-By Zik Gbemre

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was never the kind of person for ostentation displays of wealth. He lived in a modest house in a residential neighbourhood of Palo Alto, had an open driveway and kids from neighbouring houses usually came up trick-or-treating to his house every Halloween. He was a normal guy—a normal guy who changed the world with his genius, but a normal guy nevertheless. Well, except for his car. Jobs was known for his penchant for parking in the handicapped slot in the parking lot at Apple Headquarters and for driving a silver Mercedes SL55 AMG with a blank license plate.


What we find interesting in all of this is the fact that Steve Jobs had all the money one can imagine to own chains of cars, houses, mansions and what have you. Yet, he simply demonstrated such a modest lifestyle that makes one ponder about what we find here in Nigeria amongst the wealthy and super-wealthy. Imagine such a wealthy individual like Steve Jobs, who was highly respected and regarded across the globe, preferred to use one car of the same brand and colour for several years.


Steve Jobs last words will change your views on life. The billionaire passed away at the age of 57 of pancreatic cancer. These are his last words: “I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to. At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I REALIZE THAT ALL THE RECOGNITION AND WEALTH THAT I TOOK SO MUCH PRIDE IN, HAVE PALED AND BECOME MEANINGLESS IN THE FACE OF IMPENDING DEATH.”

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The creator of the short video with Steve Jobs last words went to add his words of wisdom: “You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you. But you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost; LIFE. When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading: ‘Book of a healthy life.’ Whichever stage in life we are right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down. Treasure love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends… Treat yourself well. Cherish others. As we grow older and hence wiser, we slowly realize that wearing a $300 or $30 watch; they both tell the same time… Whether we carry a $300 or $30 wallet/handbag; the amount of money inside is the same… Whether we drive a $150,000 car or a $30,000 car; the road and the distance are the same, and we get to the same destination. Whether we drink a bottle of $300 or $30 wine; the hangover is the same.


“Whether the house we live in is 300 or 3000 Sq. Ft.; loneliness is the same. You will realize, your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world. Whether you fly First or Economy Class, if the plane goes down – you go down with it. Therefore, I hope you realize when you have mates, buddies and friends, brothers and sisters, who you chat with, talk with, sing songs with, talk about north, south, east, west or heaven, hell and earth. That is true happiness!


“Five undeniable facts of life: I). Don’t educate your children to be rich, educate them to be happy. So, when they grow up, they will know the value of things, not the price. 2). Best awarded words in London… Eat your food as your medicine. Otherwise, you have to eat medicine as your food. 3). The Ones who love you will never leave you for another because, even if they have 100 reasons to give up, he or she will find one reason to hold on. 4). There is a big difference between a human being and being human. Only a few really understand it. 5). You are loved when you are born. You will be loved when you die. In-between, you have to manage. Note: if you just want to walk fast, walk alone! But if you want to walk far, walk together! Six best Doctors in the world… 1). Sunlight. 2). Rest. 3). Exercise 4). Diet. 5). Self-Confidence and 6). Friends. Maintain them in all stages of life and enjoy a healthy life. God bless you!”


Truth is if Steve Jobs had been a Nigerian with his level of described wealth and status, his lifestyle and demeanour whenever in public, would be arrogantly dressed. In Nigeria, if we had the likes of Steve Jobs, which we do, we would see such persons owning the state-of-the-art modern fleet of cars -sometimes up to 50 of such cars usually parked in their mansions and covered with tarpaulins or parked under “fanciful garage canopies”. Many wealthy Nigerians have developed the habit of buying and stocking cars that they really do not need or use. Such display of cars, often parked and sometimes covered with tarpaulins or parked under “fanciful garage canopies” is just their way of telling visitors and anyone who cares to listen, that they have arrived.


It is this ‘mindless show of affluence’, or that “I have arrived” status symbol, especially amongst the political class and elites, that is the reason our politicians will keep on stealing and heaping up public funds/loots which even their grandchildren will not easily finish. This is because they will have to ‘maintain such lavish lifestyle’, having arrived there. Someone once said that “a rich man who lives in a high-fenced mansion with the latest fleet of cars packed in his compound, and yet his neighbours cannot afford one square meal a day, is simply the poorest man in that area.” Until we realize as a people that in this life, your personal life will amount to nothing and will soon be forgotten once you are dead when you do not use what you have (material, immaterial or both) to positively affect/impact the lives of those around you. It is what one does in the lives of others and humanity as a whole that ‘outlives’ one, and not the number of cars or mansions owned while here on earth. These material things are ephemeral and vanity.

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One vital lesson we can pick from Steve Jobs, is the fact that a good name and a life lived to positively impact and improve the lives of others, is the best legacy that any person can live behind. And to live a worthy and exemplary life does not mean leaders at all levels, including community leaders, should encourage economic sabotage and illegal activities that would lead to the pollution of their own environment. All in the name of making ‘quick money’ – either by stealing money meant for community development projects, often hijacked by heartless community leaders, or engaging in, and encouraging economic sabotage activities that are detrimental to the natural environment. To make matters worse, even those who speak against such illegalities in society, are tagged the bad ones. This is why we have become a society that encourages backwardness, instead of growth and development.


Without a doubt, the above-described aspect of the life lived by Steve Jobs is laden with life lessons that we all will do well to emulate. For a man with such intelligence, influence in the technology world, to have made humility, modesty, and simplicity the epicentre of his personality, was a phenomenon that nearly transcends logic. And it is by that very fact that he remained more endearing, even after death, but most sacrosanct for all and sundry, more exemplary.

Zik Gbemre.

April 28, 2020.



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