One quote that I heard a few times has been buzzing around my head continually since I heard of his death. It goes like this... "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 am about to do today?"" It's an interesting thing to think about. Of all the things I have to do today - do I really want to do them? Or am I just doing them because I have to? If I don't want to do what is before me should I just walk away from it? Or do I need to persevere? What is the balance? How much should the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment drive what I do with my life?
It wasn't until I looked up the full context of the quote this morning that the context really gave me insight into what (if any significance) I should give to this thought - before I go out and completely change my life. The next line goes like this... "And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."
This second line makes all the difference. The words for too many days in a row carry such weight for me. It reminds me that sometimes I might wake up and ask myself the same question as Mr Jobs, and the answer may very well be "No. I don't want to do what I'm about to." The question is - is that situation temporary? Do I not want to go my job today because I'm tired and stressed? A situation which can be temporary and has a solution. Or do I really dislike what I do and should seek more meaningful employment? Do I not want to cook/clean/care for family because I'm in need of a holiday or feeling overwhelmed? Or is it a symptom of some deeper issues that really need change.
There are two things I love about the full quote. Firstly, no where does it mention happiness. He's talking about what you want to do in the context of having limited time left. What is important to you? What are your priorities? Are they included in the tasks that are set before you today? Is there time for the things you value - not just the busy things of life. Secondly, he defines the need to change around several days of answering no - not just a momentary thought. It means that change should be reflected on. Don't just give up on something because it causes momentary challenges, because challenges can and will pass. Struggles are a part of life, and are to be overcome - not avoided.
Anyway it's given me food for thought. Are my days tasks centered around my priorities in life, or do they reflect something different? Am I moving closer to being the person I want to be - or further away. Ultimately it's for me to determine one day at a time.