I think the most admirable lesson Steve Jobs taught us about the way he lived his life was that he LIVED it.
To the full. Overflowing. Nonstop. Always creating. Always dreaming. Always expanding. Completely. He used every drop of it and we grasped all he gave.
Billions around the world honor him today as he leaves this life. But, for me, the true measure of our admiration toward this amazing man is that we did honor him all along his life, at every creation. And there were many.
There is no doubt he is the Edison of our generation. His accomplishments are so vast, I doubt most people know them all.
The Apple II, IMac, Pixar Studio work which brought so much fun to small and big children everywhere (remember ToyStory), ITunes, IPod, IPhone, IPad. All the genius of one man.
I loved the fact that he worked from his gut. He went to the quiet place where all creation comes from and listened to the small voice that he knew was right.
No focus groups, no research, just gut.
In his 2005 Commencement Address at Sanford University, he spoke of his life, his losses, his challenges, his struggles and his views about life and death, especially since, at that time, he had only one year earlier learned he had pancreatic cancer. (Read the transcript here, or watch below.)
His views on life and death are so profound, I wanted to share them with you. (Also read his infamous quotes here.)
Some of his memorable reflections are these:
“When I was 17 I read a quote that went something like “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important thing I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life, because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
“[Steve’s pancreatic cancer] was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept.
No one wants to die, even people who want to go to Heaven don’t want to die to get there, and yet, death is the destination we all share.
No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. right now, the new is you.
But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Steve Jobs not only created magnificent products that changed the way we live our daily lives but he also created an awareness in us that life is so short and should be treasured. Instead of focusing on the trivial parts of life, he inspired us to reach for the best in ourselves each and every day. Because one day, as he reminded us, it will truly be our last.