What I Learned from Apple (Part 2/2)

This is part 2 of a 2-part series on lessons I’ve learned from the popular rise of Apple Computers. Click HERE to read last week’s post if you need a quick memory jog or if you missed it for some strange reason (which I’m sure must include alien abductions and space-travel!).

Follow your Leaders:

With the iPhone and iPod out, Apple continued to make improvements and asked their customers to keep purchasing upgrades. I had some water-cooler conversation with some of my Anti-Apple peeps who assured me that customers wouldn’t keep buying upgraded devices. They were sure Apple would run dry, and we could peacefully return to multi-button phones and beige computer boxes. To the contrary, when Steve Jobs said “buy this new product,” every release produced new record sales. We don’t have a lot of expendable income in our budget, yet over the past seven years we’ve purchased (new and second-hand, some for home and some for work) 5 different iPods, 3 different iPhones, a laptop and desktop. Steve said “buy” and we said, “Ok”.

When you step out to live the Overboard life, you must choose to follow those God has placed in leadership above you. It’s not that leaders are infallible, it’s that God-ordained leadership doesn’t come with optional obedience. Yes, we must confront our leaders when they err, but we must also learn to trust them even when we don’t agree. Our ability to follow our leaders will often manifest itself in how well others will be willing to follow our leadership. Overboard living must be under the guidance of God-ordained leadership.

Don’t Rest on your Laurels:

I don’t even know what laurels are, but I know that Apple hasn’t rested on them since their comeback began. The iMac was a great break-thru product but it was just the beginning (in fact, they haven’t made iMacs for many years now!). Soon the two button iPod was released, followed by the click wheel (which was my personal favorite pre-iPod touch), and iTunes, downloadable music, movies, TV shows and the rest. The iPhone came out, then the iPad and…who knows what’s next?! The point is, one break-thru wasn’t sufficient, Apple has kept on producing.

In the same way, living outside the comfort of the boat demands continued progress and growth. Staying in the same place day after day, week after week, leads to a stagnant Christian life; not a vibrant world-changing faith. Getting comfortable in your environment leads back to the safety of the boat. My wife and I love to say that once you step outside your comfort zone and expand your horizons, you have to push out even further to get out of your next comfort zone. Overboard living must be persistent and creative.

Know your Competition:

Remember the “Hi, I’m a mac” and “I’m a PC” commercials? Those were brilliant. In the campaign, Apple focused on it’s great brand, expressing the biggest problems with the competition. The PC character was old and out-dated, dressed like an accountant from the 90s. PC was nerdy, clunky and unreliable, while Mac was hip, hi-funcitoning, compatible with any idea and super user-friendly. While the commercials were just parodies, the point was clear: Apple was exploiting the weaknesses of its enemy.

The enemy to Overboard living is the true Enemy. The last thing the devil wants is for any of God’s children to start living extraordinary lives of faith and courage. The last thing he wants is for you and me to get out of the comfort of the boat and to start gaining spiritual territory for the Kingdom. The enemy is savvy. The enemy is vicious. The enemy will stop at nothing to win, and if you are going to live Overboard, you are going to have to be aware of his tactics. Aware that he strikes when you are weak. Aware that temptation will come when you least expect it, and when you are least prepared. The enemy doesn’t take days off. The enemy doesn’t quit or give up. The enemy must be resisted and outlasted, but not on your strength — only with God’s. Overboard living requires an intimate knowledge and awareness of our enemies tactics.

Build on Momentum:

The final lesson I’ve learned from Apple is this: build off momentum and past success. Apple’s success in the iMac created momentum for the iPod. The wild success of the iPod paved the way for the iPhone. The iPhone led to the iPad and who knows where the iPad will lead us? (Although I suspect Apple already has something in the works.) The point is this: Apple let past success play a part in their future growth; momentum begets momentum.

The best God-designed lives understand the power of momentum. While we don’t stand on our past laurels, we do use them for future momentum. We must learn to strike when the iron is hot and we must use culture to it’s fullest advantage without compromising the integrity of the message or our eternal purpose. Jesus used momentum perfectly. When the crowds were attentive, He spoke. Then when they got hungry, He fed them. After they were fed, He reminded them of spiritual food. Each phase of success and momentum led to another surge of momentum. When God grants you success in one area, pray for His help in keeping that momentum rolling as you continue into the next area! Overboard living requires an understanding of building on momentum!

I hope you are living Overboard. If so, you may not have even realized how much your life looks like the success of Apple. You’ve learned to:

  1. Make packaging matter
  2. Think outside the box
  3. Do what others said could not be done
  4. Follow your leaders
  5. Not rest on your laurels
  6. Know your competition
  7. Build on momentum

If you’re not living Overboard, let me encourage you to embrace one of these ideas, one of these principles, and go to work on it. Practice living the Overboard life, one decision at a time, day after day.

Go ahead and take the plunge — life is better on the water!

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