The two endpoints of everyone’s rainbow are birth and death. We all experience both completely alone. And yet, most people of your age have not thought about these events very much, much less even seen them in others. How many of you have seen the birth of another human? It is a miracle. And how many of you have witnessed the death of a human? It is a mystery beyond our comprehension. No human alive knows what happens to “us” upon or after our death. Some believe this, others that, but no one really knows at all. Again, most people of your age have not thought about these events very much, and it’s as if we shelter you from them, afraid that the thought of mortality will somehow wound you. For me it’s the opposite: to know my arc will fall makes me want to blaze while I am in the sky. Not for others, but for myself, for the trail I know I am leaving.
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.
I was suspicious that Jobs hadn't done much thinking about death prior to being diagnosed with cancer. Clearly he mentioned dying more often after the diagnosis, but it appears he had a healthy respect for the concept much of his life.
A critical (recurring) moment in individual development is when one encounters the realization of their transience. This is followed by a variable period of uncertainty and then a decision as to how to act (memento mori, existential crisis, the meaning of life, spirituality, etc). This is a moment that we as a culture spend a lot of time running away from.
Jobs' approach to this moment seems to be the epitome of the American Dream complicated by dramatic bumps in the road with a happy ending. Definitely something that we as a culture look up to. Any run of the mill celebrity will be envied and emulated because of their success, with bonus points if you cultivate the American Dream. Jobs is revered because he shared at least a little of these critical moments, and that makes him human. The good news is that there are a whole lot of humans around, we just need to speak up.
Obviously Jobs was an exceptional marketer and some very smart people do their best to aid other people and entities in appearing human. We cannot know what these things truly believe, but we can look at their actions over a period of time. If those actions are consistent with a particular characterization, separating out Idea from Reality is unnecessary and pointless (*to the generally uninvolved bystander. By all means, if you are developing some sort of thing capable of action, it would make your job simpler to understand its intent).