When a friend told me this week that Steve Jobs had died, it wasn't the news that surprised me. It was my reaction to it. So soon, I remember thinking to myself. A hollow feeling crept into me. Something really big and really important has come to an end. In a moment my thoughts bounced from an image of a gaunt man standing on a stage, to the device he held in his hand, to the hundreds of miles of mountain trails that device accompanied me on as an ultra runner.
Jobs on Dreams
The more I've read about Jobs the more I'm enlightened by his perspective on life. Man, here is a guy who had the world in the palm of his hand. Despite unfathomable wealth, he stayed true to himself by continuing to pursue his passion for work at Apple. Jobs was a big advocate of pursuing your dreams, and finding what you love doing, and not settling until you do.
What I've come to realize is that Steve Jobs wasn't unlike the rest of us. He experienced failure like us. He feared death like we do. But despite these similarities, Jobs was different because he could see things more clearly than most of us. He once said that "...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."
Jobs on Death
Jobs said that "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."
What would Jobs say to us runners? I think I can hear his words now. Do what is in your heart. Don't worry about embarrassment or failure. You have nothing to lose. Let everything else fall away when you step to the line. And when the starting gun goes off, breath deeply and remember. This could be the last run of your life.
RIP Steve Jobs.