The Greatest Gift In Life

Today’s article pays tribute to an extraordinary creative who has just passed. It also may be the most interesting article I’ve ever written for, at least, it is in my mind.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that recently we lost one of the great creative minds of our time, Steve Jobs.

The week following his death, there was a plethora of articles, tweets, status updates etc. expressing the gratitude and reverence for the man who not only changed the physical world through the fruits of his creative expression, but changed our internal world through his inspiring words and living example of triumph against incredible odds.

Now, two or three weeks after his death, he’s slipped out of view again. “Steve Jobs” is no longer trending on Twitter or getting tagged in articles and his quotes have disappeared from Facebook updates.

In this article, I’d like to share with you a few of the insights I’ve had as I reflected upon the ending of the life of Steve Jobs. This article also relates to one of the pointers he left the living to consider as we set the course for our own lives.

The Gift That Hits Like Sledgehammer

One of the realizations that hit like a sledgehammer as I reflected on the life and death of Steve Jobs was that my own choices and course I’ve set for myself in life are screaming at me louder than ever to take a good hard look at myself in the wake of his passing. 

Ironically, all this has been facilitated by the technology he created. The MacBook and the iPhone I use have been flooding me all week with reminders to scrutinize what the hell I’m doing with my life.

If you’re living in a world that’s been influenced by Steve Jobs, like me, your time spent online in the week following his passing had a barrage of quotes and snippets of speeches from him telling you to “have courage to follow your heart and intuition… don’t lose faith… find what you love and do it… don’t settle until you do…” and perhaps most importantly “your time is limited.”

Your Time Is Limited

I say this is of more significance than the other points because unless you really get that last phrase in a truly visceral manner, then all the other points turn into fairy floss – light, fluffy, pretty and sweet – but completely devoid of any lasting life enhancing value. They can be deftly shared around social media in a fuzzy feel good way, and just as conveniently forgotten. As the tidal wave of Job’s influential and inspiring words recedes with shock of his passing, you go back to business as usual… unless you’re extremely aware of your own mortality.

You get a glimpse of your mortality when someone dies. It has more impact if it’s someone personally close to you or someone like Steve Jobs who has had a massive impact in the way you live even though you’ve never met them. Death is a great gift for the living, because it forces you to examine your own life and ask yourself the hard questions like:

  • “What the hell am I doing?”
  • “Am I using the days of my life to do what I really love?”
  • “Is the course I’ve set for myself taking me in the direction of my dreams or am I treading water – or even worse, going in the opposite direction?”

Why You Lose Sight Of The Gift

The big problem is that most people don’t seem capable of retaining the awareness that your time is limited. You don’t seem to fully grasp this until you’ve had a first hand experience of your own mortality. So you don’t keep examining your life and asking yourself those hard questions, and it’s all too easy to bury your dreams under the weight of daily routine and responsibility. The daily grind is a killer of dreams, and it often takes a near death experience to escape the daily grind and breathe life back into your dreams.

Here Is The Gift, Don’t Forget To Take It With You

The people I’ve met who have had first hand experience of staring into the face of death all share a common gift.

I’ve interviewed a few of them for this blog, including Kerwin Rae, John Assaraf and Jeremy Britton.

The gift they get is a lasting awareness that their time is limited. They no longer waste their time living someone else’s life. They have the courage to follow their hearts and intuition, and they don’t care if their lives don’t match the commonly held image of success prescribed by society. They do care about doing what they love, they do care about going to bed at night having done something wonderful, something that matters to them.

These are all the things Steve Jobs urged us to do again and again through his words and by his life’s example. But the people I see who live like this are the “lucky” ones who have been blessed with a life threatening situation that leaves them with a lasting impression that their time is limited.

What If I Already Forgot To Take It With Me?

So what about everyone else? We all want to have the courage to follow our hearts and intuition, we all want to go to bed at night having done something wonderful that matters to us. How do we sustain an awareness of our own mortality and harness its power to drive us in the direction of our dreams?

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to turn this article into a series of articles to keep the hard questions alive in your mind and remind you to keep asking yourself them. You’re all intensely aware of the magnitude of Steve Job’s impact on this planet from following his heart and intuition and never settling for less than his dreams. I’m going to write about some of the people living now who are striving to accomplish feats as massive as those accomplished by Steve Jobs in his lifetime, people who have the capacity to change the world and are doing something about it. (BTW, you have the same capacity.)

