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. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
– Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Speech, 2005
Awesome quote! I really, really like it 🙂 The ancient Norse believed that the length of their lives had been predetermined by the Norns at the time of each person’s birth and it was only when the thread of their life was cut by one of the Norns (Skuld I believe, but don’t quote me – I’m nowhere near sure) that it would end. As a result, they tended to live life to its fullest and take chances because they knew that if it was not their time they would survive to see another day, and if it was their time they’d die no matter what it was they were doing – or not doing. So why not take chances? That must have been so liberating in so many ways. I can’t help but think what an incredibly sophisticated philosophy that was for a people history has painted as primitive and barbaric.