“You can’t plan to meet the people who will change your life. It just happens. Maybe it’s random, maybe its fate. Either way, you can’t plan for it. But you want to recognize it when it happens, and have the courage and clarity of mind to grab onto it.” – Steve Jobs
It was standing room only. The meeting hall was packed. Stanford Business School frequently invited industry experts to speak to their MBA students. On this particular occasion, the room was completely full. Students were still coming in only to discover there were no seats left. They started sitting in the aisles. One of the professors, concerned about the safety of the students and the fire marshal code, started telling the students in the aisles that they would need to leave. He made his way down the rows evicting the reluctant students from the lecture hall. A young lady, not wanting to be evicted, spotted a few empty seats in the front of the room. They were clearly reserved for the speaker and any dignitaries that would accompany them, but it was worth a shot. She quickly made her way up to the front and sat in one of those open chairs. Moments later, a young man made his way up at sat in the seat next to her. He noticed her and smiled.
The lecture was about to begin. After some introductory chatter, the man next to the young lady stood up to give the talk. She was shocked. She smiled at him as he spoke. Midway through his lecture he lost his train of thought as he stared at her in the front row. She had clearly taken his attention. He managed to keep going and completed his talk. Many of the students came up to speak with him after the lecture. She was there too. He hoped to have the chance to speak with her, but suddenly she was gone. Where did she go? He was afraid he would never see her again. He wrapped up his conversations and left too. To his surprise and delight, he ran in to her again in the parking lot. “Would you have dinner with me?” he asked boldly. She agreed and gave him her phone number.
The young man needed to leave quickly. A group of important customers wanted to meet him for dinner. He was walking to his car when it hit him. “If this was the last day of my life, would I rather have dinner with the customers or her?” The answer was clear. He raced back, just as she was about to drive off. Catching his breath, he asked with a smile, “How about dinner tonight?” She smiled back, “Sure.” Eighteen months later, that visiting lecturer, Steve Jobs, and the brave young MBA student, Laurene Powell, would be married.
I love that story! I love how Laurene had the courage to sit up front and I love how Steve had the courage and clarity to turn around. Those bold choices and seemingly random encounters with other people can change our lives forever. You never know when it will happen, but be ready to grasp it when it does. Steve used the powerful filter, “If this was the last day of my life, would I…?” It’s a great question. It distills decisions down to their enduring essence. It provides a timeless perspective and gives courage to follow your heart.
We are in a time of rapid change. New opportunities will appear. Challenges will arise. Unplanned moments will roll out before us as the story of our life unfolds. But we have choices to make. Choose wisely. Be available. Be brave. The future is full of wonderful possibilities! Don’t miss them. Have the courage and clarity of mind to grab onto them when they happen. It may even come along and sit in the seat next to you.
Story from: Make Something Wonderful - Steve Jobs in his own words by the Steve Jobs Archive.