Thursday, October 27, 2011

Making the big choices in life

Today, a coworker handed me a hardcopy of the Commencement Address that Steve Jobs delivered to graduating Stanford University students in 2005.  It is perhaps the most inspiring such address that I have heard, and it moved me to share with you, my friends.  Because of copyright constraints, I am not allowed to reproduce the whole speech here, but I am allowed to make an excerpt.  I chose the following because it resonates so closely with the "Life is not a dress rehearsal" philosophy we hold aboard Eolian:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

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.
I encourage you to read the entire address.

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