Saturday 8 October 2011

Giving meaning to our lives

I am not surprised many of us are sad with the passing of Steve Jobs. Why? He managed to touched our hearts in many ways through innovations inspired by him and his colleagues. Although it took me long years before buying my first Apple product which was an iPhone 3G, looks like I am not buying anything but Apple from that point onward.

The death of Steve has sparked discussions about him as a person. His commencement speech at Stamford is one of the most quoted after his death. It is all about life from his perspective, given who he was as a child and realising his future would be influenced by the cancer he suffered.

By taking death as a game changer, Steve focused on giving meaning to the balance of his life, from his own perspectives, as determined by him, not others. Ironically, that meaning comes from making a difference to others, through products and services which shape the lives of many people and industries. While some may sense some sort of arrogance in the ways Steve and Apple behaved, it is clear now that such conducts was premised on the thought of living life as he saw it then.

When the technology industry was moving strongly towards open architectures, Apple stood it cause and maintained it's own ecosystem religiously. The essence of this stand is about being able to shape the future rather than the reverse. It is interesting to note that this model has been adopted by many of Apple's competitors lately.

So, who shape the lives we live?

Many of us want others to change so that our lives will change for better as well. Does this make sense? Well, such attitude generates societies which demand a lot but do less. As a result of this, they get exploited by people who are in the position of power or influence. Instead of trying to change the way they think and behave, they expect the exploitative people with power to change, what a wishful thinking. Off course once a while, they will be given goodies and handouts, especially when big major decisions are to be made.

I suppose the meaning of our lives is determined by ourselves based on our beliefs, values and desire to decide how we will be remembered when we are no longer around. While it could be ironic that to have more meaningful lives we make meaningful differences in others, achieving such a state requires strong personalities and desire. Steve did.

Will our lives be more meaningful when Steve is no longer with us? 

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