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Friday, October 7, 2011

Goodbye to Steve Jobs

One of my heroes died yesterday. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple and a man who enriched the lives of billions of people around the world, died at 56. 
Now, people like me rarely choose heads of multi-million dollar corporations as heroes. But Steve Jobs was so much more than that. Jobs was a man of extraordinary vision, drive and success. He was a man who  revolutionized technology through his design, marketing and creation of personal computers and mobile devices introducing us to laptops, iPods and i Phones and iPads. He was also the man who focused on creating things that were so user friendly and simple that even a 65 year could learn how to use them quickly.  My own mother is a case in point. She first learned how to type at the age of 65 on an Apple computer. She then moved on to laptops. As soon as she hear about the iPod, she became an instant fan. I will never forget the day when at  the age of 78,  she lined up at 6:00 in the morning just to make sure she got one of the first IPods on the market.  Mr Jobs certainly touched her life. 

Steve Jobs had a fascinating life, and millions have already signed up to buy his biography, which has not even been written yet, But suffice to say He was a man of passion who did what  he loved, what he believed in, and who stood by his own belief in that work.

One of his most memorable speeches, given to graduating students at Stanford, forever changed how I felt about my own work and life. I am intense person, passionate about what I do, but other have often criticized me for being too intense, and too passionate about it. I love my job, and will always believe that it is great work that requires great commitment. After watching Steve Job's commencement speech on You Tube some time ago, I no longer feel that I have to apologize for being such a passionate teacher.  
Here are a few quotes from that famous speech.

On life:
"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, 2005)

On work:
"I didn't see it then, but getting fired from Apple was one of the best things that ever happened to me." (Steve Jobs, 2005)
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and 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. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle." (Steve Jobs, 2005)

On "Death"
 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." (Steve Jobs, 2005)
"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘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.
"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, 2005) 

Here is the entire speech: 

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