“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.” – 1 Peter 1: 24
In his blog, renowned motivational speaker John Kanary said that change is scary but regret is even scarier.
Many spend their lives merely allowing what happens outside to dictate how they will live theirs. They merely react to their surroundings instead of tapping their ability to change things into becoming better. It is also common to hear people doing things simply because others are doing them just the same. A lot of people fail to realize and give value to their authenticity which is why they end up with lives filled with misery and regret.
To change our lives for the better is always scary. At the onset of our decision, it is common to realize the hindrances that come before us. But what we should realize is that life is too short. During this pandemic alone, I have had colleagues who unexpectedly passed away at a young age. We never know the length of our journey in this life. So we might as well do the most that we can to make it worth the while.
Steve Job’s Commencement Address
In a commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, the late Apple founder Steve Jobs gave a great speech that would truly motivate every listener. He shared his life journey and pointed out three important keynotes.
- Connect the dots
Jobs narrated that he seems to have found no value in the things he was doing during his stay in Reed College. And so, even while he was fully aware that his parents spent all their life savings just to send him to that school, he still dropped out of college. It is critical to know why this was such a huge deal: Jobs’s biological mother approved of his adoption only after his parents gave her a promise that they will send him to college. And so for a child to drop out of college knowing full-well of the reason why he was there in the first place meant also dumping the lifetime efforts of his parents.
The act of dropping out on major subjects however gave Jobs the time to study calligraphy. He was fascinated by the art. According to him, it has something that science could not explain. At that time, however, he felt that the field does not have any practical application in his life. He was into electronics and designing computers. Even an average person would have a hard time linking calligraphy to computers at that time.
The value of calligraphy in Job’s life would turn out only after a decade when they were designing Macintosh computers. He incorporated calligraphy into the type fonts so that the users can use varying writing styles. And as Jobs claims, this was eventually copied by his competitors. Computers today are using various font styles. And as far as Jobs was concerned, it all started by spending time on that seemingly impractical course of study.
We cannot connect the dots looking forward, Jobs said. We can only do so looking back. We may not understand the reason why things are happening in our lives today. But we must have the faith that everything happens for a purpose. And part of that faith is the belief that if we only decide to do the best that we can every day, it will eventually lead us to a life of happiness and success.
We must be willing to accept failure and rejections as they give us lessons that can prove vital in our journey to the kind of lives we truly want. Believing that the dots will connect in the future gives us the courage to follow our hearts. It makes us do the things we love to do even when there are times we encounter challenges and obstacles.
- Love and loss
Jobs founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in his parents’ garage. But when Apple grew into a company, Jobs found himself kicked out from a company that he co-founded. It all started when Jobs hired former Pepsi Cola Vice President John Sculley. Later on, Jobs and Sculley would have a falling out and Apple’s board of directors sided with Sculley effectively putting Jobs out of the picture.
Steve Jobs spent all his life building the company Apple to what it was. The event devastated him. He felt that in the process of being out of Apple, he also let a generation of young entrepreneurs down. One thing though, Jobs never lost his love for the things he was doing. And so with the love for his craft that he had in his heart, he continued to do what he loved to do. He was grateful to know that even at an early stage, he already knew what he wanted to do in his life. And that is exactly what he continued to do.
Being out of Apple gave Jobs the opportunity to start over again. From the comfort of his success, he would experience how it is to start new ventures again uncertain of whether they would succeed. He again appreciated the beauty of possibly encountering rejections and setbacks. Jobs started building companies like NeXT and Pixar. A few years later, NeXT would eventually be bought by Apple which would lead Jobs back to the company he started. He eventually became its Chief Executive Officer. Pixar on the other hand would produce one of the most successful computer-generated animation movies in history – Toy Story.
Jobs’s being fired from Apple led him to one of the most creative periods in his life. It was also during those times when he would be able to meet his wife and build their own family. It reset him back to being a beginner but, as things turned out, the devastating event brought out the best in him and would give him more than what he expected. The years that he was out of Apple would eventually become the best years of his life.
In his speech, Jobs urged the listeners to find what it is that they truly love to do. He further said that you will only be able to do great work if you love what you are doing. Therefore, we must be able to discover deep in our hearts our core passion and be able to do things with great love.
At the time he delivered his commencement address, doctors have already diagnosed Jobs as having cancer of the pancreas. They said that he only has a short time to live.
In speaking about death, Jobs said that remembering that we will all die makes us avoid the trap of thinking that we have something to lose. He said that death gives us a reason to follow our hearts. What I find remarkable in what he said was that all our fears in life – rejections and failures – disappear in the face of death.
According to Jobs, death is life’s agent of change: the new replaces the old. And that is true with all living organisms. Death is a destination that everybody shares. Hence, with the limited time we have on earth, we should not waste it living somebody else’s life. He further pointed out that we should live our lives according to how we want to live them, not based on the dictates of other people. We should listen to our inner voice and not allow it to be drowned by the noise outside.
Pursue your passions anyway
Whatever stage in life you are right now, gather the courage to pursue your passions in life. Life may not at all give us an easy journey but let us reach for our dreams anyway. Our present situation today may not be the best place we could ever be but we must not waver in our determination to improve ourselves.
Two things are certain with life: change and death. I suggest that we choose to change. We cannot achieve our dreams overnight but we can start doing the small things that would lead us to our dreams and aspirations in life. Our successes will eventually compound themselves as we move forward.
Do not let the problems and worries in life diminish your capacity to dream. Discover your passions and offer them to the world. Make the most in life by being the best person you can ever be.
Be blessed and be a blessing!