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Monday, October 31, 2011


A titan of technology and one of the most influential individuals of the last 100 years was lost last week when Apple Computer co-founder, creator, and great thinker Steve Jobs passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Jobs exerted a tremendous influence throughout the globe with his innovations and design, beginning with his efforts that led to a vital tipping point in democratizing knowledge to the masses through the development of his first personal computer. That computer eventually spawned a new niche and expansive market in an industry that made it possible for people the world over to access computer technology. From that platform, the stage was set for the I-Pod and then the I-Pad and many other ideas and opportunities in between.

His sister just published a moving and poignant essay, a eulogy, in which she offers her perspective on her brother and shares his final words.

Imagine, after a life which many would envy and only dream about, producing accomplishments too long to list and generating profits too much to count, his final thoughts were not on inventions, money, or materials but rather the loving relationship he had with those at his bedside - his wife, children, and sisters. Looking at them one last time and uttering, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

Tomorrow marks the start of another month. November. Thanksgiving will soon approach. How thankful we could each be if we are able to develop and sustain the wonder and beauty of interactions with others that would leave us with those parting words as a grateful good-bye to those that matter most.

My favorite author, Robert Fulghum, whom I have frequently referenced throughout the history of this Blog, crafted a book of thoughtful, compassionate and humorous essays entitled, What On Earth Have I Done?

Fulghum took a phrase that his mother would use as a retort when incredulously confronted by something he had done as a child that confounded logic and rational thought, ("What on earth have you done?") and challenged himself as an older man to reflect on his life and answer that very question. What had he done with his life? Fulghum then encouraged each reader of the book to take stock of what they had in fact done in their life.

How will you be remembered? How will your obituary summarize your life? What will your personal balance sheet reveal? And, in light of the final words of Steve Jobs; What will prompt you to exclaim, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

Now, ask yourself what you plan to do today and tomorrow and in all the tomorrows that follow, to write the "Oh wow" ending to your story. Examine your values and beliefs. Orient your direction and select your path into the future. Ask yourself if you are consistently contributing to making a positive and constructive difference in the lives of others.  

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