A huge driving force behind the next phase of my life is the fact that, I want to live a life worth living. To me, that means living a life that is personally fulfilling, while also creating a positive impact on the world around me. This is not a novel goal, probably each one of you wants the same thing (and hopefully some of you have been fortunate enough to achieve it). But for the rest of us, the question remains: Are we willing to make the tough choices and create a life worth living?
A man who did just that, and over the years has inspired countless others to do the same, just passed away. Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple, died after a long struggle with cancer – one that while heartbreaking, also allowed him to appreciate the last few years of life and live it to the fullest. This is an opportunity that (hopefully) many of us don’t get, so we have to be the catalyst in our own lives to make the most of each day. Something Steve Jobs said in his now famous 2005 Stanford Commencement Address really resonated with me when I was trying to make some tough decisions to pursue a fuller life for myself. This speech has a wealth of insight and inspiration, but the point that stood out most to me was when Jobs talked about his own ongoing reassessment of his life’s path. Inspired at a young age by the quote “If you live each day as if it was your last, some day you’ll most certainly be right,” Jobs said that daily he asks himself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
When I heard that for the first time about a month ago, I had the utter realization that for far too many days, my answer has been “no.” So despite what obstacles may lie ahead, I decided I had to make a change. I really don’t have any idea where this next venture may lead me, or even where I would want it to, but I know that the first step is to follow my heart and intuition, and hope that Jobs was right in saying, “They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” (Seemed to work out pretty well for him…)
I’m not a computer and technology person and have not been a lifelong follower of Steve Job’s innovations or philosophy. From a consumer’s point of view, I can clearly see the impact he has made on the market, and his death will certainly create a loss in that sense. But I think the greatest loss in Jobs’ departure is the loss of a passionate person – a true success story of living the American dream – who was uniquely in a position to inspire younger generations. While he may not have always known the great legacy he would leave behind, he actively created for himself a life worth living. I hope in the end I can say the same.
So I leave you with the words that Jobs closed his speech to the Stanford grads with:
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
I am. Are you?