If Steve Jobs had been around when Steve Jobs was young, Steve Jobs would never have done what Steve Jobs did.
Two nights ago Channel 4 in the UK screen a profile about Steve Jobs as part of the month of official mourning that's been mandated in all western democracies.
It was the usual knocked together job, but with some good stuff chucked in, such as the hideous moment when Apple fanboys booed and hissed the revelation that the investor/saviour of the re-born Apple was... Beelzebub/Bill Gates.
But here's the factoid that struck me: Steve Jobs loved to go on a walk.
Even when he was very ill, Steve would set himself a target and struggle out into the open air.
So, why did he do this? Well, the same reason any sane adult strolls – to clear his/her head and allow the regular rhythm of footsteps to propel the unconscious creativity inside his/her head.
There is nothing like monotonous activity – DIY, swimming, spanking a disobedient infant – to set the mind free. It's during these moments that the brain – freed of conscious thinking – makes magical connections.
Stephen King called these moments 'talking to God on the telephone', while British writer Alan Bennett referred to the mystery of his creativity by saying he would sit at his desk and 'see if anything had come in'.
The irony of Jobs' long walks is that, on one of them, he may have come up with the idea of the iPod and – hey presto – destroyed the ability of an entire generation to walk anywhere without the distraction of Jason Derulo in between their ears.
And then compounded it with the iPhone and iPad.
Imagine the board meetings...
Apple board: "Hey Steve, what's the verdict on the scroll wheel idea?"
(sound of tinny drumming)
Apple board: "Steve, take your earphones out."
Steve: "Sorry guys. I haven't thought about it. But I have seen this video where a monkey sticks a finger up its arse, sniffs it and then falls of a tree. I'll send you the link."
Maybe I'm just an old c***, or an old white c*** as John Terry might call me, but it strikes me that the one thing all these amazing creative tools can't do is make you creative.
There's the grand paradox.
The only action that can make you truly creative is removing all distractions and literally walking away from them. Only for a bit. But completely.
Try it. But don't make the mistake I made: keep your clothes on.