Steve Jobs, Fear, and Trying

I’m scared to write. I’m often scared to write, anyway, but about Steve Jobs dying I’m terrified. I’ve had this feeling since it happened that there was no way anything I could say will not be good enough to capture the weight of things, or even just my feelings about it. I also knew as I found out that if I let that fear control me and said nothing, I’d be upset with myself. So I’ve waited. I’ve waited now to the point where everyone else who had something to say about it probably has. And now I’m going to say the same things that a lot of other people who feel the same way as me have, because I need to say something before I’ve waited entirely too long and let a new fear take over.

Steve is someone who directly changed my life by deciding to change the world and following through with it. No one was counting on me to do much, and by the time I decided to teach myself to write Mac software I hadn’t done a lot to prove anyone wrong. I can’t even really give a specific reason why it stuck and I kept trying, but it did. I put as much of myself into learning this one thing as I could, and eventually turned it into a job. I’ve been doing it as my only job since 2008 and have been a part of making things that I’m insanely proud of. As of a month ago I’m running my own business, and proud of that. This is really a long winded way to say that Steve’s contributions the world gave me a platform to – and I hope continue to – make my own contributions that I can be proud of.

I don’t know what I’d be doing right now if there had been no Steve, but I don’t think it would be this, and I can’t imagine it being something that’s allowed to meet people who I feel like I belong with and who are equally passionate about something I’m obsessed with. Steve was right when he talked about understanding mortality in the Stanford address everyone quoted last week. It’s something I think a lot about, although I’d forgotten that he had said it until people started quoting him.

My own crude version of the same idea – which I’ve repeated several times before – is this: We’re all going to be dead someday soon, and we have a very limited timeframe before to do something amazing – so you need to kick as much ass as possible while you can.

My friend Mike had the perfect addition:

"And once you're gone the only thing left behind will be the asses you kicked."

Steve Jobs kicked a lot of asses, and was a personal hero to me. I worry a lot about not being good enough, smart enough, talented enough – even to write on my own blog. Steve is one of the people who inspired me to stop being scared and to try my best by doing amazing things and never accepting good enough as that. It’s that inspiration that has made me think – sometimes – that I might actually be good enough.

I’m sad I’ll never get to tell that him in person.

Collin Donnell @collin