It’s a very sad morning for me and it seems for most of our country. One of our heroes passed away – not unexpectedly – but the headline made it more real. Steve Jobs, one of Americans icons, left the earth with an astounding legacy. It was the first headline I ready this morning at 5:30 when I awoke and set my MacBook 11″ Air on my lap to read the NY Times. I started to cry and I couldn’t figure out my intense emotional reaction except that I was probably part of a collective unconscious of mourners.
I read every article my CNN homepage and looked at every video. I couldn’t get enough of who the man was and what he stood for. He changed American culture and the culture of the world. Exceptional. Brilliant. A genius. There are just words. He was still a man with a core set of values that I find appealing and that are important to me – excellence, exposing yourself to the best, finding your passion, pursuing your passion to the fullest, simplifying life and work, staying lean and elegant. Staying hungry and foolish.
I can’t remember the person who sent me the You Tube video of Jobs giving a commencement speech to Stanford graduates on June 12, 2005. Whoever that was, I send out gratitude. It was a short speech but so effective and poignant and believable. When I was writing my keynote speech, “Retirement Is Not An Option: Act 3,” and dealing with the idea that finding your passion is so important in creating the life we want, the life we deserve, I thought it would be amazing to quote him. He said, “You’ve got to find what you love.”
I then read about his return to Apple after being fired, being away for ten years, and then returning to lead that company with the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad. His sense of healing old wounds, moving forward, and forgiving sets an example for everyone who pursues passions to the fullest.
Oh, yeah, I heard about the tyrant inside, the great taskmaster, the screamer at times, the driven man. Jobs had a vision and followed it as all great men do. Of course, that is to be admired. But more to be admired was his ability to make his transition at the end of his live in private and with dignity. Jobs practiced his own brand of Buddhist philosophy and it caused him to live simply, elegantly, sometimes silently, sometimes not, but always with the idea that karma would bring him enlightenment.
Others will pay tribute to this visionary today and in the weeks to come; his family and friends will mourn his loss. For those of us who watched in amazement his visionary path, who participated in his dream in some small way, who followed his music, rooted for his physical being to heal, we are fortunate and we are grateful.
And I will cherish my two Macs forever.