Every so often, you get a little too settled, a little too comfortable, a little too complacent in life.
You need a little electric shock to shake you out of it and to refocus your gaze from the road immediately ahead, to the bigger picture.
I got that jolt this week.
Thank you, Steve Jobs.
You know, the first computer I ever remember using was a Macintosh.
Nonetheless, after we moved to New Zealand, my family never owned anything but PCs. I grew up a PC girl. I owned an iPod, briefly, but didn’t use it all that much. I do use a crappy old MacBook at the office, and a work-issued iPhone. I’ve never purchased an Apple product, and I’m unlikely to do so anytime in the near future.
Nonetheless, I have immense respect for Apple. Apple is a truly design-led company and makes beautiful, functional products (even if I won’t pay their premium). And Steve Jobs’ story is one of the most inspiring out there. On paper, this was a man who had nothing going for him. Yet this week a world mourned his passing.
I teared up watching his 2005 Stanford speech as I pulled together coverage of his death at work this week, and again browsing through photos of him in his thick-haired, hippie prime, glowing with health – comparing it to the image I have of the lean, greying middle-aged man from the past few years.
Like most intensely-driven people, his work was his life.
“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Is this like an orgasm? Will I really, truly, know? This is something I struggle with.
Maybe I’m a little more pragmatic. I say no to the soul-sucking job. But I also say no to starving with artistic integrity. My fear of destitution vastly outweighs my fear of personal unfulfilment. Thankfully, I have a more-than-happy middle ground, for which I feel extremely lucky.
Maybe one day a project that burns me up will manifest itself in my life. Or maybe what serves as an all-consuming passion for Jobs and countless other entrepreneurs is simply a steady, comfortable hum for me.I don’t know.
But I do agree wholeheartedly with this:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
And my favourite quote of all:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Trust that it will all work out. Words to live by.
Am I living the life I want to live? Yes. But I can do better. You can always do better. And I have to keep striving to knock those goals off my bucket list.
How about you?
Love this post. I know I’m not living up to my fullest potential or doing things that make my heart beat with passion. But I’ll get there and people like Steve Jobs serve as the catalyst I need to keep on the path.
I admire what Steve Jobs did for computers and the society, but all of us can be our best in what we do. I suggest to my students to look in the mirror each night and answer the question did you do your best today? You should always be able to say yes.
I am sad he has died. He was really quite an icon, and I own a LOT of Apple products simply because they’re simple albeit a bit too simple 🙂
The only bone I have to pick at is the phrase “he changed the world”.
What about all the other folks who came up with incredible systems and devices that really changed the economy and its people?
They aren’t famous because they didn’t create sexy, retail products that are highly visible to the general population, but we rely on those inventions more than an iPhone, iPad or i-Whatever.
Anyhoo. His commencement speech in 2004 was so amazing, I saved the video and I printed the speech to re-read on occasion. Conan O’Brien’s was awesome too.