Farewell Steve JobsPosted: October 6, 2011
Today’s special entry recognizes Steve Jobs, founder of the most influential brand of our time. Words that come to mind when thinking of the brand: streamlined, intuitive, intelligent, clever, graphic, communicative, technologic, forward-thinking, brave. Words that describe only the best of today’s modern designs, and seldom all at the same time.
I’ve seen more than one internet post today sharing Steve Jobs’ Stanford University commencement address, and if you haven’t seen it yet you should definitely watch it here.
It’s certainly inspirational and not the first time I’ve heard it, but for better or for worse, we tend to dwell on the words of great people most profoundly when we realize they are no longer around to impart them.
Speaking after his own narrow escape from death, Jobs says to the Stanford graduating class, “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 other’s 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.”
Perhaps news of Job’s death, and therefore the reminder of his words and life’s work, could not have come at a more poignant time for me as I carryout the adult version of a “back packing across Europe expedition”. It’s not to say that I am staying at 5 star hotels, as in fact I am renting out local apartments. And far from nightly fine dining, I’m shopping for groceries instead. I am on a journey. If you’ve never traveled to a foreign country by yourself, you might want to think about doing it. You might find you discover things about yourself when you have only yourself to rely on.
The last time that I traveled alone on a major trip, which was also the first time, it was 2008 and it was Ecuador. I was a little bit nervous about buying the ticket because then it more or less meant I couldn’t back out. I can say without hesitation that making that trip was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it came at a time when I needed a reminder of the importance of uncertainty and the empowerment of independent adventure.
Says Jobs in his commencement speech, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma – whatever – because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”
So now I’m in Europe and I say Europe because pinning down one country would be far too specific. I’ll be in 6 countries in the next 2 weeks meeting designers in every city, talking about design, discussing possibilities. Design is the only thing in my life that I’m certain about. It’s the only thing I can say is beyond a doubt correct. For me. Starting designgush has been the beginning of what I hope to be a new chapter in my life, one filled with passion, hard work, constant learning, and perhaps teaching as well.
“You’ve got to find what you love, and that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” In case that wasn’t clear, those are also the words of Jobs.
Today, literally millions of people mourn the loss of a creator, a designer, a uniter, an innovator, a fearless entrepreneur. Who among us can say that their life has not been touched by this man in one way or another. We needn’t all aspire to be as great as all of these things but let’s not forget Jobs’ words and remember to never stop searching, learning and becoming more of the person we know we are capable of becoming.