Steve Jobs said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me…Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful…that’s what matters to me.”
He made this statement in 1999, well before his cancer diagnosis. At the time of his death he was worth $10 billion. His estate is now worth $30 billion. He could have been much richer but he sold shares of Apple when they ousted him. He used the money to create something else wonderful: Pixar Studios.
Not everyone who creates something wonderful will be fabulously wealthy. My husband and I have created many wonderful things and we’re not the least bit wealthy. In fact, money can be a problem when what you create is not something purchased by millions of people.
The most important thing he and I created together is not for sale.
First it was this:
And eventually grew to this:
Our children have continued onward to create their own wonderfulness, with families of their own as well as many other more or less tangible things which may or may not be for sale.
Another thing Bruce and I created was this pond.
Unfortunately, it no longer exists due to a very harsh winter when the pump went out suddenly. Our beautiful fish died, and it was the saddest event of our year. We never did restock or rebuild the pond, and a short time later we sold the house.
For Steve Jobs, since what he created was something desired and purchased by millions of people, money was only a problem at the beginning until he got investors and ridiculous success.
When children create something wonderful, they aren’t thinking about money. Here’s my youngest son when he was ten, showing off the 100 peanut butter balls he made. Notice how perfectly he shaped them and placed them on the trays.
It can be a challenge to balance the creative side with the economic side. It takes work to build the thing, and it takes money to fund the work. The thing may or may not lead to more money. One never knows for sure. It may take all the money and not give any back. That happens. It’s the risk that comes with creating something wonderful.
For some people, that risk isn’t worth the effort. For me, it always is.