|Do you like the professional shot? |
Note the strategically placed sunglasses and perfectly coiffed hair!
Sitting minding my own business in a library courtyard on Sunday I was unknowingly about to be rocked to the core, just by clicking play on Steve Jobs’ 15 minute speech to Stanford graduates in 2005. Despite being someone who can’t sit still without a tweet or two every few minutes, I was mesmerised from the start. A lady sitting next to me was also I realised, after she asked me whom I was listening to. "Steve Jobs", I replied, suddenly overwhelmed. “What a nutter!” I thought, “bursting in to tears in front of a stranger!” She was lovely and offered me a tissue. How embarrassing, but really when faced with words such as these below, probably the most logical reaction.
“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.” Steve Jobs
This man had already made my life more beautiful and more effective and now he was telling me to follow my heart. Should I have expected anything less? And then I find this out because he is close to the end of an all too short and brilliant life. I wanted to rage against the gods, “why him, why take him when there are lesser men who you could take”, but he has an answer for that too.
“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.” Steve Jobs
“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.” Steve Jobs
So I dried my eyes and started to write about this man that I don’t know. And I took his advice literally and with my heart in my throat, I summoned the courage he talked of and sent the finished product off to a major newspaper. And the next day as I was telling myself I had lost nothing by sending it, except maybe a little pride, I read an email asking me for a photo of myself and that my story was to be published the next day!
I will cry again for this man I’m sure, his life’s work has been a part of my life for 17 years and his absence will be felt acutely. But today I am just thankful, not only for him giving me my favourite products in the world but for inspiring me to have faith in myself and be brave.