"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."
When he said those words at the 2005 Stanford commencement ceremony, Steve Jobs thought he had been cured. "I'm fine now," he said. Describing his diagnosis and surgery the year before, and his great good fortune that his was the rare form of pancreatic cancer that didn't leave you with only months to live, he said he hoped "it's the closest I get for a few more decades."
He was wrong about that. But he was right about the rest.
On the radio on the way home, all the commentators were talking about Steve Jobs' legacy -- from icons to iPads, from Macs to iPhones. It is a long list. Genius, they said over and over. Visionary. All true.