As the world is still mourning the passing of Steve Jobs, I began to read about the quotes and wise words this truly remarkable man spoke towards the end of his life. At the end of the day, what truly mattered to this great American visionary wasn’t the billions he’d made, the innovations he’d brought to the marketplace nor the great company he’d built to this day. What truly mattered to him is found in these two quotes:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important thing 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.” ~ Steve Jobs
“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.” ~ Steve Jobs
I could see that above everything else, the one thing that mattered to him was tuning in to his inner voice and following what his heart told him to do.
That gives me a prescription to live a fuller life: to die a little each day.
Dying A Little Each Day
In Dr. Paul Pearsall’s book Toxic Success, he wrote about a woman with cancer who was reflecting on what she had learned:
When you’re dying, you really pay attention to your family, to the trees, to the smell of a hot cup of coffee…I drank coffee every morning of my life and never enjoyed the smell as much as I do now. When you face death, you realize you could have been paying attention to all these things and millions more like them every day if you had only put your mind to it. If you want a definition of success, mine is short and sweet: Wake up and smell the coffee.
How ironic. The woman in the book became more alive as she was dying. She began to experience and savour each day more, lived more enlightened moments, enjoyed more meaningful conversations and relationships. Suddenly, there wasn’t much to worry about anymore.
What if we can live like that every day….when we don’t have to fear for the future anymore, and we’ve nothing more to lose?
Imagine these last few days are your last on earth, what would you do today? Notice how your focus shifts and pay attention to the things that matter most to you. Like what Steve Jobs said in his quote above, what are some of the big choices in life that you’d make?
What would you do today, if you know that you’ve nothing to lose? Go do it! Live accordingly.