Thank You, Steve Jobs

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In his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, Steve Jobs talked about life…and about death. It was a profound address in its entirety, but one little piece has lingered with me for years:

“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 others’ 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.”

At the time I first read it, I was working at a job I mostly liked, for a company I mostly didn’t like, and weighed 100 pounds more than I do now. I was happy in many respects, but I knew that I wasn’t living the life I was meant to live. There were a few times when I would look around me in horror and actually say to myself, “This can’t be my life.” And then I would feel guilty because I had so many blessings and it seemed wrong to want what I thought at the time was more.

As it turned out, I didn’t necessarily want more; what I wanted was a different life. The problem was that I had no idea how to truly change those aspects of my life I didn’t love. Well, I thought I didn’t. That inner voice Jobs spoke about kept up its soft chatter, telling me I had the answers, prodding me to believe in myself, goading me into following my heart and instincts.

I’m a slow learner, but eventually I began carving out a path. I quit trying to follow other people’s diets and let go of the Hollywood/Madison Avenue of what I should look like and how I should live my life. Along the way, I gained the courage (and a helpful severance package) to extricate myself from the not-lovable company. It’s not a perfect life, by any means, but I feel more like I’m living my life than ever before. I’m not at my destination, but Lord have mercy, I’m on my way.

And in no small part, I have Steve Jobs to thank for planting the seeds that got me thinking in the right direction. When I heard today that he had died, I took a moment to send a heartfelt thank you into the universe and to renew my resolve to follow my heart. It’s leading me in the right direction.

You can see the full commencement speech on YouTube:

May he rest in peace, and may each of us find the courage to live our own lives.

12 thoughts on “Thank You, Steve Jobs

  1. His words are so powerful. I am so sad tonight. I also love these quotes from him:

    “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

    “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

  2. What a wonderful post! His words are profound and may serve as a guiding force for so many.

  3. Love, love, love this post! I watched and listened to the video and am sending the link to my daughters. Thank you.

  4. Cammy, I kept listening to that speech as they played it over & over again on each news cast or channel.. and heard it again this morn on the way home from the gym.. such a powerful speech!

    I was going to share it as well but you have done it justice. I may still but thank you for sharing it & your thoughts about life!

  5. What a powerful message! I had not heard that speech before. Thank you for sharing it as I am in the middle of trying to figure out what path I want to take. It is so hard to ignore all the “other” voices and listen to my own. It is hard to trust my own instincts. As I learn and mature I do become more confident- I feel like I will be able to listen to my own voice and become the best me I can be. You sent a heartfelt thank you to Steve Jobs this morning- I am sending one to you! Reading this post put a fire in my belly. So Cammy- THANK YOU for making a difference in my life!

  6. I too am grateful for the vision of this man who touched each and every one of us. Each of us, I believe, try to pursue that *thing* but it has to come from within…………

    I am grateful for ALL that was this man…and I am grateful for your words today!

  7. He certainly appears to have been not only brilliant in his work, but a well loved leader and family man. His spiritual side was inspirationals and I am glad he shared his insights which have inpired you and so many others.

  8. Thank you for mentioning this truly amazing person and giving him the credit he deserves. I was very saddened to see that he passed away. He was a very motivational man, and I bet he’d be glad to know that he inspired you in such a way that sparked a major change in your life.

  9. That’s really lovely, Cammy.
    I keep seeing parts of this speech everywhere, but this is the best tribute I’ve read.

  10. I’m actually going to use that very paragraph in my next post, because I’m also working on a vision of the life I want.

    Thank you for the inspiration you provide, Cammy!

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