The Lesson Death Imparts
June 4, 2022
It was a proud day for our family as my younger son graduated from high school today. As we sat in the auditorium, watching the graduation ceremony and a witty commencement speech delivered by one of his teachers, I was reminded of Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address to Stanford graduates.
While the core message of the commencement speech is on the idea of “follow your heart,” Steve Jobs uses his battle with pancreatic cancer and his own mortality as a prop to underscore a vital message for the students.
Below is an excerpt from the speech. There is very little one needs to add to what Steve Jobs has to say- It is pretty profound!!.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. 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.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
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.