If this doesn't inspire you, you might be dead

by Tom E
31 replies
I FRIGGING LOVE THIS!
Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple) really gets it. Take 10 minutes out of your day and read this amazing article if you want a boost right now. Who knows, it may even change your life.

Stanford Report, June 14, 2005
'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky -- I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation -- the Macintosh -- a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me -- I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.
#dead #inspiration #inspire #law of attraction #steve jobs #universe
  • Profile picture of the author cjv01
    Hi

    You don't have to read and understand anything else apart from the opening line...

    'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

    Shame that most people get it mixed up with 'Do what you love and the money will follow' - as once you bring money into the equation you start messing it all up!

    I firmly believe that ALL of us have a 'world class' ability at something - that we LOVE to do - that COULD make our fortune.

    But...you approach it all the wrong way if you start from the viewpoint of making money from it first!

    To Our Success!

    Gary
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom E
      Originally Posted by cjv01 View Post

      I firmly believe that ALL of us have a 'world class' ability at something - that we LOVE to do - that COULD make our fortune.

      But...you approach it all the wrong way if you start from the viewpoint of making money from it first!
      Gary
      I couldn't agree more Gary. Sadly, most people never get that and spend the rest of their lives chasing dream after unfulfilled dream, not realizing that all they have to do is stop and smell the roses.
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  • Profile picture of the author Devin T
    I'm sure for many people out there, they can't simply find what they love and persue it. Otherwise, we all be Steve Jobs. I believe that one of the mean goals for us is to find a happy medium, so create goals and aspects of life that we do enjoy so that @ the end of the day we can know that we are happy with where things have gone. Sure, your job may not be the best, but it allows you to support your family, and they're happy. If your family is what truly bring you happiness, then I could do that job for eternity to ensure that their happiness continues.

    Now of course, I am not saying to pass up an opportunity that you know will add to that happiness (like a new job offer in your dream field), but if you are stuck in something that isn't the most fun, ask yourself: what is it in life that truly drives me. See if that aspect is being nurished.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom E
      Originally Posted by Devin T View Post

      I believe that one of the mean goals for us is to find a happy medium, so create goals and aspects of life that we do enjoy so that @ the end of the day we can know that we are happy with where things have gone. Sure, your job may not be the best, but it allows you to support your family, and they're happy. If your family is what truly bring you happiness, then I could do that job for eternity to ensure that their happiness continues.
      I get where you're coming from Devin. At the same time, that's your limited subconscious beliefs talking. Why not have the happy family AND your dream job? The ONLY thing stopping you from having both is your beliefs.

      To each his own - for some people, working as a construction worker, plumber, grocery store clerk or other service jobs actually makes them happy and I say more power to them!

      Steve Jobs was speaking to those not thrilled to death about their current reality. Because if you're not, the first way to change that around is to find things to be thrilled about in your current job. Keep doing that until you're no longer disliking your job at all.

      At that point, if you're still not fulfilled in that job, you can move on, and the move will be very easy, as your strong vibration of not liking the job will no longer hold you to that job.

      We are here to be happy - not to find a happy medium. If you still disagree, complete the two following sentences and see which one makes you feel better:

      I would love to be happy.

      I would love to find a happy medium.

      Again, the only reason for you not being happy about every aspect in your life right now, is your own belief system. But that's the great thing, because you can start changing that right now.
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      • Profile picture of the author Devin T
        Originally Posted by gr8tocre8 View Post

        I get where you're coming from Devin. At the same time, that's your limited subconscious beliefs talking. Why not have the happy family AND your dream job? The ONLY thing stopping you from having both is your beliefs.

        To each his own - for some people, working as a construction worker, plumber, grocery store clerk or other service jobs actually makes them happy and I say more power to them!

        Steve Jobs was speaking to those not thrilled to death about their current reality. Because if you're not, the first way to change that around is to find things to be thrilled about in your current job. Keep doing that until you're no longer disliking your job at all.

        At that point, if you're still not fulfilled in that job, you can move on, and the move will be very easy, as your strong vibration of not liking the job will no longer hold you to that job.

        We are here to be happy - not to find a happy medium. If you still disagree, complete the two following sentences and see which one makes you feel better:

        I would love to be happy.

        I would love to find a happy medium.

