Steve Jobs and never giving up hope (and rocking it until your last days)

Two things are clear to me with Steve Jobs and his death: He never gave up hope, and knowing that he was dying lit a fire beneath him that fueled incredible creativity.

Even if Steve knew the end was near, his actions showed that he never gave up hope. He presented plans for a new Apple campus just a few months ago. He moved forward with plans for a new home as well.

This is why I was surprised to hear of the news of Steve’s death. I figured if he was really sick, he still wouldn’t be spending his time presenting building plans to the Cupertino City Council. Surely, someone else at Apple could do that.

Steve was still occasionally going into work as well. He even did the Keynote at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, just four months before his death.

I thought that he had merely come to terms with the fact that he would never have the energy to be a CEO again. Being a CEO is beyond a full-time job. It’s long hours and lots of stress, especially if you want to be a wildly successful CEO like Steve.

A lot of people spend years and even decades in poor health. In reality, Steve didn’t know how to half-ass life. He didn’t know how to slow down and not work towards his life goals.

He presented his plans for a new campus for Apple to the city council because he cared so much about that new, one-of-a-kind campus and building, and he wanted to make sure his vision came to reality. The new Apple campus won’t be completed until 2015 at the earliest, and Steve knew at the time that he would probably never get to see it. But he wanted to make sure it was done right. Steve built things that will last long after he is gone, and he wanted to make sure that they those products, buildings, ideas, ideals, etc. were good long after he was gone.

I have to believe part of his working until the end was that he never gave up hope. Even if there was a 95 percent certainly that this was his last year, you never know. And so while many people would wallow at being taken from this Earth too early, in knowing that their final days were probably not far away, Steve kept up hope and kept working at building products and ideas that he believed in.

I can’t imagine Steve sitting in an in a recliner watching TV as his health slipped away. That wasn’t who he was. He was a fighter until the end.

Indeed, it appears that knowing that his time was limited lit a fire beneath him. The iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iCloud, iOS, Macbook Air and the resurgance of Mac OS and Mac hardware happened after his cancer diagnosis. He ran Apple like a man who knew that if he made a big mistake, it might be the last thing people remembered him for.

We all know that we’re going to die. But we don’t understand it. That’s what keeps us pushing things into the future. That’s what keeps us in jobs that we don’t like. That’s what keeps us from living the life we really want.

Steve Jobs, his actions and his incredible Stanford graduation speech have taught me so much about how to live life. How to love life. And that today, not 10 years from now, is when you should love life.

Go watch Steve’s Stanford graduation speech. Live life. Love life.

Run wildly through life. Make a dent in the universe.