“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.”
Obviously, the answer has changed. On August 24, 2011 Jobs woke up to a very different tune. He not only knows how to think different, but showed the courage to act different as well. He walked away from the hands-on role of CEO to settle in as Chairman of the Board at arguably the most valuable company in the world. Why?
The obvious answer is that these may well be the last years and days of Jobs’ life. We, as millions of others, certainly hope with all our hearts that it’s not. But if so, Jobs no doubt knew that something needed to change. Perhaps it really is time for Jobs to go home, as he put it, to a “wonderful family” and an “amazing woman” and re-reflect on a few of the provocative questions (slightly altered) that he posed to the world in his 2005 commencement address:
• Have you found “what you love” to do in life?
• Are you wasting your life “living someone else’s?”
• Do you “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition?”
• Are you nurturing a “great relationship,” one that “just gets better and better as the years roll on?”
• Do you tell “your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months” or days?
• Do you make “sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family” when “the single best invention of Life” takes its toll?
• Do you say “your goodbyes” before it’s too late to say them?
For almost four decades Steve Jobs has certainly tried his best to “put a ding in the universe.” There is little doubt that he’s done just that on planet earth through Apple Inc. Now we hope that the world will give Jobs enough time and space to let him put a different ding in the most important part of his universe, relationships at home. Indeed, if he’s decided that it’s time to go home, not in heaven, but on earth, then we hope that he stays “hungry” and “foolish” with those he loves most. If Jobs does, let’s “trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future” while he continues to live each day as if it were his last.
If you were living today as if it were your last, would you be doing what you’re doing right now? If not, then what are you going to do about it?