        Again, the only reason for you not being happy about every aspect in your life right now, is your own belief system. But that's the great thing, because you can start changing that right now.
        I consider myself a realist and although I feel many have the potential to achieve their dream jobs, etc. I feel that most do not. That is why I feel it is a practical need to be able to find a happy medium in life. If you hate your job, leave it. I'm sure you can find something that better suits you. However, be smart about those decisions. Have a plan. For the best luck, you should strive for finding that dream job when you're life is most flexible: when you're young and free of heavy commitments.
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        • Profile picture of the author Tom E
          Originally Posted by Devin T View Post

          I consider myself a realist and although I feel many have the potential to achieve their dream jobs, etc. I feel that most do not. That is why I feel it is a practical need to be able to find a happy medium in life. If you hate your job, leave it. I'm sure you can find something that better suits you. However, be smart about those decisions. Have a plan. For the best luck, you should strive for finding that dream job when you're life is most flexible: when you're young and free of heavy commitments.
          Gotcha Devin, we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, as we have completely different beliefs
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  • Profile picture of the author Breeze7
    Love it...

    "Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,
    Brenda
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  • Profile picture of the author imdebarkle
    Thanks for posting this.

    It's just what I needed today.

    Cheers,
    Rachel
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  • Profile picture of the author bekkinz
    great read, thank you very much
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  • Profile picture of the author cscott5288
    very inspiring, thanks for posting this
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Klatt
    The message offers wisdom at almost every turn. I appreciate you sharing it with us.

    Warmly,
    Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author DavesVenture
      It is a most truly inspiring story. A rare public revelation by one of the wealthiest persons in the world. And a treasure trove of wisdom to cherish and pass on to others.

      Finding our passion is what fuels our desire to live abundantly.

      Time just seemingly disappears when we're involved in an activity that demands our attention and focus. And if the activity is fun and enjoyable, so much the better and that much more fulfilling.

      A song comes to mind that references what Steve spoke on regarding living as if it's your last day, by Tim McGraw -- "Live Like You Were Dying".

      It is an ideal speech that anyone in need of some serious motivation can turn to.

      I've watched it on YouTube numerous times.

      Thanks, gr8tocre8
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  • Profile picture of the author Norma Holt
    A wonderful inspiring story. Its amazing how many truly successful people never finished college.

    It is my belief that everything happens for a reason and here to it goes to show that we are not in control of our lives. If we were we would surely muck them up and the dots would never connect.

    No matter how bad something seems at the time there is a reason. We don't have to look for it because it will come in time.

    God bless.

    Norma
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  • Profile picture of the author The G Man
    Great post, thanks for sharing this with us. I believe that everyone of us has the ability to achieve greatness in a particular area. The problem is that most people just trudge through their lives complaining about almost everything. A major influence in my life has been Jim Rohn. Jim says that as humans we are unique. If we are not satisfied we have the ability to change our goals and direction very quickly. We are not like Geese who have to fly South at the same particular time of year. Or like a Tree that is rooted to one spot. If you are not totally happy with your life and what you are doing right now find out what inspires tou, makes you happiest and follow your dreams. I am also mid way through 'The 4 Hour Work Week' by Timothy Ferris which is a great read and is also on the same lines.
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  • Profile picture of the author JackTheLad
    'You've got to find what you love,' - Yep.

    But when you find what you love, you must be ready to take action on it...
    In the words of Pablo Picasso - "Action is the foundational key to all success."

    Then when you actually start to take action, in order to bring in the big bucks, you must try immensly hard to provide real value for your buyers. Henry Ford once said -

    "The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed."



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  • Profile picture of the author Li Weng
    This is a great article!
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  • Profile picture of the author traces2757
    Beautiful. The message is profound in its simplicity. I love that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adam Jackson
    I love this:

    Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

    Thanks for posting this gr8tocre8!
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  • Profile picture of the author todd wetzelberger
    every time I read this story, it puts me back on center where I belong.
    thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author GlynisG
    Indeed, if this doesn't inspire you, you might be dead.
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  • Profile picture of the author perfectlovehere
    Steve Jobs certainly seemed to know a whole lot about how to market and create roaring fans. Definitely worth looking into.
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  • Profile picture of the author jameswatson2002
    This has been posted many places, and every time I watch it I get something new out of it!
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  • Profile picture of the author DanEitreim
    I agree that this was a good and inspirational read. As I think back on it, most of my biggest successes in life have come as a response to some tragedy. (Like getting fired or getting dumped, etc.)
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  • Profile picture of the author jivens
    Banned
    Great share! That was absolutely amazing to read!
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  • Profile picture of the author lacicox
    Thank you so much for sharing this, truly inspiring.
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