Losing A Mentor I Never Met: Rest In Peace Steven Paul Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs | Feb. 24, 1955 - Oct. 5, 2011

“STAY HUNGRY. STAY FOOLISH”

For those of you who didn’t know, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday at the age of 56 years old. He died peacefully, and with family. He had been suffering from Pancreatic Cancer for a long time, and he’d been showing massive weight loss as well. He’s the innovator behind so many technological advances we have and take for granted today. It’s not just Apple. It’s nearly everything “computer” related that we use on a day-to-day basis. He’s effected the lives of BILLIONS of people, and will continue to have an influence on lives for years and years to come. The innovations that have come from this man have changed everything. It would be nothing like it is now, without him.

Most of you know that I’m into technology. I own Apple products, but I regularly keep up to date with many other areas as well, such as web development tools like WordPress, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and so on. One of the primary areas that I’ve managed to attain a great amount of knowledge about in the last few years is Apple products. The simple reason behind this, as far as people can see, is because I like them, and own a couple different types. The deeper reason, is because I like to study them. I like to study them, because of Apple’s culture, and Apple’s mentality. Most specifically… I study them from Steve’s perspective. To attempt to understand his motives and his reasons for doing what he does, and making the decisions he made when designing and creating a legendary, world-changing product. I don’t care how he created something… I care why.

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.

– SJ

Steve Jobs was one of the primary people I followed for inspiration. One of the few people I looked to, and studied for answers when it came time to decide “What should I do?” This man wasn’t just a CEO of a big company. He shaped the lives of nearly every technological advancement since the 1980s. Most importantly, He followed his heart, his gut, his intuition, and of course, he never gave up. Ever. No he wasn’t perfect, and yes he was a hard-ass that was, in many ways, very hard on his employees and could even be seen as “ruthless” at times. He demanded and expected perfection, and he was obsessed with how products looked. You may have noticed that Mac computers, and the iPhone as well, are all very attractive looking devices on the outside as well. Built and designed with precision in every millimeter… that was his entire life. He strived for excellence in what he believed in, and he never settled.

He pushed people to be better, and to do what they love, no matter what people said to them, and no matter what people were doing aside from them. He was a family man, and he had his priorities together. He knew what he wanted, and he had the drive, courage, intellect, creativity, and stamina to do it.

By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

President Barack Obama

Many of the decisions I’ve made in the last 3-4 years of my life, have been after looking at what Steve did when life threw stuff at him. Figure out how he handled it, and saying “will that work for me as well?” There are many times when this didn’t look to be right, like when considering dropping out of college (which has been seriously considered over a dozen times already). Something may not work with that, but I’ll never know. I’m too close to graduation to drop now.

The point is… the world lost a great man today, and I actually do feel sadness over the fact that he will no longer walk out on that stage and impress the hell out of the world with a new product. A product that he’s certain will be amazing for all, and he’ll be excited over it, as if he’s just now seeing it for the first time. If I can achieve even a bit of that much excitement when I work on video it’ll be awesome. Imagine doing something all day, all week, hell… imagine working on a product for over a year, and yet STILL being excited like a child at Christmas when you see it, touch it, and introduce it to the world. Wow.

 Sometimes life is gonna hit you in the head with a brick… don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going, was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love, and that is as true for your 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 the love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.

– SJ

Yesterday, we lost a symbol of what can be. We lost an icon. Yesterday, we lost a mentor. A man who knew nothing of limits. A man that shook the world with every idea. Yesterday, the world lost one of the greatest innovators of our lifetimes. A man who has shaped the very core of how we communicate with each other, and how we learn from each other. A man who reminded me that dreaming isn’t foolish, and an idea can become a reality for us all if we want it bad enough. You may or may not have seen that quote on my Facebook profile. It’s something I’ve had up there for a long time. I wrote it after hearing the speech in the video below, which I watched for the first time my Sophomore year in college, in late 2007.

The speech, which takes place at the Graduation ceremony of Stanford University in 2005, is a fantastic story of his life, and a fantastic message that stuck with me. It sticks with me still. I watched it again today, to remind myself.

Rest in Peace Steve. I, for one, am extremely grateful for what you have done for my life, and what you have done for this world. You may not have realized it to its fullest extent, but we’re going to remember you forever. Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Elvis, MLK… these are all people you stand with sir, and you deserve it.

My full write-up of this event, when it occurred, can be FOUND HERE

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. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. 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.

-Steven Paul Jobs

Charlie Pryor

Charlie is a media producer, writer, and a traveler. He grew up in Michigan, all of his life and attended Grand Valley State University for a B.S. in Film and Video Production. He's married to a wonderful woman named Hang, and simply hopes to one day turn himself into a man that many will remember long after he's gone.

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