You Need Kindling To Keep Your Dreams Alive

“To keep dreams alive, you need to breathe life into them everyday – your life.”

The other reason for writing this series of articles is to inspire you to keep following your dreams, whatever they are. Everyone I am going to write about in this series is no different from you or me. Anyone who creates anything that leaves a lasting influence in this world is actually identical to you and me in almost every way. The main thing that sets them apart is they had a clearly defined dream, a strategy to make it happen and they took the necessary steps to bring their dream to life.

I don’t want you to go back to business as usual any more than I want me to go back to business as usual. If you really want to celebrate the life of a great creative visionary of our time, don’t just hit the retweet or share button, do something more to keep your dreams alive.

Whatever it takes, whether it’s creating a series of articles, videos, getting more connected with people, going for a ride on your skateboard. I don’t care what it is, as long as it rekindles the light in your eyes and fire in your heart.

Thanks for the reminder Steve.



P.S. For whatever reason, this article runs a million threads of further insight and inspiration for me to write more.

I’m going to include in the series something that relates to the aspect of fading from consciousness once a life or death becomes yesterday’s news. When you think about it, we’re all busy creating and trying to get noticed for our work, and it’s a bit of a wake up call to see that even someone with the creative impact of Steve Jobs becomes yesterday’s news only a few weeks after his departure.

What does it take to stay in people’s minds? Obviously, being alive gives you more of a chance to accomplish this…so you have one advantage.

About Neroli Makim

Neroli Makim is an intuitive artist and writer who loves exploring Creativity and its relationship to personal fulfillment and professional success. She educates people about Creativity, what it is, why it’s important and how to access it within themselves. For more information, visit

Follow Yaro

View Yaro Starak's profile on LinkedIn
Follow us on Instagram


  • Only a luckiest few can retain their image in the minds of others. Rest would fade out in due course. A well written philosophical tribute to the great man.

    • Thanks Sreekumar:) I was so inspired by his life that this article was effortless to write. It’s truly amazing how powerful the inspirational life of another person can serve to awaken the gifts we have within, cheers, neroli

  • What a great article Neroli! Of course things like Steve Job’s passing makes us all briefly realise that life is short – and we should get out there and live life on our own terms and do what really makes us happy. I love the idea of a series of articles to keep this idea alive. I often wonder how bad the experience you have needs to be to keep you motivated to do this. Is it a case of the worse or more serious the bad experience – the longer the motivation lasts?
    So many successful people have had huge hurdles to overcome- things that must remain in their conscious or subconscious mind enough to keep them motivated!
    Too often I have read articles like this- things that motivate me – only to find the motivation fade soon after!

    Thanks for sharing this – I shall be following and reading your series of articles – and RIGHT NOW I’m going to start taking action myself – and work out a longer term plan to keep it going!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

    • YAY Jill:) i hope the action taking went well! I loved the idea of a series of articles too, it really breathed life into my own dreams just thinking about it. I’ve got an interview booked with one of the people I’m going to be writing about too, so very buzzed:) cheers, neroli

  • Since I first heard it in 2006, I’ve made a habit of listening to Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement speech (or reading a transcript) at least once every month – and have done for five years.

    It’s because the words and message are transformational.

    Specific phrases in it gave me the courage, when I was hesitating, to take a plunge and follow my dream of working entirely on my non-profit, instead of pursuing a more conventional career path.

    I’ve blogged about it (and Steve) before:

    Dare to be Different

    100 Years Later, Who Matters? (about Steve, from Feb.2011)

    I *love* this quote from your article, will keep it somewhere to refer to often.

    “To keep dreams alive, you need to breathe life into them everyday – your life.”
    Awesome! Thanks for a fine article, Neroli.

    • Hey Dr. Mani, I listened to that video for the first time this year and you are right; those words were transformational. I’m going to borrow a leaf from you and listen to it as often as I can. The message has helped me learn to focus on what matters and leave the fluff aside (most of the time).

    • Hey Dr. Mani:) i love your articles!

      So glad you’re chuffed about that quote, I was very pleased when it popped into my head it too.

