Death as a concept


Steve Jobs most famous speech was one that he made at the 2005 Stanford University commencement. He briefly talked about three stories of his life and the last one is about death.

” 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.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

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.”

I never experience death or even near death experience before. But recently I experience the death of my cousin. It is the first time I saw someone not just dear but a human being died in front of me. I started to question myself, what if I am in his shoes? Have I really live out what I am purpose to do? What is the legacy that I left behind? Sadly the answer to all these questions is No, I have not lived out my purpose, I didn’t left any legacy behind. I told myself then, I got to do something with my life. I have to have a eternal view of who I am and what I am purpose to do.

My cousin died shortly before his 32 birthday. He left life with many regrets. Because of that I decided to that I need to make changes in my life. I once saw this quote that a little change make a big difference. I started to make little change in my life. and I know that as long as I don’t stop, one day when I die, I can proudly say that I live my life to the fullest.

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