“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
When Steve Jobs died on October 5 he left behind so much more than just his extensive contribution to the technological world. In my opinion, what’s worth far more than his Apple Company is the determination that it took for him to reach his level of success and the words that he expressed in his 2005 commencement speech at StanfordUniversity. I must admit that I had not actually took the time to watch the speech until after his death but there was so much that I got out of those fifteen minutes. One thing he said that stuck with me was to not let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
Another memorable thing that I took away from his speech was his last four words; Stay hungry, stay foolish. It seemed to be words that he lived by until his dying day and I found these words to be both intriguing and inspiring. When you stay hungry you never really lose sight of what is at stake for your dreams. You stay focused and steady. You stay driven and determined. You never settle if you have not gotten to where it is you want to be. When you allow yourself to stay foolish you give yourself permission to have the courage to do the things that everybody else might think of as stupid or crazy. Those that remain foolish have the ability to ignore the logic that might be telling them that something will be too difficult or impossible to make happen.
In the last few weeks I have been continually told, in so many words, that what I want for my life is not going to happen and that I am wasting my time with it. I should just go make a career out of working behind a desk and be content with that because it’s a good living. They say writing is not practical, writing will never make me rich or even provide enough money to live off, writing is a great hobby but it’s not realistically possible to make it, especially in the current economy. Well I say to hell with anyone who tells me that doing what I love to do, what I was born to do, is a waste of my time. It’s who I am and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
It’s not as if I just woke up a year or two ago and said hey, I think I want to be a writer now. I have known since I was six years old that this was what my purpose in life was and I have never, in 25 years, wavered from that belief. Honestly, at this point I’ve put in so much time and sacrificed so much in the effort of making this work that I can’t go back now. Sure I’m not where I would like to be within my career at this point, nor where I thought I would be, but I know it’s coming because I know it’s meant for me.
So many times I hear about or see people who have spent their lives doing something that is practical and might have garnered them success but it wasn’t what they wanted for themselves. It wasn’t the way that they wanted to achieve their success and they weren’t very happy. They spent their lives living up to others’ standards and other people’s ideas of normal and practical. They lived a life, but it wasn’t theirs.
I’ve already wasted too much of my limited time on this earth living the way someone else thought I should, doing what was practical all the while longing to follow my heart. I am not going to leave this world feeling like I didn’t at least try to live the life I was meant to live. As Steve Jobs also said in his brilliant speech, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose…” What good is living if I am not going to go for it all, come hell or high water? I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to really throw caution to the wind and just jump feet first without worrying what will go wrong. I think that I’m going to start finding out. I thank you Steve Jobs for being brave enough to Stay hungry and Stay foolish. Until next time…Imagine all of what you can do if you were just a little more foolish and a lot less logical.
The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)
Writing as “Jaycee Durant”