      I’ll have to go over and read those articles in your links too. Doing something everyday, like you did by watching his speech is a great idea, one to be implemented immediately! John Assaraf talks about that as well, it seems everyone who does accomplish great things & make their dreams a reality follow this practice.
      Cheers, neroli

  • yes-a near death experience can be a life affirming transformation…how beautiful it is just to breathe~ to beAlive*

    • Hey Kara:) How’s the creative genius going today? It is beautiful to just breath & be alive. Sometimes when my life gets manic & stressful, i forget this & miss the blessing if it : /
      Chat soon! Cheers, neroli

  • Neroli truly inspirational, and very True.
    We need to stop living artificial lives, and live our dreams. We at times wish we had something or did something, but in reality no one is stopping us except our self’s.
    Do think twice, live your dream, you only live once.

    • hey Wasim 🙂 I’m used to seeing you on twitter, but I’m sure I’ve seen you here before in comments too, thanks for dropping by. It’s so easy to let those important truths like “you only live once” become cliches, but the older I get, the more they hit home!
      cheers, neroli

  • I also find myself trying desperately to remind myself of this idea every day. Good luck on your journey Neroli!

    • Hey mark 😉 many thanks for the well wishes as I head out in the direction of my dreams:) It’s fun but difficult sometimes too, I hope you’re having lots of fun with it as well, cheers, neroli

  • Very insightful article Neroli and so much to take in. Death is a gift and there is nothing sadder than a wasted life, that is a life spent being unfulfilled. Steve Jobs was right; we need to do what makes us happy and fulfill our dreams. My dream has always been to write. Not quite in the way I’m doing it right now (as a freelance writer) but at least I’m on the path. I aim to always be true to my heart and my purpose in life – and we all have a purpose.

    Thanks for this post.


    • hey Sharon, what kind of writing do you want to do?

      I’ve written my first book, I’ve got the material ready for my second, just don’t have the time to put it together yet! I hope like anything you do start writing the way you want to. A friend of mine who I met through facebook has always wanted to write. She has started just by blogging for her business and feels at least it feels like a start for her moving in the direction of her dreams 🙂
      Cheers, neroli

  • One of the things that death always reminds me of is the fact that existence is longer than our lives. No matter how long someone lives, it is less than a blink of an eye in the timeline of the existence of the universe.

    Thats why its important for me to remember to do things and focus on things that will outlast me. Yes, fulfilling my dreams is important, but once I’m dead and gone I want what I’ve done on this earth to keep making an impact. Thats what my life is about. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • Wow Ralph, that’s a powerful awareness to maintain!

      Dr Demartini speaks about that a lot, he says the masters don’t think in terms of their lifetime, they think in terms of erternity…well, maybe at least a few hundred or thousand years beyond their lifetime. I think it’s almost impossible for humans to properly comprehend eternity, as we’d need to be able to experience it to “get” it.

      As long as you think like that, I’m sure you’ll accomplish extraordinary things in the blink of an eye lifetime you have here:) Thanks for that great comment, cheers, neroli

  • great article thnx neroli ^^ .

    • Hey:) I have no idea how to write, read or say your name so
      i’ll just say “hi” 🙂 I’m really glad you liked the article, thanks for checking it out & leaving a comment, cheers, neroli.

  • Every person has some unique qualities but most of them can’t deliver because they can’t manage their time, Time is limited and if you want to do something exceptional then you must learn the art of time management.

    I’ve heard an article which stats that Steve Jobs couldn’t complete his studies but he still manages to invent some invaluable things in his lifetime. That’s because of his creative thinking and passion to do his work.

    • Hey aaron, you’re quite right about time management being so important. I’m not the greatest in the world at it, but the people I know who are get so much done every day. Cheers:) neroli

  • Thank you for this inspiring article. I have also recently written about Steve Jobs at my blog which I write in my native language. His life is the greatest inspiration to me and the bright example of daring to live your dreams to the fullest.
    Although I find the thought of living your last day very sad and I don’t like to think that way, it can certainly give you the energy and motivation to perform your very best.

    • hey Milos, thanks for your support of the article even though you don’t like thinking about the topic of dying. It’s great to know there are articles inspired by Steve on blogs in different languages – that’s a cool legacy to leave 🙂 Thanks for checking out this one & thanks for leaving a comment, cheers, neroli

  • Hey Neroli
    I love the quote about needing to breathe life into your dreams every day, it is very timely for me. Life is way to short to be wasted doing anything but what you love to do. Looking forward to the future posts on how to keep the dreams alive.

