5 Life Lessons Steve Wozniak Shared with HPU’s Students

As part of High Point University’s Innovation Summit, Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Computer and HPU’s Innovator in Residence, visited campus and continued his commitment to mentoring students. During an interactive Q&A with students and a discussion with HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein in the Hayworth Fine Arts Center, Wozniak shared wisdom he has gained throughout his lifetime. He also worked side-by-side with a group of computer science and physics majors to continue building a self-driving vehicle that can serve students throughout campus. In each session, Wozniak shared valuable lessons on life, innovation and invention. Here are excerpts of commentary from today’s event, edited for clarity and brevity:


1. Motivation is Most Important

“Motivation – wanting to do something-  is much more important than knowledge. I didn’t think what I was doing was going to be valuable. I knew I would be an engineer, but I didn’t think I would ever be a computer engineer or that there were computer engineers. Computers were in exclusively for research or military. So I just did what I loved doing.”


2. The Most Successful Students Pursue Excellence

“The best students of all are the ones that pursue excellence and try to be the best in the world. That mindset helps develop the abilities to become a leader in innovation. Also, having the willingness to do things as learning opportunities and finding better ways of doing things will put you ahead of your competition. You get to decide in college if you are going to be innovative. If you’re just going to be a good student, that’s often not enough.”


3. Stick to Your Convictions

“Most people fear not knowing what to do or how they are going to look. Don’t let that matter just worry about yourself. Don’t worry about how you will appear to other people, but ask yourself, ‘Am I right in my own terms and my own mind?’ You only need to convince one person when you have discussions or arguments. You need to convince yourself. I believe I am right in this way. Always be willing to look for better suggestions, information and other approaches so you can say, ‘This is a better way and I will go that way.’


4. Kindness Counts

“Always stay friendly, especially when you are going into business or if you are trying to climb the ladder. Generally, it comes down to how well-appreciated you are by others. My father taught me that when I was very young. How far you go is usually how kind you are.”


5. Be a Constructive Thinker

“Be nice to others, don’t criticize, don’t be judgmental and don’t be mad. Just try to ask yourself how you can proceed in the most constructive way even when you fail. It’s the better way to approach life in my mind. Worry about being happy; don’t worry about success. Don’t worry about failing as much as how you are going to live life in a way that makes you happy.”

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