Friday, October 14, 2011

Barcelona: Day 52 : Steve Jobs .

So I was a bit late on hearing about this somehow, but Steve Jobs passed away. We were in Germany when he died, and it was even in the German newspaper there. Now, whether you are a Mac person or a PC person, I think we can all agree that Steve Jobs has a legendary story, and become a legend through Apple and what that company has done to the technological world. It's grown so fast, and crossed technological boundaries that I wouldn't have even been able to fathom years ago.

When I got my email of Youtube subscription videos, there was one by Philip DeFranco about Steve Jobs' passing. He recommended that we go ahead and watch the commencement address that Steve made for Stanford University in 2005. I'm going to go ahead and post that here, because it's truly amazing.
I never really knew much about Steve Jobs other than he was the CEO of Apple. But there are a lot of things that I didn't even know was a part of his life. He didn't graduate from college. He was adopted, given up at birth. This was not a story of someone being born into success. Neither adoptive parent had even gone to college.

There are a lot of things inspiring about this story. There are a lot of lessons to be learned. It's inspiring to see how something so small can grow before your eyes, and you get to just watch it take off. At the same time, it's easy to see how it can all be snatched away from you in a moment's time. Life throws curveballs; it happens.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me was that no matter what Steve was doing, it was something that he loved. And no matter what, he stuck with it. I used to talk about jobs with my Dad when I was a kid. He would talk about stresses of work and this or that. He used to say that the goal is to find a career where you would wake up every morning and say, 'I can't believe that they pay me to do this.' It really seems like Steve found that -- he found the one thing that he loved to do endlessly. And then he did it! The dream was never given up; he never settled for anything else; he never did something else just to pass time.

The other day Ryan and I were out looking for a bike shop outside of Barcelona, in the Llobregat area. By chance we were sitting at the bus stop and another guy walked up, and after a good bit of time, asked up in perfect English where we were from. Turns out he was a chef, originally from Mississippi. He had started college at Ole Miss, and dropped out, deciding to go to culinary school instead. He had sold everything he owned and up and moved to Italy, where he found a job. When his Italian didn't pick up as quick as he thought, he had to find another job. Despite an offer from a place in the UK, he was headed to Denver, for a job offer. The UK job would have required that he return home, obtain a Visa, and then fly all the way back to Europe. In the end, the financial cost was too much. The guy seemed really laid back, and had some good stories. He didn't even seem that much older than us. Come to think of it, we never even got his name.

He was in Barcelona briefly, with only a 6 or 7 hour layover. He had used saved-up miles to get back across the ocean, but got stuck with a 4-leg trip by the airlines. We talked with him about what we were doing in school, what we were interested in, what he had been up to, where we had been thus far. And it was all really nice to just talk about. In the end, we pointed him in the direction of some cool sites, and made sure he knew how to get back to his hotel. I'm actually thinking of grad school in Colorado... How cool would it be to cross paths with this guy again?

The most amazing thing to me was that he could fit his entire life in a car. Everything. And every time you move, you start all over. Furniture, accessories, etc. At what point does it become useless to even unpack? It's an interesting way to live. It's certainly not for everybody, but I think I could do it.

But anyways, back to Steve Jobs. The risk was there -- to go out on a limb, and just give it everything, even if people didn't think it was ever going to happen. In my opinion the best quote from this speech is this:

"...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..."

Amen. I wrote down this question, and I often do now think of it when I wake up in the morning. It seems like when you're in school, you don't do the fulfilling things on a daily basis. Everything you do is working towards something, in preparation for something, etc. I don't know what I would do if today were my last day. But I definitely am going to more carefully consider my time here in the future. Life is short. In the words of Steve Jobs,

"Stay hungry. Stay Foolish."

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