In Learning from Legends

I realize this post is several days overdue. After all, one of the greatest legends of our generation passed away last Wednesday and here it is Monday and I still haven’t commented. The thing is, I haven’t been ready. Something profound has happened and it took some time for me to process. And reflect. Steve Jobs meant something to just about everyone on this planet…but what did he mean to me?

Over the past few days, I’ve skimmed hundreds of tributes across the web from people who thanked him for changing the way we work, the way we play, and the way we live. I read articles about his life, pondered the fact that he was adopted, a college dropout, a Buddhist. I listened to his inspirational Stanford commencement speech from 2005 and contemplated statements like this:

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.

I studied the iconic photograph on Apple’s website and thought about the man in the wire-rimmed glasses. Yes, he gave us the personal computer, Pixar, and a whole slew of i-devices that have revolutionized life as we know it. As an advertising professional, I’d be remiss not mention that he also dazzled us with some of the best ad campaigns of all time. But that’s not what his legacy is about for me.

What Steve Jobs gave me is proof. Proof that one person can change the world.

There have been times in my life when I’ve felt too small to make a difference, when my voice and ideas felt unworthy of being heard, when the knowledge of my insignificance made me question the very purpose of my existence. But Steve Jobs showed us that great power lies within each and every one of us. That it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, only where you’re going.

And the importance of going.

“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.”
-Steve Jobs

What did Steve Jobs mean to you?

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Showing 3 comments
  • Suzanne

    Given that Steve Jobs is only seven years older than me, his death gave me pause to consider even more seriously how I am spending my life and the career I am pursuing.

    • Erika

      Me too, Suzanne. Me too.

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