It is the day after Steve Jobs – inventor, icon, visionary – has died. It is also only a matter of days before the iPhone 4S is slated to be released. This is significant for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that it’s the first time in the company’s history – under Jobs – that he was not at the helm for this latest creation. A businessman, stockholder, passionate inventor and great micromanager, to be sure, his continued involvement is unquestionable. But I believe that his ceding the throne to former COO Tim Cook had an impact on his condition.
To be fair, it was his illness that led to this decision, so one could certainly argue that it is more of an effect than a cause, and I would agree. However, often times – especially later in life – it is our passions and responsibilities that keep us going. Just as is the case when one half of an elderly couple passes away, and there is an increased likelihood of the other partner passing on sooner than before, I think limiting his professional role had a similar effect, especially for a man like Jobs.
Science talks about the idea of energy being a closed system – it can neither be created nor destroyed; it can just change forms. In the movie the Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, says, “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’,” and the iconic Yoda said, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Life is in constant motion. At all times, we are either moving forward or backward, speeding up or slowing down – there is no in between. And since time is always marching on, when we are standing still, we are – in essence – moving backward.
It is important to realize that for a while we will be here, and then one day we’ll be gone. I believe it is our obligation to ourselves and the world to do the best we can to take advantage of this gift of time.
From what I can tell, Steve Jobs certainly did. And for anyone who has yet to see his Commencement Speech at Stanford in 2005, stop reading this right now and just go!
In fact, here. I’ll make it easy for you. It may just be the best fourteen and a half minutes you’ve spent in quite a long time. Enjoy it, and thank you Steve Jobs for your brilliance, your insight and the mark you have left on this world.