Life Passes as Quickly as a Flash of Lightning

Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple Inc. Here is an extract from a commencement speech he made back on 2005.

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. [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. YES!

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8 thoughts on “Life Passes as Quickly as a Flash of Lightning”

  1. I have a deep respect for those who nailed down the boards I now walk upon. Although a subject we really have no experience of, until it happens to us, it is always a good thing to talk about it. We do not know what really happens. Oscar Wilde said it was beautiful, the soldiers buried at Lauro, Italy may disagree.
    When I go to visit folk at the Knab, this is where the land holds some of my nearest and dearest I wonder what I will leave behind. Apart from two wonderful children I hope to leave some happy memories. I now have a duty to enhance folks lives. This is why they voted me to represent them. Although, they may not see what I can see, I hope they can see that I think of them at all times.
    I wonder how my shell shall be disposed, as a Pagan I have options, by Air, fire, land or entombed. I have always wondered about burial at sea, though permitted, a pain for those who may have to get it done.

    I think as long as I have contributed to making this place we shuffle along on a better place, we have done what could be asked of us. Why wee upstream when the folk down stream rely on the water.

  2. Very apt.
    I’ve often thought that Mark Antony’s line “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones”, is wrong. It seems to me to be the reverse, and “the good” is what flows on after we are gone. If you are truly closed to the good then death has claimed you. Otherwise, death as renewal is apt. And then there is “anatta”, so what dies, if anything?

    By the way, I hope you heard “The Mighty Wurlitzer” when at the Tower Ballroom!

  3. I feel I have a responsibility to my self – to accept the challenge and be the most I can, not let life pass by. I once was given this advice – ‘be yourself; someone else is already taken’. And I find in the challenge is not to be self judgemental but to still step out even when it is not at all clear in which direction. I know many have pondered just what Joseph Campbell pointed to when he said ‘follow your bliss’. For my own part I find it often about separating out if a desire is creative and wholesome ie life giving or enslaving ie the grass is greener.

    The film ‘Remains of the Day’ tells the story of getting it out of balance. And the beautiful ‘Brief Encounter’ shows just how challenging it can be; did the protagonists make the wisest choices and with what intention?

    Is the real living my own life more about being awake to the options than which of those paths get taken? Is that what Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ is about?

    And your ‘YES!’ RM Mugo; what an inspiration! Thank you.

  4. I too found this speech good. People may not realize how much such speeches impact the students and influence the the course of their lives. Perhaps the ears are connect to open and impressionable youngsters. I was such a youngster when an Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Spencer Chapman came to speak at a prize giving. He spoke particularly to those of us who hadn’t got prizes and encouraged us on. Uh! I just see that he shot himself to death in 1971…

  5. to you Dave. I am with you in that second to last paragraph. I once looked into the Frost poem and saw that he wasn’t necessarily talking about what people generally think he is. And what you say IS. Always glad to be an inspiration…and to have you stop by.

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