“External expectations, all pride, fear of embarrassment or failure—these things fall away in the face of death.”

Via on Aug 26, 2011

Steve Jobs’ philosophy on life, and death. Quotes.

~

Update: Steve Jobs has passed away.

“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.”
~

Photo: Steve Jobs, two days after resignation. Via Reddit.

Our coverage here. Videos, images.

In the Buddhist tradition, we do tonglen for those who may be suffering. Still, impermanence is fundamental to this life, and death may come at any moment. For any of us.

In all traditions, we give thanks to those who’ve inspired. While, even now, we can not gloss over reality—that Apple is far from eco-responsible, and (unlike Gates and his billions) gives nothing to charity (per Jobs), and doesn’t work with fair labor—it has in countless other ways innovated and trailblazed and made uncounted connections and other inspirations possible.

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“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share.

No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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.”

~Steve Jobs

2005 Stanford commencement speech

Bonus: a Silicon Valley FOM told me this was worth watching.

It’s long; will watch now, join me:

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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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33 Responses to ““External expectations, all pride, fear of embarrassment or failure—these things fall away in the face of death.””

  1. Sarah says:

    ok please tell me why you are posting photos of a sick looking man and headlining "lookie here at the bad looking guy"?

    • elephantjournal says:

      Did you read the quotes? Watch the video? He's talked a great deal about death…death is not an insult, it's an integral part of life. He called it life's greatest invention. Perhaps it's Judeo-Christian upbringing that regards such as an insult? I don't know. But it wasn't my upbringing.

      Your "lookie here" quote is your words, your projection, Sarah—not my view from here. We should listen to Jobs, right now. He asks us to consider death. Not just now—every day. As for the photo, it's already ubiquitous—we are far from the first to show it, and I think we do it with mindful, appreciative, compassionate intent—that we might learn from his worthy example. ~ Waylon

      • Sarah says:

        "lookie here" = "He looks really bad"

      • Sarah says:

        oh look you changed the title of the article from "He looks really bad" to an inspirational quotation

        • elephantjournal says:

          Right, because I'm learning to listen, proud of me!? You and three other commenters think of death or dying as an insult…so there's probably many others…unlike Steve or his quote, now the title, which is the point of this post, the photo, that video, and his quotes from that speech. Thanks, Sarah, for your understandable concern. ~ Waylon

  2. Earl Long says:

    Yes, not a good picture of Steve Jobs and it's apparent that he is not steady on his feet. Too bad.

  3. Cara Mia says:

    I agree. Really poor taste.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Death, in Buddhism, is often called the greatest insult—to our ego. Death, in Buddhism, is views not as bad news, but as Jobs himself put it in the video above, if you watched it, as something helpful and inspiring. Carpe Diem:

      “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.”

  4. KJo says:

    Have compassion. If we can support him, at least not trash him.

    • elephantjournal says:

      That's what this post is about. One can't help but look at this photo and feel compassion for Mr. Jobs. Too much of the reporting and comments after his resignation have been about what we're losing. Yes, he's offered the world a great deal. But we should wish him the best right now, with thanks…not just complain about this great loss for ourselves. ~ Waylon

  5. elephantjournal says:

    #
    Darrin Buehler A great example of a mind that is precise and clear, even when the body is frail. Blessings on Steve Jobs, not just for being a pioneer, but for modeling such grace.
    35 minutes ago · UnlikeLike · 8 peopleLoading…
    #
    Laree Sanchez Blessings on Steve Jobs….
    33 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Stephen Greg Legat I have had cancer twice. Had both chemo and radiation. It's a long, hard fight that not everyone wins. Steve Jobs has fought well. If it is his time soon, I would like to tell him thanks- thanks for shaking off the nausea and fatigue, and living his life. I wish him peace, I wish him rest.
    32 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · 5 peopleLoading…
    #
    Tamara McMahan Moravec Looks like he needs prayers…
    30 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Darrin Buehler Beautiful, Stephen. You are.
    30 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Adenia Linker may we all view his suffering and collectively give a deep breath BACK
    29 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Jessica Selig Do you realize your headline for this picture says: "Wow of the day. One of the best videos I've ever seen. Share with your children:"?
    21 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · 2 peopleLoading…
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    Natasha Webb Calvert Grace, indeed! Thank you Mr. Jobs
    19 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
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    Jessica Selig Also, did he release this picture of himself? If not, seems like it could be an invasion of his privacy and may not be something that ought to be spread around.
    18 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading…
    #
    Tracy Patterson Prayers for you and your family Mr.Jobs.GodSpeed
    15 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
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    Eve Lee I don't doubt he's very sick, but that picture seems to have been touched by the Photoshop smudge tool. Look at his cheek and chin. You can practically trace the brushstrokes.
    6 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    elephantjournal.com Jessica, if you clicked the blog before commenting, read his quotes, and watched his video, you'd get why it's worth sharing. As for his privacy, I agree, but he's worked publicly for years with cancer, and I regard death not as a failure but as a helpful reminder. That's the opportunity in this moment: to consider, as he said, “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.”

