“Get on with it.”
I never knew Steve Jobs personally but, like many of you, I became intimate with him through the genius of his innovative company, Apple, and its products (not to mention his other ventures). So, I make no claims into understanding the heart and mind of a man who, ironically, seemed to understand our hearts and minds enough to show us something bigger than ourselves.
Having said that, Steve Jobs belongs, in memory, to each and every one of us. Though his passing is a loss to the world, I believe this much to be true:
If Steve Jobs was truly as brilliant as we all believed him to be throughout his life then, wherever he is right now, his brilliance is shining even brighter.
For all of the profound insights into human potential Steve Jobs had in life (that he learned and earned through his own struggles and triumphs), if there is such a thing as an afterlife, he probably has even more clarity into our condition and potential than he did when he was alive.
Watching us from wherever he is right now, seeing the oceans of condolences and tributes being expressed in his honor, Steve Jobs would undoubtedly be moved by the love and appreciation the world is showering on him. It doesn’t take knowing the man on a personal level as a friend or family member to see that, in humble service to humanity, he was very appreciative (even through minor annoyances) of his multitude of supporters and fans, friends and family.
But, if given the chance to say one more thing to us, what would Steve Jobs say to the world in response to this collective mourning and celebration of his life? As humble and appreciative as he was, I don’t believe he would say “thank you”. I believe he would say this to the world:
“Get on with life. You’re wasting precious time.”
It sounds harsh. After all, as human beings we must mourn to move on after a loved-one dies. Several days of appreciation for another human being is not much to give up. I personally understand the need for (and have partaken in) the tremendous outpouring of last respects from people around the world to Mr. Jobs and his family. We need to say goodbye — to touch his spirit one last time before it moves on to the next world, the next life, before returning home. And we use collective mourning to connect with each other and remember how much we truly affect one another. But I can’t help but think that, in his infinite wisdom and his now enlightened perspective of having lived and died, Steve Jobs would say that every second spent not fulfilling a dream or following a passion is a wasted one (now more than ever).
He’s probably watching the world in a multidimensional way that allows him to see our many lives intersecting, the possibilities and their effects — what we could be if we each tried just a little harder — opened our minds just a bit more — defied our own fears. He is probably seeing so many people in the world who could be entrepreneurial and creative innovators among us (some of them sitting in post offices working for the government, some locked up in jail, some struggling to raise children on a fixed income and some who are entrepreneurs but who will never be heard because they don’t fit how we think an entrepreneur should look and sound).
Our potential and the urgency that we try to tap into that potential every moment of the day, a sentiment that seemed to drive Steve Jobs when he was alive, resonates further and louder now that he is gone. If we each took even one-tenth of the energy and emotion that we’ve put into expressing remorse for the loss of Steve Jobs and his legacy and put that towards our own dreams or into helping someone else achieve their dreams, the world would be so profoundly and positively changed, it would make Mr. Jobs’ contribution to the world seem like a slight spark in the night sky. He would want that. Don’t you think?
Before slipping away forever, Steve Jobs might say to the world:
Stop deifying me. Look around you. There are people you encounter daily who could change the world as much as I did in their own way. Know them, listen to them, help them.
Our biggest tribute to his legacy would be to honor his lifelong message of dreaming and reaching beyond who and what we are. Instead of tweeting and posting “RIP Steve Jobs” across social media (which is heart-felt and well-intended I’m sure), maybe we should tweet and post:
“My memorial to Steve Jobs is to live my dream. My passion is _________. “
And if you don’t yet recognize what your own dream is:
“My memorial to Steve Jobs is to help someone else fulfill their dream. What is your passion? How can I help you?”