The Buttered Muse

Inspired in 5: Steve Jobs on Death

Today’s Inspired in 5 is a 4 minute excerpt from the late Steve Jobs’ famous commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. More than a decade old, his words are still just as relevant today. Jobs reminds us of our inevitable fate: death. He doesn’t do it in a morbid way, but instead encourages each and every one of us to take advantage of the wondrous opportunity of existence.

 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. – Steve Jobs

:::  Inspired in 5 is a daily column, posting inspirational videos of 5 minutes or less, to provide quick and meaningful inspiration when we need it most.

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