When Steve Jobs passed away last October, I have to admit as an Apple fan boy I was deeply impacted. Not that I had ever met the man but just as my good friend Tracy Trost said in his podcast, The Wisdom of Steve Jobs his vision allowed us to live our dreams.
As I made my way through the various quotes, audio recordings, and videos of Steve that made their way around the internet in the weeks that followed his death, I couldn’t help but be inspired. One quote in particular hit home that I found on author and speaker Chuck Balsamo’s site entitled, Steve Jobs – “If today were the last day of my life…” where he quotes Steve as saying:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like, “If you live each day as if it were 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’m 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.
Wow! It begs the question, “Are you doing what you want to do on the last day of your life today?” Better yet, what does your perfect last day look like?
A Word of Caution
I know many of you reading this might find yourselves in jobs or relationships that you would rather not be in on your last day, but I think your perspective on that might change if you truly lived as if it was your last day. Many of the things that seem like big deals in the day to day routine of life seem to shrink away with the thought of our impending demise.
Further, I would venture to say that our lives might be better spent asking ourselves what we can do in these less than desirable situations to make them better. Rather than be victims and blame all of our woes on others, it is always better to look instead at the power that is given to each one of us to make our lives and the lives around us better. What can you do differently today to affect the situations you are in for the better so that maybe someday they would actually become things you would want to do even if it was your last day.
Sometimes Change is Needed
That said, sometimes change is needed. As Steve Jobs said, “whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” If there is something you are passionate about and instead of doing it on a daily basis you are simply working for a paycheck, start making plans now to change that. If you are in a relationship, talk to your spouse or significant other and get their advice, share your passion with them and see what you can do together to make the change possible. Tracy’s co-host on his podcast, Cliff Ravenscraft worked for years in the insurance business, but his passion was quickly being realized to help and inspire people to attain their dreams and he saw the best way of doing that to be through podcasting. While he liked the safety of his job, his passion was calling louder and louder each day. He and his wife made plans so that he could make the change and although it wasn’t always easy, he wouldn’t change a thing.
Who is Influencing You?
Sometimes we need to take a look at who we are spending our time with as well, because you will become like those whom you most closely associate. If you are finding that the people in your life aren’t going the places you are looking to go or doing the things you want to do, it might be time to add some new influences to your life. I’m not saying to go out and cut off all of your current friends, but you might find that they may not want to go where you want to go and there may be a natural progression of your time together growing less and less. In my personal opinion I think it’s best to keep reaching out to those friends you currently have as you never know what the future holds, but just as many of us don’t hang out with our elementary school friends anymore, time and people change and that’s okay.
Will You Serve Yourself or Others
Unfortunately, many people who think about what they will do on their last day picture themselves in various indulgences. But I think there is a big difference between doing things we enjoy and doing things to serve ourselves. I’ve heard it said if you enjoy doing what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. So doing things we enjoy isn’t a problem, but doing those things that we want at the expense of those things that others need is. Do you see your last day by yourself or are you showering your love on those closest to you? Are you looking for sympathy or are you inspiring others? What does your perfect last day look like?
What Will You Commit Too?
It’s one thing to think about today being your last day, it’s quite another to act like it. Here are three things you need to do to take action on this:
- Write it down. What do you want to be doing on your last day?
- Get together with those who need to be included in your plans and find others who you believe can bring wisdom into your life and get their input as well.
- Start taking steps. Wether it be changing you, changing your circumstances, or adding in new influences, start doing it.
As you start transforming your day into a day that you would be satisfied with if it was your last, remember that sooner or later it will be.
Enjoy Life and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Joe Jestus, Trost Moving Pictures
About Joe Jestus: Joe is the husband of his lovely wife Julie for the past 11 years and the father of 4 amazing children. He also happens to be the Producer of Marketing and Distribution at Trost Moving Pictures (pronounced like “toast” with an “r”) an independent studio based in Tulsa, Oklahoma and dedicated to telling great stories that leave a positive impact through film, books, music, podcasts, shows, and more.