This post was originally written in early 2008 and was updated after he had his liver transplant in 2009. In light of Mr. Jobs passing, this YouTube video of his commencement address has gone viral – (10Million hits later). We originally shared this video when it was in the low 6 figures. I felt it was important to bring this back to the TOP of the POST pile.
If you haven’t seen this video, it’s extremely worthwhile and the words below are designed to challenge your personal reflection.
Recall Aristotle’s famous quote: “Wisdom is an equal measure of Experience plus Reflection.
E + R = W
Stanford Commencement Address 2005.
Mr. Steven Jobs; Monster-Entrepreneur, Apple & Pixar CEO, Super-Hero Extraordinaire
“Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.” ~Kierkegaard
Every time I see this speech I’m awed by the number of gems Steve shares. I find it interesting to overlay these anecdotes against the backdrop of my personal experiences. His tales of opportunity, following his heart, continuous learning, failure, humility, and of course, mortality are both profound and inspiring.
However, I ask you, “How unique are they?” Just how rare are these “coincidences?”
The question I encourage you to ask is, “where are the parallels?” Surely you recognize you don’t have to be CEO of a couple fortune 500 companies to notice that, ultimately, the song remains the same; that these synchronistic events happen daily for everyone. The real question is not, “how rare is this?” But rather, “How aware am I to the events and all the possibilities?”
Think about it. One day Jobs is walking eight miles to eat at a Hare Krishna Temple – the next, he’s revolutionizing the computing industry. A slight exaggeration perhaps. However, the point is not to be lost, those were two very real “stations” in his life separated only by awareness, purity of intent and of course time.
The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra, M.D. [excerpt]
We cannot even imagine the complex forces behind every event that occurs in our lives. There’s a conspiracy of coincidences that weaves the web of karma or destiny and creates an individual’s personal life mine, or yours. The only reason we don’t experience synchronicity in our daily lives is that we do not live from the level where it is happening. Usually we see only cause-and-effect relationships. This causes that, which causes this, which causes that — linear trajectories. Yet beneath the surface, something else is happening. Invisible to us is a whole web of connections. As it becomes apparent, we see how our intentions are woven into this web, which is much more context-bound, much more relational, much more holistic, much more nurturing than our surface experience.
Very often we fall into ruts in our lives; we maintain the same routines and act in the same manner predictably day after day after day. We set our minds on a certain course of action, and simply proceed. How can miracles happen if we march mindlessly, unthinking and unaware, through our lives? Coincidences are like road flares, calling our attention to something important in our lives, glimpses of what goes on beyond everyday distractions. We can choose to ignore those flares and hurry on, or we can pay attention to them and live out the miracle that is waiting for us.
(pages 125-126, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, by Deepak Chopra.
How can you relate to each of the lessons shared within Job’s speech? Hopefully, these questions challenge you to draw your own conclusions, to connect your own dots and ultimately TRUST what IS.
I found this exercise invaluable in helping me to keep the faith and trust – even during some extremely difficult times with my businesses. His themes; “follow your heart”, “stay hungry-stay foolish” “love what you do” and “trust” remain paramount and I’m hopeful they will continue as guideposts for as long as I live.
So, here for your entertainment, are a handful of questions designed to FREE your mind and to hopefully foster your trust… of what IS. To acknowledge that whether you know it or not, you’ve already connected a few dots
Question #1. How has chance played a role in your very existence?
When you ponder this question you literally become free. I’m sure you recognize you had no responsibility in the matter of your existence. But, how often have you considered it? It was neither your effort nor your ego which placed you “here”.
Question #2: Identify your most favored current relationship. Then ask, “How is it that I know this person?” “What events precipitated this relationship?”
How did that relationship manifest? How did you meet this person? What circumstances and coincidences played a role in the creation of that relationship? How much effort or control did you have in directly creating that relationship?
Question #3: How are you currently following your heart?
Recall, Jobs dropped out of school but not for the sake of dropping out. It was his intent to protect his parents investment and savings and so he could “drop in” on the classes that interested him the most, like calligraphy.
Question #4: How has a recent set back or failure affected your present mindset?
What was Steve’s first impulse when was fired from the very company he created? Then, what was it that kept him around and set him on a course of action and why?
Question #5: Are you able to connect the dots now?
Can you see that be looking back you’ve been the beneficiary of some fantastic, seemingly unrelated events that have brought you to your current career path or introduced you to something you are very passionate about?
Question #6: What question did Steve ask himself every morning?
What question do you ask yourself every morning? What do you choose to focus on?
Question #7: What is life’s greatest invention – it’s greatest change agent?
How much time do you think you have? How much time do you really think you need in order to make your dreams come true? Do you NOT think that SynchroDestiny (as Deepak calls it) must play a part in that vision? Particularly when you consider the meeting of two strangers is statistically incalculable
P.S: When I envisioned writing about Jobs this wasn’t the piece i had in mind. Far from it. I thought it’d be a post about the most brilliant execution of business strategy I’ve ever witnessed. Recall, his early days after being reinstated at the helm of Apple; his settlement with Microsoft to shore-up some badly needed cash then, secretly developing for the Intel platform and making the Apple OS open source. It was like watching Kasparov’s end-game. Simply brilliant. And, I haven’t even mentioned the iPod, iTunes or iPhone.
Mr. Jobs, Sir… thoughts and prayers to you and your family. We’re pulling for you and your speedy recovery.
btw: Thanks for making the world a far more creative and enjoyable place to live.
Cheers and God Bless.