Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs - Follow Your Heart

Steve Jobs died yesterday. We all knew it was coming, but somehow, the news hit me hard. Age 56 is just too early to go (and way too close to home).

I love my iPod. I would love to own an iPhone someday, and a mac. Steve led Apple, with his vision and refusal to compromise, to give us sublimely elegant solutions to what we needed--or learned we needed. The world has changed forever.

What I am thinking about today is what made Steve Jobs the man he was--and what that means to you and me.

I just watched Steve's 15-minute 2005 Stanford Commencement Address again. Although there is irony in it now--he tells the students that his pancreatic cancer had been removed and he was fine--he made three points that we all can consider as we live our lives.

First, he talked about connecting the dots--which you can only do in retrospect--to see that when you follow your heart, it can lead you to where you need to go. The genius we attribute (rightly) to Jobs is that he followed his own path and trusted in himself that it was the right way.

Second, something that might seem at the time to be tragic or horrible (being fired from the company you founded was his example) can be the best thing that happened to you. You can start fresh and lightened of burdens, take a new path. The important thing is to not lose faith.

Third, he talked about death, calling it life's change agent. If today was the last day of your life, would you do what you're doing? If not, then it's time to think about what is most important to you and find a way to do that. Jobs was convinced that life is precious--and limited--and that you should find what you love--and never settle for less.

He ends by evoking Stewart Brand and his Whole Earth Catalog--"Google on paper," and their final words: Stay Hungry Stay Foolish." The best way to remember Steve Jobs, I believe, is to try to live more like him--and follow our own visions for our lives. There's no time to waste.

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