Reflection: Don’t lose sight of the things that matter most…

__”Treasure your family love, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat everyone well and stay friendly with your neighbors.” (Attributed to Steve Jobs, founder of Apple).

Most people would agree that Steve Jobs is probably the greatest entrepreneur who ever lived, and the greatest tech innovator of our times. The company he founded, Apple, is the most valuable company in the world, with a market value today of nearly $750bn. Now this is more than twice the size of the South African economy, and almost a third of the GDP of the whole of continental Africa!

Apple is a phenomenal company, and will no doubt be amongst the top contenders for the first “trillion-dollar company” (expected within five years).

Steve Jobs died in 2011 at age 56, after contracting a very aggressive form of cancer. As one of the richest men in the world, he tried every possible cure that medical science had at the time, including experimental drugs; it all failed.

A friend recently shared with me something he was supposed to have said just before he died. I say “supposed” because when you read something on the Internet you have to be cautious about its authenticity. Please read these touching words with that in mind, and may I be forgiven if it is not true. It is important wisdom nonetheless.

Words attributed to Steve Jobs, before he died:

“I have come to the pinnacle of success in business. In the eyes of others, my life has been the symbol of success. However, apart from work, I have little joy. Finally, my wealth is simply a fact to which I am accustomed.

At this time, lying on the hospital bed and remembering all my life, I realize that all the accolades and riches of which I was once so proud, have become insignificant with my imminent death. In the dark, when I look at green lights, of the equipment for artificial respiration and feel the buzz of their mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of my approaching death looming over me.

Only now do I understand that once you accumulate enough money for the rest of your life, you have to pursue objectives that are not related to wealth. It should be something more important: For example, stories of love, art, dreams of my childhood.

No, stop pursuing wealth, it can only make a person into a twisted being, just like me. God has made us one way, we can feel the love in the heart of each of us, and not illusions built by fame or money, like I made in my life, I cannot take them with me. I can only take with me the memories that were strengthened by love. This is the true wealth that will follow you; will accompany you, he will give strength and light to go ahead.

Love can travel thousands of miles and so life has no limits. Move to where you want to go. Strive to reach the goals you want to achieve. Everything is in your heart and in your hands.

What is the world’s most expensive bed? The hospital bed. You, if you have money, you can hire someone to drive your car, but you cannot hire someone to take your illness that is killing you. Material things lost can be found. But one thing you can never find when you lose: life…

Whatever stage of life where we are right now, at the end we will have to face the day when the curtain falls.

Please treasure your family love, love for your spouse, love for your friends… Treat everyone well and stay friendly with your neighbors.”

***

When I had my team try to find the original source of this quote, they came back and said they couldn’t confirm when these words were said by Steve Jobs and that many reports said they weren’t. I then asked myself, “Does this take away from this profound message about the things that matter most?”

I have reserved my comments for my afterthoughts.

End.

20 thoughts on “Reflection: Don’t lose sight of the things that matter most…

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    According to his sister in her eulogy, Steve Jobs’ very last words were: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”

    Reply
  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    In 2005, Steve Jobs gave this commencement address at Stanford University. At the time, he thought his cancer was cured. Two years later, he launched the iPhone, and the year after that, the world’s first App store. This week marks the 10-year anniversary of what Jobs told the world then was “a revolutionary mobile phone” and “a breakthrough Internet communications device.” The rest is history as they say. And in this case, also the “smart” future as we now know it. http://news.stanford.edu/2005/06/14/jobs-061505/

    Reply
  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    I have been married for 27 years. I have never missed my wife’s birthday. My marriage is more important than my business or career.

    # If my wife calls, I leave the meeting to attend to her.
    # If my mother calls, I leave the meeting to attend to her.
    # If my kids call, I leave the meeting to attend to them.
    # If my pastor calls, I leave the meeting to attend to him.

    I’m first and foremost a child of God, then a son to my mother, a husband to my wife and a dad to my children, a father to the fatherless, and a mentor to the next generation. Whatever title you give me will never be above those.

    Reply
  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.
    These words attributed to Steve Jobs not only apply to the pursuit of wealth, but include the pursuit of power and even a career. I have known people who pursued high office and power and ended up with the same regrets.

    Reply
  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 5.
    The Apostle Paul told Pastor Timothy, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” He did not say “money” is the root of all evil”…because money is amoral as you can use it for good or evil:
    You can have a lot of money and yet not be motivated by the “love” of money. And conversely, you can have a little money and yet be ready to kill for just a handful of dollars.

    Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, spends every day of his life trying to give it away by fighting diseases and poverty around the world.

    Reply
  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 6.
    As an entrepreneur you are incomplete, and I might even add a total failure, if every day and every moment are spent in the pursuit of ventures or career. Stop! Channel some of that energy and passion into things that help other people without a profit for yourself. Maybe a youth group in your community, orphans and street kids. Use your leadership skills to do things back in the rural areas of your country. It doesn’t have to be political. Pick a cause today, and go at it with the same passion and commitment that you have for your business or career.

    Reply
  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 7.
    I remember watching the funeral of a very powerful political leader and was reminded of something a Nigerian woman had once said in church, “Power and money is ashamed before God, O!”
    Don’t put your trust in it so that you lose perspective of what matters the most.

