Steve Jobs – How to Live Until You Die

by Jan Gunter

Steve Jobs died yesterday, and I feel like we are experiencing a collective cultural sadness and joy.

He changed our world with the Apple II (I remember that machine), the iMac (we have one at home), the iPod (I have the Nano), the iPhone (finally got one in February), the iPad (my mother has done more with hers than she could have imagined) and more.

But underlying these amazing inventions, are the truths by which Steve Jobs lived. Much of that truth was encapsulated beautifully in the graduation speech he gave at Stanford several years ago. In that speech he talked about his adoption, why he dropped out of college, being fired from Apple, and his original diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from that speech.

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith…”

The families who use our services certainly understand this. No one really ever expects to have to stay at the Ronald McDonald House or visit a Ronald McDonald Family Room, but we’re there when that brick hits them.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards….Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.”

Echoes of Robert Frost and Soren Kierkegaard, these words remind us to be true to ourselves and trust in the process.

“You’ve got to find what you love…..The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle…”

As the mother of two young adults, I love this advice and preach it regularly. Steve exemplified it.

“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right…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. 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.”

Wow. What if today was your last day? Would you change some things?

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there….”

Now this one makes me chuckle. I do indeed want to go to heaven, but I totally agree with Steve here. I really, really, really want to live this life – this one I’ve been given here on earth. The other one in heaven — God willing — will come soon enough.

Thanks, Steve, for showing us how to live until you die.

What is your favorite thing about the life and work of Steve Jobs?

Jan Gunter

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3 Responses to Steve Jobs – How to Live Until You Die

  1. Brian Crum says:

    Well put, Jan. The passing of Steve Jobs was both a time of happy reflection on his contribution to today’s technology and was a sad realization of the loss of quite possibly one of the greatest minds that recent generations have known.

    Another thing, though, that I took from Jobs was this: Spend time with those that matter. This comes as part of a sad note of Steve’s life. Recently while speaking of his autobiography that was in progress, Jobs made the statement (not verbatim, but very close) that he was writing out his story so that his kids would know why he wasn’t present very much… what he was doing that demanded his all and removed him from so much of their lives.

    I don’t want my son to have to get to know his father through a book. That’s not to say that I think Steve Jobs was a bad person for his extreme dedication, but it does make me feel a sense of pity towards the situation. It also puts into a very real perspective exactly how precious every moment in life is; it puts into perspective how important it is to spend time with those you love.

    Steve Jobs is an inspiration to so very many in this world, and for about as many reasons as there are inspired people.
    As I already know from my 78 days spent at the Ronald McDonald House in Austin, life is fragile.
    I’m sure many of your readers have heard the story regarding the tombstone having two dates, a beginning and an end, and a dash in the middle.
    What does your dash represent? Is it what you want? If not, you’re reading this… that means you’ve still got time.

    • Jan Gunter says:

      Brian – thanks for your thoughts. I hadn’t heard that about Steve Jobs and his kids – that is certainly bittersweet. Wow – 78 days at the House – that really is incredible! So glad you’re home with your boy now, and you can spend time loving that kid!!

  2. ann jerome says:

    Kudos Jan! You expressed what I was thinking too as I watched that exact same speech last night. Wow – what a life and legacy for all of us to aspire to.

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