When Steve Jobs died, the world reeled in elaborate and extravagant response. The passing of a man who had been CEO of a company inspired such poignant, world-sweeping sorrow among a legion of strangers that it was kind of a miracle.
Clearly, this man Steve Jobs was something more than one more corporate whiz with an eye for trends and a knack for design. He was a special soul, a man whose divinity was a little closer to the surface than the rest of us. A mere mortal whose understanding of the spiritual seemed to transcend that of his so-called peers, just pounding away at a day with the expectation of nothing more than the one to follow.
Over the course of his short life, this sometimes Buddhist, barefoot-wearing, eccentric-minimalist occasionally let the world in on his zen worldview seeded throughout various of his public statements including, most notably, his 2005 commencement address to Stanford grads in which he made reference to his own understanding of mortality.
A 10-spot of nuggets, then, to mark the sad passing of a man who’s been called a profound theologian for his understanding of the human condition as its plays out between desire and finitude.
- “I believe life is an intelligent thing, that things aren’t random.”
- “Following your heart will provide you the courage to trust that eventually the dots will connect in a way that makes your passions useful, meaningful and capable of doing great things. It’s at this intersection among your heart, your intuition and the meaningful impact you make that dharma is at play.”
- “Living each day as if it is your last creates a mental model that leads one to focus on what’s truly important. In the face of death, worldly fears fall away, and we are more courageous in taking risks. Living life to the fullest means evaluating each day’s events, and asking yourself, ‘If I were to die tomorrow, would I still have chosen to do the things I did today?’ If you find that your answer to this question is ‘no’ for more than a few consecutive days, then it’s time to change. Death can be life’s most effective change agent!”
- “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
- “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
- “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
- “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
- “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.”
- “That’s been one of my mantras: focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
- “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.”