I don't know how you're reading this.
Maybe you've logged on to your desktop computer, or perhaps you're reading this daily blog on your handheld technical device, or even your phone.
If you're as old as me - which is not ancient, but old enough - you might remember a time when we had no computers, and phones were plugged into the wall in your house, office or a 'phone box' on the side of the road.
I think I first saw and used a computer, a very basic one, at work in the 1980s. It was stand alone, and not connected to any other computers. To share information I had to load the data onto a 'floppy disc' which could be inserted into another machine. There was no 'internet' and no fancy graphics. Just black and white, or green on the screen.
It wasn't long though, just a few years, when we had greater 'connectivity'. The World Wide Web was 'invented' in 1989 and by about 1993 it was something we used every day. Initially I could connect (rather slowly and with that distinctive 'dial in' sound) via my telephone line but eventually came what we now know as 'wifi'. What freedom! When it works.
As for a 'mobile' phone, my first was a rather large analogue device which had a cover I flipped open to get to the dialling numbers. It had an aerial I had to extend to get a connection. I think I could text on it and make calls, but nothing else. I'm talking about the early 1990s, so not that long ago in the greater scheme of things.
We've come a long way very quickly. No longer do we need to be 'plugged in' to connect to the world. Today I have a laptop and an I-pad, and an I-phone and I can do pretty much anything I want to on it, on the go, through wifi.
The idea of mobile phones goes right back to the early 20th century and many many people have been involved in the development of the technology down the years.
But I'm going to mention one man today who is synonymous with the development of the personal computer era.
His name was Steve Jobs, and he was born on this day - February 24th - in 1955.
Business magnate and guru, industrial designer, pioneer and innovator. He and Steve Wozniak, a former high school friend, set up Apple Inc in 1976. Under Jobs' leadership as chairman and chief executive, the company has become one of the leading firms, if not THE leading technology company in the world. Think that I-phone and the other tech I mentioned just a few moments ago.
I could say so much about Steve Jobs, but I won't. You can look him up on your I-phone or similar tech device to find out more.
There's no doubt that Steve Jobs inspired not just computer geeks and tech people during his time, but also those who wished to emulate his business acumen and determination to get things done. He was an unconventional character but he created an astonishing legacy which continues to inspire, even though the man himself is no longer with us.
And there's one quote which I found from Steve Jobs, which inspires me. It's part of a longer thought which I offer below, but it starts with this...
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
This is so profound.
Many of us spend our lives trying to please others, and trying to be what others want us to be.
We do jobs that we have no passion for, because our family or our teachers, or our community want us to follow those paths. We believe things because we think if we stop believing we will upset the people around us, or those who taught us, or raised us. Even when it comes to relationships we maybe settle for less than we might, because the world tells us we need to be married, paired up, have children before we're a certain age. Even if we're with the wrong person. We tie ourselves into careers because they bring us money to buy the house, buy the clothes, have the holidays, live the life that 'everyone' lives.
And think about the celebrity culture.
So many people think if they look like, sound like, wear the same things as those they perceive to be 'successful' then they will successful too. But one of the reasons that the celebrity who we might try to emulate were successful in the first place is because they WERE at the start, different and distinct. Original. By copying them you are a poor facsimile, just a copy. Not original at all.
Take the example of music ... today's popular music. Listen to the charts and many of the successful downloads of tracks, and you may notice that many of them sound the same. That 'breathy' rather 'whiney' sound where the singers slur their words. Many of them, when they occasionally sing 'properly' without that affectation, have great voices. But they adopt this sound because others have made a success with it. But what the copycat musicians forget is that the original artist made it BECAUSE they sounded 'different. They were original.
Maybe if people had the courage to follow their OWN style, rather than just copying what they think will make them successful, they might actually get what they so long for. And if not, well at least they've been true to themselves.
I know I've been part of the system. I've been guilty of doing things, and making even important decisions in my life, because I thought it was 'expected of me'. I've stayed in jobs I dislike or am bored with because I don't want to let people down and to be seen to be walking away from 'a good situation'. I've missed opportunities because I haven't been brave enough to step outside the expectations I think others have of me. It's so complicated.
But the older I get, and the shorter the amount of time I know is left to me, the braver I become.
I'm not sure yet where this might lead me... but today, on this anniversary of Steve Jobs' birth, I take his thoughts on board and determine not to waste any more time living a life that is not mine.