Over a year or so ago, I had watched a commencement speech that had been delivered by the late Steve Jobs. In the speech he shared much wisdom with the newly Stanford college graduates. It was a small piece of that wisdom that made an impact on my life. In short, Jobs had told the graduates the “surest way he’s been able to overcome the fear of rejection, embarrassment, or failure, is to think about death, because in the face of death, all external expectations go away.”
In life, it’s easy for us to give up on or never even start our dreams because we’re fearful of how others may judge us, we’re fearful of being told no, or even worse, we’re fearful of failing. At the end of the day though, why are we so fearful? As Jobs noted in his speech, we’re all going to die. One hundred years from now, what people thought about your dreams, or the denials you’d received from others, is no longer going to matter because you and those people who may have rejected you are going to be dead.
So, in the face of death, how might your life change? If you were told you had six months left to live, how would your interactions amongst others change? Would you treat people differently? Would you do the things you love? Would you worry about someone else judging or perhaps laughing at you?
While I know you may not be able to live as though you’ve gotten an exact timeline on life, you can decide to live in not worrying about what others think. You can decide that next time you feel uneasy or uncertain because someone may critically judge you, you can still move forward despite their judging. You can still choose to move forward despite how many times you’ve been letdown in the past. You can still choose to move forward despite all that’s happened to you in life. You can still choose to move forward because the choice has always been and will always be yours.
Next time you’re faced with a tough decision, or next time you find yourself worrying about the expectations others have set for you – STOP. And simply remember that in the face of death that all goes away. You have the potential to live your dreams, now!