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Life experience

At the beginning of the 21st century, I discovered the iPod, the magic device by Apple. It was a new gadget enabling me to put my entire music collection, consisting of more than 7000 tracks, on a device which is smaller than a pack of cigarettes. Enough capacity to play all my music continuously during 3 weeks, without having to hear the same track twice! In no time, I moved the big box containing all my CD’s to the attic as my whole collection had been digitalized. Gradually, I discovered the innovative products of Apple during the next few years. In other words: when I launched tèn company last year, I immediately built the entire ICT infrastructure of scratch in Apple, because I was impressed by its userfriendlyness. After having used Windows for more than 20 years, I decided to switch to Apple. Steve Jobs is the founder and the big brain behind Apple. This man is a phenomenon and by far the most successful CEO of the last decade. Jobs is known to be fascinated by death. He has always been convinced that he wouldn’t grow old. This could be the reason why he is developing new products at an enormous pace.

Below, you will find an extract of the speech he gave in 2005 to the new graduates of Stanford University. It is not surprising that he devoted a major part of his speech to death. In 2004, doctors discovered that he had pancreas cancer, which almost always mean that you won’t live long anymore. Eventually, it appeared that he had a rare variant of it, which could be operated. Consequently, he could be cured. At the beginning of last year, he was again long time out of running because he had got a new liver. In 2005, Steve spoke the following words to the young new graduates:'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.

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's 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 you 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.'
You can listen to Steve's entire speech on Youtube:

Do you want to read more? "Inside Steve's Brain" by 'Leander Kahney' (English), (e)ISBN 978-1-101-14019-2. The (e) stands for the e-reader version. See also the literature list on our website.


I would like to dedicate this column to my mother-in-law, Maryon van der Burgt. Last week, she died much too early.

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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