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jobs.jpgSteve Jobs died a few hours ago.

His impact is hard to overstate– his genius and inventions are ubiquitous. Earlier today, I blogged on tech tools I use– and Steve Jobs impacts my life every day. Steve Jobs literally changed the world.

Yet, he was more than an inventor. He was also a public figure– and few people have lived in the public eye like Steve. For that matter, few people have, well, slowly declined in public view. Watching his health over the last few years reminds us of our own mortality– and Steve thought that death was a good thing for all of us to consider.

Steve Jobs faced death and, unlike some public figures, he spoke of it. Here is what Steve said in 2005 at the Stanford commencement address:

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.About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes

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