When we lose someone who has made significant changes in the world, especially when they are a peer whose life ended far too soon, it gives us a needed pause for reflection and review of our own existence. I was faced with such an opportunity last night after hearing that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had passed away.
News accounts and responses from across the globe used these words to describe Jobs: innovator, visionary, icon, leader, creative genius, amazing human being, dear friend, inspiring mentor, brave, bold, talented, one of humanity’s great lights, a person who defined our time.
I tend to perceive myself as being quite insignificant in comparison to a person who has done so much and is regarded so highly. But by doing this, I am failing to recognize that each of us brings our own special gifts and contributions to the world, even if the scope of that world is much narrower than the one Steve Jobs was fortunate to have impacted. I need to remember that I can strive to achieve my own dreams, pursue my own passions, cherish my family and friends, and live up to the standards I have set for myself in all aspects of my life. And while many of the descriptors used for Jobs will never apply to me, I can hope that at least some of the individual words will resonate in my small circle of family, friends, associates, clients and acquaintances when they remember me.
I discovered that Steve Jobs has left us many memorable and inspirational quotes, and this one, from his commencement address to Stanford University in 2005, I particularly love:
“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 is 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 is 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. 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.”
These words echo and affirm what I believe to be true, yet in my attempts to live them out I often stumble. I am going to keep this quote somewhere visible for use each day, both as a reminder and as motivation. I hope that you will consider doing the same.
Now, I could let parts of that quote segue into a lesson on decluttering and organizing, but I think I prefer to let my blog post end with this: Thank you for your amazing legacy, Steve Jobs; may you rest in peace.