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Seeking purpose in a stranger’s death


I am finding myself profoundly affected by Steve Jobs’ passing. I never particularly cared for Apple products as they stood for many of the technological principles which I oppose. But as a man who created an image, a following, maybe even a cult; Steve Jobs was a far cry from a failure. I consider myself strongly motivated to be successful and leave a lasting impact on the world. However, I see myself constantly being distracted from these goals with less important tasks. I don’t claim to understand his character, but the pattern I find in successful people like Steve are those who mastered the art of living minimalistic lives. Despite the luxury and vanity I despised so much in Apple’s products, their design and use made your life easier. Each and every product which launched under Steve’s supervision was a testament to his ideology and principle. Not many others can make that claim.

Of course, living minimally doesn’t benefit anyone but yourself. But minimalism will help you discover the forest from the trees.

Though his successes are immense, I still don’t quite understand why his death has impacted so many people in such an intensely emotional way. Of course, his technology brought people closer together. He showed people how technology can augment our daily grind instead of a hurdle. He spoke passionately about his products that would make snake oil salesmen proud. They did what he said they would, but more importantly, you wanted to see the “magic” he saw in them.

I’ve been a little introspective since I learned of his passing and tried to find the best part of what made Steve Jobs a truly great man. I’ve come to this conclusion… it was his intense passion. Few people share it. For those that do, you find yourself emotionally invested in their journey. So how do you find that same fiery passion?

(Update) Here’s one potential way…

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.

– Steve Jobs