You’ll know from my last post that I’m reading Steve Jobs’ biography and am fascinated by the man and his methods. Although often abrupt, he was extraordinarily insightful and I came across reference to a speech to Stanford University in 2005, after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest reflections on life ever made, the part that struck me as most profund and universal I’ve repeated below.
‘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’
Is this what it takes? To stare death in the face before we take the first steps to pursuing our dreams?
Unless I’m mistaken, most of us are stuck in a place that doesn’t fulfil us emotionally or spiritually, but we don’t take the first step to free ourselves. We prevaricate and tell ourselves that we’re waiting for the right moment. There is no right moment. The moment is now.
Whether it’s to lose weight and get fitter, start a new business, pursue some creative venture, learn a new language, stop smoking, cut down on drinking, if you’re like me you put these things off for a variety of reasons. You may blame others or circumstances beyond your control on your inability to make the changes in your life. The reality is that is only you and your procrastination that is stopping you achieving what it is you want to achieve.
“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” ~Gandhi
For the full speech