I was sitting around the other day thinking about death.
Now, before you start imagining that I’ve lost whatever part of my mind is left, and that I may be heading for a real dark place in this post, let me explain.
I found myself with an opportunity to lose myself in some quality quiet time earlier this week, and so I decided to dive in. Somehow, I was drawn to start thinking about life. The whole cycle; the experiences we all have, the things we all learn (or don’t), the places we go, and eventually, I started thinking about our mysterious and inevitable destination…death. The end.
At first it was a little scary. I mean, seriously, it’s not a real positive topic, and if you think about it too long, it can actually get pretty creepy.
I was really considering how death relates to overall purpose. I started wondering what the whole meaning thing really, well, means. I believe that we’re here on this planet to become the greatest version of ourselves and to be the embodiment of our Creator, using our gifts and talents to make the most impact we can on the rest of the good mortals that are here with us. In a sense, to become the living version of the spirit of God. To love, forgive, live by faith, and love some more. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the Cliff Notes version. Of course, I could be wrong…but that’s not really what I meant to write about.
Eventually, as I continued to ponder, I got to the whole death thing. How final it is, and how it really has the last word in all of our lives. It can come suddenly and without warning in some cases. None of us is promised even the next moment. It can be painful and drag on for years, or it can happen naturally, but in almost every case it seems to happen too soon, or by some cosmic twist of injustice. Some folks bravely proclaim, “when it’s your time, it’s your time“…but they’re still as terrified as anyone else when it comes knocking on their door.
It’s the end. There’s really no way around it.
So, that really got me thinking. What is the purpose? And how am I doing as far as making an impact? How passionate am I really living? Am I doing all that I can and all that I would be doing if I knew the end were near? Should I be looking at this whole thing with a different perspective…and (this one was rhetorical) can I be bringing more to each and every day?
It was quite a introspective session…
And then today I heard that Steve Jobs died.
In case you’re wondering how that ties into my experience from a few days ago, let me just say that Steve Jobs was one of my inspirations in this life. When I heard that he passed today, I immediately started to think about all of the wonderful things he has said and done over the years, and of course I started thinking of all of the incredible innovation he brought to this life. He was a free spirit, for sure, and a tremendous leader. He was Apple and Pixar, for crying out loud!
Steve Jobs said something about five years ago, which you have no doubt heard by now if you have Twitter or Facebook and any friends who were fans of his. It was at a speech he gave to the graduating class of Stanford University. I’m sure he said it before that speech, and I’m sure he said it after, it’s just maybe the most famous account of it, and that’s why I am referencing it. If you haven’t seen that speech, I’ll leave a link at the end of the post, so you can check it out. Here’s what Jobs said: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart”.
That one really started to hit home today, and in retrospect, I know exactly why I had been thinking about dying and the purpose in my life earlier this week. You see, I don’t really believe in coincidence. I think it was so the news today, while very sad, would also have the greatest inspirational impact on my life. And in that sense, Steve Jobs most inspirational day in my life may have been his last. He undoubtedly impacted and inspired millions of people throughout all phases of his journey here on earth.
So, how about that no reason to not follow your heart statement? Does that speak to you as loudly as it does to me?
In that Stanford speech, Jobs also said, “I’ve 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”.
How about that one? Does that spark the fire in your belly?
Since I’m jumping into another 30 day blog challenge (actually, I’m four days behind), I’ve decided that what I’d like to do is post once a day about something we can all ask ourselves, or challenge ourselves with, a thing we can think about, or put into action right away.
My desire is that I can inspire each of you in some way to follow your heart and truly live your life as if the day might be your last, and so that all of your days will be most meaningful and most impactful on you and all of those around you.
What do you think?
I think we’re all naked anyway. So let’s so this!