As an idealistic twenty-year old, Steve Jobs set out to change the world; not like a gentle Buddhist, but like a indefatigable revolutionary, willing to throw a sledge hammer right in your face.
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.
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.
Sometimes the planting of a seed necessitates its death, the death of your fondest hopes, before it can be reborn to bear the fruits of new life and new opportunity.
—The Urantia Papers
Steven Paul Job dropped out of college after one semester to take a job so he could save money for a spiritual retreat to India. He did in fact go to India shortly thereafter, to seek spiritual enlightenment, but the guru he had gone to see was already dead when Jobs arrived. Although he shaved his head and ostensibly became a Buddhist, he realized there was no place you could just go for a month and become enlightened; he also learned that no matter how great your ideas, without actions, they were empty.
Of course, there are numerous places on the web where you can go to get the details about Steve Jobs’ life and death; remember, Bloomberg accidentally published his obituary back in 2008, so even the current news of his death is not really new. I’ve chosen to highlight his poignant and always timely comments about death, not just because I think he was right, but because death will continue to be mysterious, misunderstood, and monumentally important to each of us. We are mortal.
So— daily looking in the face of death— what is it that becomes truly important?
Life. Living. Love.
Everything else is secondary.
Like me, hundreds of thousands of people around the world could write, and maybe are, about how important the MAC, and Apple has been and continues to be, to their way of life, their personal growth as thoughtful creatures on this planet. And like me, many of those people are artists, whose art has been forever changed by Apple and its right-brained, aesthetic approach to technology. And you could say the same thing about the iPod, and the iPhone., and the tools that will surely come from Apple in the future.
I never met Steve in his life here, on Urantia, the World of the Cross. But I can say with great certainty that, as of yesterday, he is so very much closer to the enlightenment he sought all those years ago.