Wednesday, October 05, 2011

innovate [in-uh-veyt]

to introduce something new; make changes in anything established; to introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time
Synonyms include: found, invent, pioneer

It absolutely never fails. Death, or possibly a closer than imminent encounter with it, will always force you to re-evaluate your life. Have I made the right choices? Have I chosen the right career? The right friends? Have I been a good daughter? A good sister? A good Catholic? If I die tomorrow, or if I don't make it through the night, will I be able to look back from the afterlife and be proud of what I did in my earthly life?

A great number of us trudge through the day after we awaken with dread because this life, simply, isn't what we planned. We are not as successful as we dreamed, as beautiful as we wished, or as happy as we always figured we would be...eventually. Everything we need seems scarce and everything we try to avoid seems to multiply, clinging to us so tightly at times that it becomes difficult to believe that we'll every find a way out of it.

At 33 years old, I think often to myself. I thought I would've done more with my life, yet I sit in my cubicle staring at a computer screen for 8 hours (sometimes more) each day, filing, sending emails, etc. all the while trying to remember if maybe THIS LIFE is what I actually dreamt of having and maybe I just, well, didn't know it. I attempt some sensible convincing, of course, because what, exactly, is wrong with this part of my life? The job is stable, the people are great, I'm capable of doing the work, it pays well, etc. Nothing wrong with anything, really.

And then it hits me every time - Is what I do each day making a difference in this world? And, essentially, is it making a difference in me?

One of the most intelligent, most innovative and surely one of the most creative thinkers of the modern world died today. At 56 years old, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away, and in his passing, we not only remember the gadgets he created or the changes he made to how we do everything, from listening to music to communicating across a great distance; we will remember the philosophy he so often preached regarding the reasons for his success and hope that for our own good, we will become or continue to be active participants in our own pursuit.

* * *

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“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.”

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