Archives for October 2011

Our Gift from Steve Jobs

As we all pause to mourn the loss of Steve Jobs, let us reflect on the gift he gave us during his lifetime. Most will think that his greatest gift is his contribution to the computer and entertainment world. But it’s more than that.

At a commencement speech at Stanford he spoke of the path his life took and the choices he made. The fact that he was invited to speak at a university graduation was just one of many ironic and remarkable things about his life. He never graduated from college because it was restricting and delaying him from answering the call of his dreams.

He recounted the circumstances of his young birth mother being very purposeful about who would adopt her son, his leaving college to follow his dream, the hurtful experience of being fired from the company he helped found and finally the devastating news of pancreatic cancer.

Through it all Steve had a vision and life drive that perhaps few could understand. Never mind that it’s rumored that his visions were helped along by psychedelic drugs in his early days, he left us a gift nonetheless.

  • He showed us what can happen when you follow an idea, even when you’re not sure where it is taking you.
    He mentions in the commencement speech how audited a calligraphy class at Reed College just because he wanted to, later served him well when creating the fonts and spacing for Apple computers.
  • He left us with an example of what living your life to its fullest means, even in the face of a cruel illness that promised to shorten his time with us. He lived each day as if it was his last. By the time he did face his last day he had changed the lives of people around the world because of his innovative ideas and determination to sharing them with us.
  • Finally, he left us with an example of what being rich is really about. He reportedly had a temper, was intolerant of half-ass work, perfectionistic and fiercely focused, but he bravely extracted the most from each day of his life to create what he saw would improve our lives even when no one else could see it.
  • It may seem disingenuous to mourn the loss of someone you never knew personally, but when that someone was a genius whose live and work changed the way we all live and work, it’s most appropriate.
  • Thank you, Steve Jobs, for your gift. May we open our gift and continue to be inspired, encouraged and enriched by it.

    P.S. In case you didn’t see that Stanford commencement speech, I’ve posted it above.