Friday, October 7, 2011

The Heaviness of Being Successful

In the labyrinth of information technology, I tend to walk a circular path.  I walk around the familiar hang-outs, the ones we all love.  Sometimes a scrap of information from the living, breathing outside world finds me by complete accident.

Like the fact that Steve Jobs has just died of pancreatic cancer.  I was listening to the radio on the way to the post office when I heard his voice for the first time.  He was hours dead, yet living on in the recorded version of his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford.  The words he spoke and the soft tone of voice had me sitting up straight, listening like a hunting dog in the field.  After the audio clip had ended, an annoying commercial attempted to distract me but I was focused on committing to memory the words from that speech. The ad kept chattering on and I asked myself why I was still listening to noise and clicked the dial off.   As I walked into the post office with several packages, the words were already starting to drift away.  But I remembered the name: Steve Jobs.  I made a mental note to look this guy up.

It's okay to laugh at me I admit that I did not know who Steve Jobs was.  I fail completely at keeping track of who's who.  Of course I've heard the name before, but did not connect the name and the brand for which he is known.  If his name was Steve Macintosh then it would have been easier.

I've never owned a Mac.  I don't have and iPhone. I'm largely ignorant of all the fantastic things these inventions are capable of.  Steve Jobs is obviously a stellar individual to bring so many changes to our world.  That day in the car, it felt like he was speaking directly to me when he said,

 "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. Everything else is secondary."

And then at home, when I looked up the text version, I uncovered these beautiful, thought provoking gems:

"I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."

"And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

This thought suddenly helps me to forgive my past...all the jobs I've tried and left seem more like a brave, experimental  period in my life.  The truth is, I'm still experimenting. It's difficult and challenging because I've started from scratch and have to take baby steps in everything.  Yet being a beginner is truly freeing.  I'm celebrating this creative period in my life.  The freedom to work with my hands and my heart.  It probably won't change the world but the truth is I act on my heart and intuition every day.      

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