it, if you listen to it, it has the potential to direct or redirect you in a way that is best for you."
"In business, as in sports, the vast majority of victories are determined before the beginning of the game. We rarely control the timing of opportunities, but we can control our preparation."
"Intuition is critical in virtually everything you do. But, without relentless preparation and execution, it is meaningless."
On hard work
"As current events teach us, those who try to achieve success without hard work ultimately deceive themselves, or worse, deceive others."
"For the most important decisions in your life, trust your intuition, and then work with everything you have to prove it right."
“For all of us [at Apple], intuition is not a substitute for rigorous thinking and hard work, it is simply the lead-in. We never take shortcuts. We attend to every detail. We follow where curiosity leads.”
"Take risk knowing that risk will sometimes result in failure, but without the possibility of failure, there is no possibility of success."
"I know of no one who has achieved something significant without also in their own lives experiencing their share of hardship, frustration and regret. So, don't believe that something in your past prevents you from doing great work in the future."
"Paint in your mind the most grand vision where you want to go in life. Prepare. Trust in, and execute on your intuition. And don't get distracted by life's potholes."
"Let your joy be in your journey, not in some distant goal."
"Give up on the idea of developing a life plan that will bear any resemblance to what ultimately unfolds."
"It's good to plan for the future, but if you're like me and you occasionally want to swing for the fences, you can't count on a predictable life."
One more thing…
"A quote that has always resonated with me is one by Abraham Lincoln. He said, 'I will prepare, and someday my chance will come.' "
“If you are prepared when the right door opens, then it comes down to just one more thing. Make sure your execution lives up to your preparation.”
Well, Mr. Cook, your chance has come. You are now at the helm of the largest company in the world with possibly the largest shoes in the world to fill. Godspeed.
This article is by workplace psychology wonk and writer Michael Schwalbe. You can follow him on Twitter @michaelschwalbe. His work contributes to the knowledgebase of the Behance team, who run the Behance Creative Network, the 99% productivity think tank, the Action Method task management application and the Creative Jobs List.