One of my favorite short reminders of how to live life can be found written on the wall in Mother Theresa‘s bedroom of her home for children in Calcutta, India. It is a constant reminder to live by a set of principles that are grounded, unfettered by the whims of societal change.
I wish I could say I was good at abiding by all of these, but I’m still a work in progress.
People are often illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will certainly win some unfaithful friends and genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years building, others could destroy overnight. Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give anyway.
And here are a few more that I’ve added personally from my own experiences…
And if the world rewards mediocrity, choose to give the world your best anyway.
If you take the worthy road, people may beat you to the finish line. Take the worthy road anyway.
If you show common dignity for all, some will not return the same courtesy. Show common dignity anyway.
If you give love unconditionally, you will get hurt. Give love anyway.
My friend Erin Mellinger posted this on facebook the other day. It’s so insightful, I wanted to share it with you:
“There are only 3 colors, 10 digits, and 7 notes; its what we do with them that’s important.”
Every number ever produced is a combination of 0 -9.
Every color I see is a blend of just three.
And every song I love is the same primary notes – played in a different way.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We’re all given our own two hands, and feet, and brilliant mind. We all have the space between stimulus and response where we are given the freedom to choose how to act.
Each of us choose to arrange the notes of life a certain way, or to view the digits dealt to us a through our own lens.
It’s what we decide to do each day – its how we decide to perceive – that adds the songs and color to our lives.
Today, I woke up to the death of Steve Jobs.
At the age of 56, he did what most entrepreneurs dream of doing – changing the world for the better.
Even though I didn't know him, I could help but feel saddened and tearful. Part out of respect – and part out of feeling that I'm so far from realizing my own change in the world and making the impact that I want to.
He's was 16 years older than me.
When I think about that, and let it sink in, my head spins with the idea that every day must be important – it must matter. I can't spend my time getting caught in the thickness of thin things. One day, my life will be done here on earth, and what will matter are the gifts I've left behind, and the positive, lasting impact I've made on the world.
"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, 2005
Today, I woke up to the death of Steve Jobs.
Today, I woke up with a deeper realization of my own mortality.
I'm fortunate enough to have smart advisors for TakeLessons. They've been motivational and have kicked my ass to think at a higher level and become a smarter business person.
In addition to all the business advice I get, sometimes a life lesson will shine through. These life lessons tend to be just as valuable as all the business stuff. I'm meeting two advisors, Jordan Greenhall and Tom Siegel this friday to go over a few things. Here is the conversation:
Jordan / Tom,
Can you get together with me this Friday morning for about an hour? I want to show you what the numbers look like, and get a final opinion on the options we should consider.
Jordan: I could do 10:00 am
Tom: I'm available 10 or 11
Jordan: Scratch that – move to 11:00. I have a kindergarten event at 10.
Steven: Great, 11 at Tom's office
Tom: 11 AM works for me too. (Jordan, I thought you already graduated from kindergarten? 🙂
Jordan: If you are lucky, you never graduate from kindergarten.
Steven and Tom: Great line and perfect timing.
It was the perfect line for me yesterday. In all of the excitement, frustration, and worry of building a company and shouldering the responsibility of employees who rely on me, sometimes I forget to never graduate from kindergarten.
If you remember back when you were that age, the world was new and making friends was as easy as smiling at girl with the crayons. Recess was rejuvenating, and there were no bad habits to break. So today, I'm going to go back to kindergarten. It's an important step to ensure that I never lose that innocent curiosity. never forget to play, and never forget that people matter more than anything else.