Friday, August 24, 2012

The virtue of change


Since I read Steve Jobs' biography several months ago, I have been deeply affected by many things he said, particularly as he was contemplating the end of his life.  Jobs was a profoundly spiritual person notwithstanding his many character flaws -- not spiritual in a religious sense, but as someone who sought and lived by inner path to discover the essence of his being and his relationship with the universe.  

In a recent post, I shared one of my favorite quotes from Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.  In that post, I considered Thoreau's observation that the "mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."  There are few people who exemplify this less than Steve Jobs.  The following is another thought-provoking insight from that speech.
"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."
I think we all realize when change is necessary.  Few of us, however, have the courage to do it.  Jobs and Thoreau are examples of people who both understood the need for change and had the will, the fearlessness, and, perhaps, the audacity to bring it to fruition.

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