  6. KJo says:

    I mean, "If we can't support him, at least not trash him."

  7. Suri kate says:

    Its so hard to watch how such a charismatic man disolves into nothingness…like a shooting star in the night sky…really really sad and i dont even know the guy …great video ,almost made me cry.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Me, too. Worth a rewatch. Appreciate you commenting on the video, the point of this article, and its quotes. ~ Waylon

  8. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  9. Peter says:

    This photo is Photoshopped. Please do not post this as an accurate photo of Mr. Jobs. Falsehoods and gossip are not Wholesome Speech.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Where's your proof? If it's the discussion on Reddit, many/most of the commenters disagree with the author. As for Mindful Speech, good call, we would like to honor that and this post is offered as a reminder of the preciousness of life and mission and the reality of death and our appreciation of this man…nothing else that I know of. If we've missed the mark, please be specific. ~ Waylon

      PS you'll enjoy this: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2009/03/mindful-sp

  10. Keren says:

    In the autumn of 1999, during one of Yogi Bhajan’s meditation classes in Espanola, he requested that Dev Suroop Kaur write a song. He specifically requested that it include the line “Don’t cry for me children of Sikh Dharma” and that it be written in the past tense as if he had already passed. He asked that the song celebrate his life, not mourn his death. His intention was that we be comforted, uplifted and joyful with his passing and that his life, our mission and our future be celebrated. When we played the song for him, his words were “It’s perfect. Don’t change a thing.” You can read the lyrics and listen to the song here: http://devsuroopkaur.bandcamp.com/track/a-masters

  11. [...] The News, and The Contemplation of Death as a Reminder and Motivating force for a Life Well-Lived, I’ve been watching Steve Jobs [...]

  12. [...] truly important."–Steve Jobs, 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford UniversitySince The News, and The Contemplation of Death As a Reminder and Motivating Force for a Life Well Lived, I've been watching Steve Jobs videos.The [...]

  13. [...] The News, and The Contemplation of Death As a Reminder and Motivating Force for a Life Well Lived, I've been watching Steve Jobs [...]

  14. [...] The News, and The Contemplation of Death As a Reminder and Motivating Force for a Life Well Lived, I've been watching Steve Jobs [...]

  15. [...] The News, and The Contemplation of Death As a Reminder and Motivating Force for a Life Well Lived, I've been watching Steve Jobs [...]

  16. [...] The News, and The Contemplation of Death As a Reminder and Motivating Force for a Life Well Lived, I’ve been watching Steve Jobs [...]

  17. You know therefore considerably in terms of this subject, made me for my part believe it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated unless it is something to do with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs outstanding. All the time handle it up!

  18. [...] think there’s something beautiful about getting real, getting really into that headspace where you think about life and death and how [...]

  19. [...] watched this last night—as a Jobs fan (within the context of him being a tyrannical perfectionist and pure entrepreneur through most of [...]

  20. elephantjournal says:

    The headline did come from Reddit. It's not my headline, but I did think it captured something basic: that moment of awake eyes, of compassion, of empathy in the viewer. That's the power of this photo: to remind us that Steve is real, human, suffering…not just a "loss" to the tech world, as its been reported so often over the last days. ~ Waylon

  21. elephantjournal says:

    There's been a great deal of adulatory coverage here: http://www.elephantjournal.com/?s=%22steve+jobs%2

  22. elephantjournal says:

    Again, it's not my title, it's Reddits' title, and I thought it communicated eloquently or basically that knee-jerk concern, empathy, compassion…a realization that death happens.

  23. Andréa Balt says:

    Keren, I think you put into words my exact thoughts after seeing this post. This picture is disturbing, it hurts, it makes me sad and uncomfortable. Not because it’s inappropriate, but because it reminds me that I am also going to die, rather soon and that I haven’t accepted it… yet. I’m still afraid. But you’re right, the opposite of life is not death but fear.

    And thank you Elephant for not trading truth for comfort.

  24. Keren says:

    Dear Andréa, if you are to make a transition soon, remember one thing: you are complete, you have always been complete and you are very very much loved. Peace and love to you ~ Keren

  25. Andréa Balt says:

    Thank you Keren! I’m going to include that into my daily mantras. Just to clarify that I am not ill and that I do not know the moment of my transition (be it tomorrow or twenty years from now). Nobody knows and since we've been taught to always know everything and to have it all figured out, the ‘not knowing’ is frightening both to me, still considered “young” as well as to others who have already lived “enough”.

    This thing we’re into called ‘life’ always ends abruptly, even when the doctors predict it. We get so caught up with the idea of life, so distracted by what is not life, that we forget we will also pass. Pictures like the one above remind us and scare the shit out of us. It makes me sad to see how people are getting so upset about it. It’s like, whatever you do, don’t wake them up.

    But pain is a pointer, not a killer. It’s an alarm clock. When you listen to it and wake up, you realize that you are complete indeed and there’s really nothing to fear. Only then are you really free to enjoy life for what it is. But I hit the snooze button more often than I’d like.

    Much love and thanks again for your beautiful words.

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