I’m more affected than I expected to be upon hearing of Steve Jobs’ passing yesterday. He was a great man, and I won’t try to add any real perspective to the tributes flowing deep and wide all over. I simply loved his demeanor, his turtlenecks, and his seemingly indefatigable passion for making things that work well and are actually a delight to use. Not to mention sexy. I’ve long loved all things Apple, even though I stopped being able to afford Macs for my design work years ago and had to settle for my well-hated PC.
The words genius and visionary are showing up everywhere in connection to Steve’s life, and his 2005 Stanford commencement speech is being quoted abundantly. You’ve got to find what you love. You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking backwards. Stay hungry, stay foolish.
It all reminds me of something that I watched the other night … another of those somewhat addicting TED talks. It’s on the subject of “genius” and what that term means, and what it often does to a person saddled with the label. It also talks about those of us not typically labeled that way, and how we all might be wise to change our perception of it. Elizabeth Gilbert is the speaker, of Eat, Pray, Love fame. I was intrigued, and think it well worth watching, especially in the light of Steve’s death and legacy.
Perhaps Steve had more than the average touch of a genius, but he certainly never seemed to fail to show up either. Motherhood kind of demands that we show up every day, and though I rarely feel the touch of inspired parenting that might make me feel I’ve done a great job at it today, I still show up. We all do, and though we don’t love every minute of it … so what, we’re human. As Steve said, if you go several days without the thought that this would be a good way to spend the last day of your life, then perhaps it’s time to change something. Take care of you. Add something in. Scratch something off that list. Sign up for the class you’ve been eyeing, just because. Yes, stay hungry (easy to do when you’re the last thing on the list to take care of!) but also stay foolish, foolish enough to take some chances and live by your heart and not just practicality. Now let’s see if I can do that myself, even a little bit.