Steve Jobs’ inspirational legacy

Steve JobsBy now you have heard that Apple’s Steve Jobs passed away from pancreatic cancer on Oct 5, 2011 at the early age of 56.

When we hear of a death, it stops us in our tracks, and makes us really think about life. But how long does that period of serious reflection last?  Probably not too long for most of us.  Steve Jobs’ words of wisdom are truly inspirational; allow it to make a difference in your life. I would like to share a quote from him, and comment on it below:

Speaking to the Stanford University graduating class of 2005, a year after surgery to treat his illness, Jobs said, “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. 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. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

What struck me in particular is “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”.   In our western lifestyle, how often are we worried about what other people think of us?  Unfortunately, a great deal.   Now how silly is that?

I heard a radio piece of one of his speeches where he talked about when he wakes up in the morning, if it was his last day on earth, would he still want to do what he had planned for the day?  And if his answer was ‘No’ to this question for many days in a row, he knew it was time to make a change.   Here’s my take on this — this is true in a certain way. What if you really dislike your job, but you feel stuck and cannot quit. I know you all have certain responsibilities in your life and you can’t just say “I don’t feel like working anymore, so I’m going to go sit on the beach for the day.”   So here’s what you can do:  figure out what brings you joy in this world, no matter how small or insignificant someone else may think it is. It may be talking to a close friend, playing with your dog, or taking a walk in the forest. Or maybe it’s following a passion by starting a small business as a side job even though it’s not going to make a lot of money. Or maybe it’s looking at your job with fresh eyes and consciously making a decision to have a different experience with it. You are in control of these things.

The bottom line:  do something joyful every single day. Choose things that are meaningful to YOU and don’t worry about what others think.

5 thoughts on “Steve Jobs’ inspirational legacy

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this Wendy.

    It’s interesting, the part that really stuck out for me as well was the comment, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”.

    Here’s my take.

    Time is limited for sure. Whether you are on Earth for 2 years, 20 years or 90 years, time is limited. I believe that the time here is not even half a blink compared to what is in store for us. So, while you are here, make it the best that you can, for you.

    Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, it has taken 40 years to realize that. Actually, that is not completely true. I learned that many years ago, but only now am I finally living my life for me, and for the things that I care about most, and not what I think others want me to be like or live like. The past couple of years have had huge changes for me. These changes, while difficult at times were the changes that I needed in my life to focus or in some areas re-focus. I also know that the changes have not finished and there will be more in my life, but I do feel that I can accept those changes better and more confident now than I could have a year or so ago. I enjoy time that I now have on my own “my alone time”. This is the time I spend reflecting on my life. It’s not time thinking “I wish I did that differently”, more “What did I learn and how will I do it differently if I encounter something similar again?”. Then there is the rest of my time. This is the time that is filled with work, friends and most important to me and makes me who I am and what I enjoy being most, Dad to my 3 beautiful daughters.

    In the end, I am trying to live this time here to the fullest, for me, and for the things that I want in life and am not so concerned about how others see me or how I want others to see me.

  2. Personally, I draw a distinction between happiness and joy. I think of happiness as being contingent on something external to yourself. You are happy because of ______. The blank could be filled in by anything that makes you happy. Unfortunately, this contingency often means that when ______ fades away, or changes or no longer does it for you, you are left feeling empty and want to go find something else. To me, joy is something deeper and more profound. Joy is not contingent on anything. Joy comes from inside yourself and has no point or reason.

    I experienced joy for the first time in my mid-thirties after practicing present moment awareness for a few months – having learned of the concept in Ekhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”. I was in the livingroom of my apartment just being present with the clouds and birds outside when I slipped into a state of feeling more present and more alive than I can ever remember experiencing. I felt a stillness, a clarity and a deep sense of peace and it was as though I was seeing everything for the first time. Out of that stillness a joy welled up inside me that was so overwhelming and profound that I was just speechless. I felt connected to everything, and everything was beautiful and perfect. All of my problems suddenly seemed so trivial. The vitality of being alive in that moment was absolutely amazing. I felt loved and so full of love. It changed my life. I had never felt that way. I believe that this state is what much of spiritual enlightenment is pointing to.

    That state lasted for a few hours before I felt myself returning to a more normal state again, but having glanced this state, having realized that this is possible, I have never been the same since. I have found that mindfulness and present moment awareness – something enhanced through meditation – is a gateway to joy, and that joy is always there inside all of us all the time, just waiting quietly and patiently to be accessed. It requires nothing other than your presence.

  3. Thank you Wendy, for sharing these inspirational words from Steve Jobs. It always makes me sad when I hear that someone has passed away at such an early age. But when I think about what someone like Steve Jobs has accomplished in his relatively short time in this world and the difference he has made in the lives of so many people, and indeed for society as a whole, it makes me realize that it’s not how much time we have in this world that matters, it’s what we do with that time. This realization gives me the drive to really want to make every day count, to not waste any time procrastinating doing the things I need to do, to not dwell on negative emotions, and to bring a positive energy to everything that I do and to anyone in my path.

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