I've already written my tribute to Steve Jobs that was published in the Gulf News, but while the world seems to have moved on and Indians everywhere are today mourning the death of music legend Jagjit Singh, Jobs' demise has affected me more than I thought possible. Every once in a while you get a wake up call that makes you examine your life and ask yourself what you want from it... Jobs' demise has done just that for me. It's made me ask myself whose life it is I am leading and what I want my legacy to be. You got all of that from the death of a person you've never even met? you may ask. Yes, I realize how cliche and almost tragic it sounds. As mentioned in my article, Jobs counted as one of the two men I'd always wanted to meet in my life. The irony keeps hitting me... he achieved all his dreams he possibly could in the short 56 years that he walked this earth. I didn't even try to realize my dream of meeting him.
Yes while Jobs was someone I'd never met I won't say it is completely a coincidence for me to be feeling this way considering my own Father passed away at the age of 56. In my article I wrote about a type of man whose DNA is predisposed for success and who doesn't quite fear the feeling of failure. Not to say they never experience it.. it's just that they understand that success is a journey and that you may run into a few ditches and potholes on the way to get to your final destination.. meanwhile knowing full well that they're on the path and are doing something to get there. My Late Father was often asked where he got the idea to name his company "Jumbo" and he'd tell the story of how he came to Dubai with a few hundred dollars in his bank account with a dream in his heart to build something great. He didn't know what it is he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted it to be the size of the Air India Jumbo jet that carried him. Now let me quickly clarify to fans of the "iCon" here, by no means am I trying to compare the two! I am merely drawing parallels between my two personal idols, and what they represent to me.
Incidentally, my Father was not really a fan of Apple products, and in one of my earliest blog posts, I've talked about his reluctance to buy me one of my first computers ever- An Apple PowerPC. To convince him I decided to try my hand at Photoshop to demonstrate to him what this fantastic little machine could do. Back then, using Photoshop and Freehand easily pretty much meant using a Mac to do it! A lot of convincing went into it, and I used a Mac to create this- My own "Think Different" ad!
I wonder back to the past 11 years of my life since the year I graduated in 2000, and I wonder where the time has flown by. Jobs' death has probably had the complete opposite effect of what my Father's had on me, as while one made me try to figure out how I would survive the day in front of me trying to deal with an insurmountable loss, the other has me thinking about my future and what I want my legacy to be when I die. Over the past 11 years I've applied for an MFA in Creative Writing in New York twice, only to be wait listed twice and for me to have not been able to go. A novel that I started to work on two years back has been saved on my desktop screen and stares back at me each time I work on my computer, it's 3 incomplete chapters taunting me and begging for some attention. I always say I have a "no regrets policy" in life, but I have a feeling that if I don't give some serious thinking to what it is I was sent on God's green earth to do, that policy may soon change... and that is not how I want to live the rest of my life. (I always say that the worst thing somebody can be is stupid.. and the worst thing someone can have is regret.)
Having said that, one of my favourite quotes is from Paulo Coelho's books, The Alchemist - "Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You've got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense." I've always believed that to be so true for my life as I find everything comes a full circle and at the end, makes complete sense. It seems Jobs' believed in the same philosophy in life and talks about it greatly in his Stanford commencement speech and refers to it as "connecting the dots."But to find that clarity and come that full circle, one has to keep up with their end of the deal and do what they love- and it is that action of doing that most people forget about.
I hope I've got you guys thinking if even for a moment about what it is you want to do with the rest of your life and what legacy it is you want to ultimately leave behind. If you want some food for thought, I URGE you to watch Steve Jobs Stanford commencement speech if you haven't already. If you have in the past, but haven't seen it recently, I think you will benefit greatly from watching it again. Knowing that the man in the video is no more and knowing the type of respect and idolization he received upon his death, only makes his words so much important to pay heed to.
Of all the amazing stories I've heard about Jobs (and if you search the internet, especially over the past few days, you'll find a countless number of them) is one that shows him at his most human. In a moving tribute, his friend Stephen Wolfram writes about visiting Steve at his NeXT offices-I used to see Steve Jobs with some regularity in those days. One time I went to see him in NeXT’s swank new offices in Redwood City. I particularly wanted to talk to him about Mathematica as a computer language. He always preferred user interfaces to languages, but he was trying to be helpful. The conversation was going on, but he said he couldn’t go to dinner, and actually he was quite distracted, because he was going out on a date that evening—and he hadn’t been on a date for a long time. He explained that he’d just met the woman he was seeing a few days earlier, and was very nervous about his date. The Steve Jobs—so confident as a businessman and technologist—had melted away, and he was asking me—hardly a noted known authority on such things—about his date.
As it turned out, the date apparently worked out—and within 18 months the woman he met became his wife, and remained so until the end.
Here's to living a full life, leaving a great legacy, and finding your true love....
Thank You Mr Jobs for making me realize all 3 are possible... and that too in one lifetime!