How a Calligraphy course rewrote the life story of Steve Jobs

How a Calligraphy course rewrote the life story of Steve Jobs

  • Bharat Sharma
  • 05/11/2018

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

One of the most respected and innovative leader, entrepreneur and inventor of human era, Steve Jobs is a name synonymous with unprecedented success, fortune and fame.

After starting out from a garage with his friend Steve Wozniak, young Steve Jobs went on to form Apple in 1976.

Decades later, his legacy continues to live in the form of iconic gadgets and products seen in the hands and homes of billions of people on the planet.

From just another garage startup in Silicon Valley to the world’s most profitable and a trillion dollar company - how did Steve Jobs change the way we think about technology?

Steve had an unmistakable eye for detail. Steve knew how to make the simplest of things stand out and take center stage. He had a unique sense of mastery over the seemingly little aspects that made a huge difference in the lives of people.

Basically, Steve just learned to ‘Think Different’ and the rest is history.

You probably know all of this already.

But do you know that the foundation for the world’s greatest company was laid when a young Steve Jobs had picked up an interesting hobby?

As the story goes, Jobs was a college dropout who had little to no interest in the course he enrolled in at Reed College in the 1970s.

This is where he developed an interest towards the art of Calligraphy.

How a course in Calligraphy inspired Steve Jobs’ creativity


During his formative years, Steve was famous for abandoning any subjects or form of education that didn’t appeal to him.

Reed College offered the best calligraphy course in the country at that time and Steve wanted to be a part of it. The art of drawing beautiful letters and fonts had captures his imagination.

The future co-founder of Apple was so impressed by the beautiful handwriting and lettering on the college posters, that he decided to remain on the campus and attend the calligraphy course.

To quote him – “If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class”, Steve said. “And personal computers might not have the wonderful typography they do today.

During Jobs’ graduation speech in 2015 at Stanford University, he famously said – “Throughout the campus every poster, every label on the drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed…I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science cannot capture.

It wasn’t just the skill of calligraphy that Steve Jobs had picked – it was a mindset to think creatively and give something a unique touch.

Years later when Apple was ready to unveil its breakthrough mouse-based-computer or a ‘Mac’, Steve Jobs revealed how he had poured all his learning and skills from a calligraphy class into his product.

The Macintosh (Mac) was the first computer with beautiful fonts and typography. It was unlike anything else the world had ever seen. Simply put, it was a revolutionary product that changed how humans interacted with machines.

Steve poured his passion for perfection in his product and the world around him was awestruck. It set him apart from Windows, his biggest competitor at that time.

Related: How changing your Handwriting can change your Life

What can we learn from Steve’s story


When Jobs decided to quit pursuing his regular course and opt for a calligraphy class, he wasn’t sure on how it would benefit him.

Yet, he followed his heart with conviction and never let the voice of others drown his inner voice.

Steve believed that he would be able to make something out from his fascination with this creative hobby.

To quote him – “When I was attending the calligraphy classes at college, I could never imagine that skill or learning will have any practical application in my life. But 10 years later when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed all of my learning into the Mac. Had I never dropped in on that calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or beautifully proportionate font styles.”

Basically, it was Steve’s passion that led him to build something truly unique and distinctive from others.

Just as Jobs, we can all learn to follow our heart.

Even if we don’t find a clear path, we must learn to stay curious, stay hungry and stay foolish to stand out from the crowd.

If we can learn to dream different and pursue our passion with conviction – everything will fall into place, eventually.

As Steve Jobs famously said to the Stanford graduates – “You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So, you have to trust that the dots will connect in future. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference.”

If you have an intuition or a passion - don’t suppress or ignore it.

Follow it with all your heart and make a dent in the universe!

A calligraphy course basically rewrote the life story of one of the most inventive, genius and innovative thinkers of our era.

When are you learning something new?


Further Reading


Use this simple 3 step technique easily to learn anything new

3 easy ways you can cultivate a new hobby in life

6 money making hobbies to turn your passion into profit



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