Like much of the world I was saddened by the new yesterday of the loss of Steve Jobs. I many ways the very world we live in has been changed and impacted in such immense ways by his vision and dreams.
Spending most of my life as either a IT geek or a working creative my life has been impacted greatly by Steve Jobs and Apple. I remember when I went back to college I was learning accounting, Lotus 1-2-3, and wordperfect on some of the earliest DOS based pc’s – but remember walking by the graphics lab and seeing those early Mac’s in there with their iconic shape. The green curser of DOS replaced by desktop icons and a mouse.
In 2005 Steve Jobs gave a rather famous commencement address at Stanford University. If by some chance you’ve never seen it I have a link below and urge you to take the time to sit and listen, and I mean really listen, to his words.
I remember it was 2007 that I first read that speech and the impact some of those passages had on me.
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.
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.
I remember it so well because I was doing a bit of soul searching myself in 2007. I was coming to terms with growing older, facing my own eventual mortality, and never having chased my dreams. I don’t know how much the words of Steve Jobs had on that final decision but at the end of 2007 I gave my notice to my employer of 15 years to focus my life on my passion and follow my heart to become a full time photographer.
The years since then, while a constant financial struggle, have been my happiest and most fulfilling. Steve Jobs, for whatever small part you may have played in my decision you have my thanks, and you will be dearly missed.