    Reply
  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 8.
    I once met someone who visited the late dictator of DRC (then called Zaire) just before he died of cancer. He was apparently shocked that all his power and money (he reportedly stole over $5bn) could not help him!

    Reply
  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought:
    I was inspired by this testimony which I saw for the first time today:

    Good Evening Mr Masiyiwa

    The team at HigherLife Foundation shared this video blog (links below) on the 263 chat website which was published yesterday. The video blog is essentially a testimony by Mr Zuze Alas who shared his story about how he was helped by Capernaum Trust and how he also had the opportunity to meet you back in 2000. Despite his disability, he has gone on to give back in his local community by working as a volunteer teacher for children from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds.

    Link to Video Blog: http://263chat.com/strive-masiyiwa-continue-touch-lives…/

    After seeing it I asked my wife to partner with him on his school project.

    Reply
    • Obumneke Ejimnkeonye Okafor

      One who understands importance of family and friends will appreciate the touching words of Steve Jobs like I did. He will also appreciate Strive Masiyiwa who is helping in sharing the message to the world.

      Strive Masiyiwa, I have read about you. Keep doing your good work. History will be fair to you.

      Kindly see how you can empower African women and youth to attain leadership positions. I believe that a society which gives its youth and women the chance to participate in leadership and decision making will have rapid and unprecedented transformation. We lack youth and women active participation in leadership in Africa and this has not helped our continent.

      I am a youth and contesting for governorship position in Anambra state, Nigeria. One of my key agenda is industrialization. My current major assignment is to assist African youth to takeover leadership from our older generation. They have done well, but their performances were not good enough. We want to take our destiny into our hands.

      I need support financially and otherwise. If there is any way one can support me, contact me through my website https://www.obumneke.com or email, obumnnoli@yahoo.com.

      Regards,
      Obumneke Ejimnkeonye Okafor,
      The Liberator

      Reply
  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Moses writes,

    I am using my degree knowledge in finance to help for free a local tailor on how he can manage his work and be able to increase his earnings to take care of his two children and hopefully use the gesture to be of help to others.

    My reply,
    This is true philanthropy. I’m proud of you.
    Keep it up.

    Reply
  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Musa writes,

    Thanks for being a blessing Mr Strive. Though never met you in person, you have nevertheless influenced my perspective about Africa, career, family and life as a whole tremendously. As i exit medical school in 3 months time to start another phase of life, the significant people in my life will not suffer and i will also not be slothful in my career. Sir, continue to fire us the future of Africa to take responsibility for our own land. Thank you and God bless you. From Nigeria.

    My reply,
    CONGRATULATIONS DOCTOR!!!
    Africa awaits.
    You shall prosper in all that you do.
    God bless you!

    Reply
  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    K Kipkip writes,

    5 BIGGEST REGRETS PEOPLE HAVE BEFORE THEY DIE!

    Content Credit: Bronnie Ware – Author:
    The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.

    “For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

    People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

    When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

    1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

    This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

    It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

    2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

    This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

    By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

    3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

    Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

    We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

    Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

    It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

    5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

    This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

    When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

    Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

    My reply,
    Thank you for sharing.
    More grace to you.
    God bless you.

    Reply
  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought:
    Years ago, I coined the saying:
    “I do not give because I have, I have because I give.”
    #It is more blessed to give than to receive.

    Reply
  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Zaheer writes,

    I have been following Mark Zuckerberg’s tour of America….. would you please partake in a similar tour of Africa’s different ethnic groups.

    My reply,
    As I promised last year, I’m planning to do “Town Hall” type meetings in as many African countries as I can talking to young entrepreneurs (including social entrepreneurs).
    I did a great meeting in Rwanda a few weeks ago.
    My next meeting will in Tanzania (mid July). I’m also scheduled to do Ivory Coast, and Togo.

    I give will more details closer to the time.

    Reply
  15. Nixon B Dauseni

    Thnx Mr Masiyiwa for helpng us to c thngs tht matters most in life.Keep it up wth th gud work u wil also b rewarded for ths.Nixon

    Reply
  16. Kelvin Bembe

    Thank you sir.this current blog has create an impact to understand more what is important in life.

    Reply
  17. Obumneke Ejimnkeonye Okafor

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    One who understands importance of family and friends will appreciate the touching words of Steve Jobs like I did. He will also appreciate Strive Masiyiwa who is helping in sharing the message to the world.

    Strive Masiyiwa, I have read about you. Keep doing your good work. History will be fair to you.

    Kindly see how you can empower African women and youth to attain leadership positions. I believe that a society which gives its youth and women the chance to participate in leadership and decision making will have rapid and unprecedented transformation. We lack youth and women active participation in leadership in Africa and this has not helped our continent.

    I am a youth and contesting for governorship position in Anambra state, Nigeria. One of my key agenda is industrialization. My current major assignment is to assist African youth to takeover leadership from our older generation. They have done well, but their performances were not good enough. We want to take our destiny into our hands.

    I need support financially and otherwise. If there is any way one can support me, contact me through my website https://www.obumneke.com or email, obumnnoli@yahoo.com.

    Regards,
    Obumneke Ejimnkeonye Okafor,
    The Liberator

    Reply

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