Wisdom from Steve Jobs:
… When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, 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.
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.
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 other’s 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.
But then how do we get in tune with the inner voice amidst all the noise? How does one develop the intuition?
Let’s hear from Steve Jobs himself…
If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.
[From the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson]
In fact, even before Apple happened, young Steve Jobs used to spend days in meditation retreats at the Tassajara Zen Center in California. It’s very clear that Jobs’ exploration of eastern spirituality during his younger days had a big influence in his life and work later on. His Zen meditation practices really poured into his work, his ability to focus on just what’s needed, his design sensibilities, passion for perfection and the way Apple has shaped up as a brand it has come to be. He found his Zen in Apple.
Today, February 24th, is Steve Jobs’ birthday.