Posted on 21 March 2011.
“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.”
-Steve Jobs 2005 Standford commencement speech
Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford is truly one of the best 15 minute speeches I have ever heard. His words here are even more poignant considering Mr. Jobs’ health situation which I truly hope he makes it through. I think one can either look at this statement in one of two ways. You can read it and think it’s depressing and negative, or you can see that maybe it is one of the most positive and uplifting things anyone has ever said. I choose the latter.
Growing up, whenever I was afraid of something, (like being hit with a baseball) my dad would always tell me, “what’s the big deal, you’ll be dead soon.” As a young boy I had plenty of fears, probably just like everyone else. I was scared of the baseball (pretty ironic considering I ended up playing professionally), talking to girls I liked, being judged negatively by my peers, rejection, failure, the list goes on and on. Whenever my dad said that phrase to me, I never got it. I thought he was being negative. What did that have to do with my life anyway since I’ve got so much longer to go? I mean, the pain of rejection or failure was much more immediate than whatever will happen 70 years from now, right? Recently however, it has really hit me. I’ve realized how fast the last 10 years have gone. It’s almost my High School ten year reunion already. As I told my friend the other day, I remember grabbing lunch with him at the mirror building (for all you GNS people out there) 10 years ago like it was yesterday. If I project the light speed at which the last ten years have passed, I realize that maybe I don’t have quite as much time as I thought I did. This has brought into my life a renewed sense of urgency. I don’t have the time to sit around and let my fears big or small take control.
I believe that Mr. Jobs is telling us all that we need to go after what we truly want in life. One day we will all be dead, so what is there really to be afraid of? Remember who and what is truly important to you, commit to it, and let that be your legacy! Our fears of failure, hurt pride, embarrassment, really are very small when put in the context of death. So…..DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE BOLD. Get out there, realize your potential, live your life, be honest, but most of all give ALL of yourself while being 100% faithful to who you are. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE (in the end you lose it all anyway). No matter what happens, it won’t be embarrassing. IT WILL BE EMPOWERING!
With all my warm wishes,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc Steve Jobs’ full speech