Steve Jobs died.
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.
Yes, Steve made a ridiculously successful company, made products that I and millions of others adore, and indeed, made an industry and generation better. He did all of things. In high school, I learned making memories is far more important than making money. It was more than that, but in Macroeconomics, that’s the single most important thing I learned in that class and probably in my junior year of high school.
Over a year ago, I saw the commencement speech. In that speech, there are ideas and words that resonate with me just as much as everything else has he done. But these things are things of solely his own creation.
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.
These are his raw uncommercialized words. These are words supercharged by nothing but his own meaning instilled into them. This is what he tried to do and what he did. That is what he lived by and that is what he is inspiring others to do. Steve knew he was not going to be here forever. Steve knew what he words meant.
Words like these, and those before, have changed me too, that trying something and succeeding is in no part dictated by the past and established procedures.
Yesterday, I ranted and today, if you call this mourning, then that’s what I’m doing today. Tomorrow, I’ll be the same as I was yesterday, but with the knowledge that a legendary creator has passed away and joined the stars.