    Cheers Beanie

    • Hey Adam 🙂 Glad you like the quote, this article was a timely piece for me to write as well, cheers, neorli

  • Hi Neroli

    It’s easy to lose sight of our dreams but being reminded of what is important to us and what fires our passion is vital to living a full and meaningful life…. thanks for this blog!

    Kind regards

    • Hey Vanessa 😉 Thanks for popping over to read the article & leave a comment. Passion is an interesting one, we certainly need it to make things happen in this world, cheers, neroli

  • What an article Neroli, Awesome and really loved it. Though Steve Jobs has left us but he left being his legacy and people can get inspiration from those…

    • Hey Shilpi 🙂 Thanks for your comment & I’m glad you liked the article – it was easy to write due to Steve’s inspiring life, cheers, neroli

  • Good article, I enjoyed it. Looking forward to your future articles. One of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes is “My job is to say when something sucks rather than sugarcoat it.”

    • hey christi:) thanks for your comment & that’s a GREAT quote! cheers, neroli

  • i hope the action taking went well! I loved the idea of a series of articles too, it really breathed life into my own dreams just thinking about it. I’ve got an interview booked with one of the people I’m going to be writing about too, so very buzzed

    • Hey Sudha, that’s great news about booking yr interview, i hope it went well:) thanks for your comment too, cheers, neroli

  • Its such a shame he passed away, I really would have liked to see what Apple could have become with him still around.

    • I guess we’ll have to wait and see if there are enough good people in there to keep it going hey Chris? Cheers, neroli

  • Awesome article Neroli! People like you brighten up my day. As much as I pride myself on always following my dreams, these kind of reminders that wonderful people like yourself create for us are necessary on the long, pleasant journey to true happiness.

    I particularly love your comment about not caring if our lives “don’t match the commonly held image of success prescribed by society”. This is particularly true for me lately – my dreams are so different to those of most people around me, it’s reassuring to hear your words, so thanks a lot. 🙂

    Also, you refer to “people who have the capacity to change the world and are doing something about it. (BTW, you have the same capacity.)” I love that your definition of “following your dream” is not just one for personal gain, but that you believe anyone with the motivation to do so, can change the world. I totally agree!! Thanks for the beautiful reminder 🙂

    • Wow Adam 🙂 I can feel your bubbling enthusiasm in your comment! It’s so cool to know that certain parts of the article really hit the spot you need them to, and I’m so glad it’s a timely reminder.

      I’ve just submitted my next article, and at the end I talk about being true to myself. In regard to my life matching a commonly held image of success – it doesn’t – but I’m so incredibly happy doing exactly what I’m currently doing & feel like I’m right on track with my own truth. It’s a tricky balance, but great to find your own centre, I wish you the best with it, cheers, neroli

  • Thank for remind of death and reminded me that life is short. I didn’t think about this matter for long time. Too busy to live my ordinary life and tried to fulfill what people want me to do. Great article, Neroli.

    • Thanks Ranu 😉 Writing this article was a great reminder for me too! cheers, neroli

  • Great article Neroli and thank you for sharing it with us.

    I can only hope that I leave a tiny footprint on earth that is 1/1000th as good as Mr Jobs has. He not only changed the world, he made it easier to live in.


    • Yeah Terry, he sure did:) Cool to have had Steve on the planet at the same time as us huh? Cheers, neroli

  • Awesone article, Neroli.

    I love the qoute “To keep dreams alive, you need to breathe life into them everyday – your life.”

    I would just add “and grow your dreams with love – All the love that Christ have put in your heart.”


  • Hi Neroli

    I am in awe of how certain people come into this world and go on to make such a huge difference. I wonder what it is that motivates and drives them and of course there are so many different reasons.

    It does make you reflect upon yourself as an individual and what it is you can do to actually contribute and leave something behind that others remember. Most of us live fairly ordinary lives and the impetus to get out of the rut and truly make more of our life passes us by.

    To rise out of mediocrity is a dream that many have and although most fail, the struggle of trying is worth every ounce of strength and will power.

    keep up with the great articles.


  • The greatest thing Steve Jobs taught the world was how to make your dreams come true and how to get up after you fall from the tower you created and own it again, proving that the creator is always bigger than the invention.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Yaro: Email | RSS | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube