Thank you, Steve Jobs. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be sitting on my laptop typing this column. You helped inspire me to have the courage to write, voice my opinion and pay little attention to outside noise.
I remember reading the commencement speech Jobs delivered at Stanford University in 2005. It was not long after that he was diagnosed with cancer. His death resurrected his speech and the words meant to inspire. He told the audience three stories. The first about connecting the dots. The second about love and loss. The third about death.
One sentiment of the speech struck a chord and stayed with me: “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
As mothers, we are guilty of spending too much time worrying about what other people are thinking about us. What if I don’t pack the healthy snack and instead gave my child a cookie in the lunch box? Do my children measure up academically to the boy or girl seated at the desk next to them? Why didn’t my son make a basket… did I not give him enough private lessons to make him the star? The self battering and comparisons can go on and on. It’s time to learn acceptance.
Mr. Jobs encouraged us in his speech to abandon what other people say and do it your way.
He was adopted by parents without college degrees and without an endless flow of cash. They were parents who gave their child the best they had and that included space in the garage. That garage was the environment to create a business that in ten years was worth over $2 billion and employed 4,000 people.
Mr. Jobs’ parents let him create. They let him dream. He became a pioneer when we thought the Gold Rush was over. He changed my life and yours. Our children don’t know a world without his inventions. And like all great inventors, he never stopped imagining.
The next time my daughter has plastic animals in my plants, on my furniture and hidden around the house, I will resist the urge to clean it up and instead appreciate the dreaming and imagination that went into her creation.
Instead of erasing the doodling on your child’s homework ditto, appreciate the ingenuity and their vision and turn in the assignment complete with doodles.
Mr. Jobs' life ended in his prime. Like so many family and friends in our lives taken before we were ready for them to leave. My philosophy has always been to live my life to the fullest because I can. I am alive. It is my way of honoring those people who can’t.
Here is a link to the full text of Steve Jobs speech. Before you listen to your iPod and talk on your iPhone today, take a minute to read his words.
iPromise you will discover your own I.