When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died last week after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, there were many articles and blogs written about his contributions to the improvement of our civilization, the way he revolutionized how we communicate, listen to music, and consume technology. He was lauded for his understanding of the marketplace, creating shareholder value, and fabulous sense of design.
What I found most interesting, however, were his views of death, which he shared with Stanford graduates in 2005, after his original diagnosis. Now when he spoke to the students and their parents, he had undergone surgery and had a very bright future, bright even for Steve Jobs. His perspective on death was enlightening, a view that could only come from someone who came “this close” to the end of his life, yet his view of death was shaped by a quote he read when he was 17 years old: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”
He went on to say, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool 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.”
The entire speech is straight forward, honest, and I hope that his audience, having been in the presence of a man humbled by illness more than anything else, took his words to heart. Those graduates are still not yet 30, they have their entire lives to understand the meaning of his words.
Being able to recognize the moments that define what it means to be alive is a gift to be cherished. It is our responsibility to seek out those moments each and everyday, not just when our days are numbered.
May Steve’s memory be a blessing.
Steve Jobs was phenomenal.Those Stanford graduates, I hope they realized that they were given a word up, a reminder of their abundance. His advise will be a huge benefit to there life if they are able to embrace his message and live up to it. I try to carry out his advise by starting my day with the end in mind.— sharon Lyons / October 23rd, 2011 at 11:27 am
Thanks for sharing this article about steve jobs.— sharon Lyons / October 23rd, 2011 at 11:30 am