What inspires you? Optima 10 pt, bold

October 8, 2011

What inspires you? Is it in your heart or handed to you by someone else?

With the passing of visionary Steve Jobs, I have encountered some of his words that resonated with me. Would I have found these quotations while he was alive? Maybe not. Do they hold a higher truth? Maybe not. Do they remind me to listen to what inspires me and follow my heart? Yes, very much.

[Taken from his 2005 commencement address to Stanford University graduates]

“ Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

” None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.

” No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~ Steve Jobs

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

Thank you, Mr. Jobs, for everything. We owe you those risks we will take to make things better by following our hearts.

If posting images of calligrapher Hermann Zapf’s typography which became core fonts in Mac OS doesn’t make sense to you – let this inspire you to follow Steve Jobs’ experience and learn more. Allow calligraphy to influence you, too, to create greater things in your world.

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