I told myself I wasn’t going to write a Steve Jobs post, but I’ve succumbed to temptation. Everyone else is doing one too and I probably don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been addressed, but, I guess, out of respect for him if not anything else, here goes —
Though Steve obviosuly wasn’t someone I knew personally, I felt extremely devastated to learn of his death. Death always gives me an icky feeling, which is normal, of course, but it has such an odd finality, especially for people who fight diseases, who come so close to surviving, who can “beat” it over and over again over the years, yet, finally, when death comes, it’s completely over. Forever. Done.
I hadn’t really thought of him in this way prior to this week, but, my current profession exists largely because of Steve’s influence, because of various facets of a world that he created. It’s a lifestyle that I stumbled and evolved in totally accidentally, yet, one that has brought me so many various forms of happiness.
I’m glued to my iPhone and use it for essentially everything. The word “addiction” could easily suffice. My iPod got me through college, and I can’t hardly remember the days I couldn’t carry an abundant music library with me at any time.
But more so than the physical products, I was most intrigued by what he stood for, by the qualities he demonstrated. Motivation. Perseverance. Redemption from perceived failure. Thinking outside the box. While he was human and surely had subsequent human flaws, he conveyed these things in an unprecedented way. In a way that changed our world forever. In a way that illustrates it can be done.
I was incredibly moved by the video of the Stanford commencement speech Jobs delivered in 2005. I love philosophical, thought-provoking topics like the matters he addressed, and found myself becoming teary-eyed while watching it upon his death.
There are numerous takeaways from that address, but the one that affected me most is a lesson I’ve been noticing more and more frequently as my life progresses, is the one about connecting dots:
“Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward … You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future … Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the path, and that will make all the difference.”
I recently made a comment about how the major aspects of my life have resulted from “a series of accidents.” Even currently, it’s fascinating how the dots have connected in ways I’d never have imagined they would. I have a humongous fear of uncertainty and the unknown, and, while I can now acknowledge how the past has influenced my present and that, while it wasn’t what I planned nor expected, many things have unraveled positively, I always get weirded out when I have to make decisions about the future. About major life changes. About the unknown.
I’ve now made the conscious decision to trust the dots, to take the risks, and to be open-minded to more potentially wonderful accidents.