Monthly Archives: March 2008

life lessons from Mr. Jobs

my friend Rita pointed me to a video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech. she and i had been talking about being older than 40, and potentially having the ability to reflect back on our lives and come up with a few things we had learned. we were also talking about mindfulness. she thought Mr. Jobs was worth listening to…i couldn’t agree more.

you should watch the speech…don’t allow my synopsis to stop you. it’s 15 minutes of your life, which is a small investment to watch one of the great innovators and entrepreneurs of our times. it doesn’t matter if you like Apple or even care about the whole tech industry, because the things he shares are pretty universal.

in his mind, it all came down to three things:

  • you can’t connect the dots looking forward, only backwards. as a result, follow your heart or intuition, even when it leads you off the well-worn path.
  • you’ve got to find what you love, in life and in work, and you’ll know it when you find it. do not settle for less.
  • your time is limited…don’t waste it living someone else’s life. have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

one anecdote that i found powerful was something he did every day. he’d wake up in the morning, look himself in the mirror, and ask, "if this was the last day of your life, would you really want to be doing what you’re going to do today?" if he answered no too many times in a row, he realized it was time for change. this mindfulness, the ability to step out of the river that can often push us downstream in life, is key.

deceptively simple messages. on the surface, they may seem naively idealistic, but are they? really? follow your heart, realizing that you’ve got limited time. one chance. no do-overs. this is your one-and-only life. make it count.

thanks, Steve (and Rita).