The idea arose from a word at Stanford University that Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and CEO at the time, did just after recovering from cancer:
When I was 17, I read a quote that said something like, “If you live each day as if it were your last, one day you will certainly be right.” It marked me, and since then, for 33 years, I look at myself every morning in the mirror and I ask myself: “If today was the last day of my life, would I like to do what am about to get it done today? ”And every time the answer has been“ no ”for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Change is exactly what Mr. Jobs has done in his legendary life, always being ready to change when he sees a new path. Like Mary Poppins mentionned, “I will stay until the tide turns.” I would advise you, as you now enter adulthood, to consider this bromide rather than staying somewhere where you don’t thrive and, more importantly, grow taller.
It’s a never-ending way of saying: don’t be content, not for anyone or for any reason.
As Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t get caught up in the dogma of living with the results of the thoughts of others. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition. They already know what you really want to become. Everything else is secondary.
“Change something” is why I thought it was extremely important to cover the beginnings of the digital age in 1990, which I did by turning my career upside down at the Washington Post. There I made my way to the top of the food chain, covering places like the White House. But I took the risk that it was worth going west to try and explain to people the massive force – the Internet – that was about to envelop everyone.
What Jobs was saying was the same thing I was trying to instill in my sons. Mindfulness of time was essential to success and to a truly fulfilling life; the ability to change and change even in the face of failure, disappointment and tragedy was a gift.
Of course, going through tough times is something you and the rest of us know well after the last year in the shadow of the coronavirus. It has been a terrible year for everyone, some more than others, especially the less fortunate among us. It tested our bonds of community, our ability to form a more perfect union, and our belief that tomorrow is another day. It was over a year of missed things and times gone by, never to return. It made us all question every part of our lives, stopping coldly in our busy paths.
In some cases, this has been a good thing. It has allowed us to re-evaluate the way we live our lives and has made us question the ground on which we have built our lives. I’ve spent the last year, for example, trying to get people to focus on how the tech industry has managed to fully and sometimes dangerously adapt to our lives and introduce all kinds of problems along the way.
Whether it’s misinformation or hate speech, whether it’s the digital addiction to destroying self-esteem in young women or the over-stimulation of aggression in young men, whether it is the unleashing of all kinds of practices that only serve a privileged few at the expense of the gig-economy a lot, my other post to you is, without irony, do your homework.