3 stories in Steve Jobs' 'classic' speech at Stanford University
For the first time, Steve Jobs - the founder and CEO of Apple technology company - talked about his life, about why he dropped out of college, about love, life and even death.
In 2005, Steve Jobs was invited to attend the graduation ceremony for Stanford University students as a guest of honor. Here, in front of thousands of students, Steve Jobs gave a speech that lasted less than 15 minutes but what he said became "classics". For the first time in his life full of his ups and downs, glory and bitterness, Steve Jobs revealed things he never said as the reason why he dropped out of school, about love, life and even about death.
Up to now, his quotes have been cited by many people, used as "guidelines" for their lives.
On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs permanently left at age 56. In memory of Steve Jobs, let's listen to the speech and the three stories of his life.
I am very honored to be present at the graduation ceremony of your graduation today at the most prestigious university in the world. I have never had a college diploma.
Honestly speaking, I never really went to college. Today, I want to tell you three stories that happened in my life. Just like that, nothing big, simply three stories.
The first story is about connecting dots
I left school after just six months of attending Reed College, I stayed there temporarily for another 18 months before I officially left Reed College.
Why did I drop out?
I started that when I was born. My biological mother was a young, single female student and she decided to give me up for adoption. She really wants me to be adopted by college graduates. So, everything was set up for me to be adopted by a lawyer couple. However, all that was changed at the last minute when I was crying, they changed their mind and wanted to adopt a baby girl, not me.
Therefore, my adoptive parents now receive a phone call in the middle of the night asking if I want to receive me, an unexpectedly born baby boy or not. My parents answered that of course. However, after that, my biological mother knew that my future adoptive mother had not graduated from college and that my adoptive father had not graduated from high school, she refused to sign adoption papers. A few months later she agreed when my adoptive parents promised to let me go to college.
17 years later, I also went to college, but I was naive to choose a prestigious university on par with Stanford. All my parents' savings had to be spent to pay for me. After six months, I couldn't see the benefits of going to college. I don't have an answer about what I will do with my life and I don't believe the university can help me answer that question. I spent all my parents' savings saving my room when I retired to college. So I decided to quit school and believe that everything will be fine too. At that time, everything seemed very difficult but when I looked back, I found that it was my best decision. The moment I dropped out, I gave up on subjects that I didn't like, instead, I started to learn other subjects that seemed much more interesting.
Things didn't go smoothly. I didn't have a room so I had to sleep under the floor in my friends' room. I make money to buy food with 5 USD, pay back the Coca-cola bottles and the week I walk 7 miles across the city to get a good meal at Hare Krishna camp. I enjoyed the food there. Later, I learned that what I had to go through trying to pursue my passion was invaluable. I'll give you an example:
Perhaps at that time, Reed College was the only school in the country to introduce fine art writing. At all campuses, all posters and titles of all drawings are beautifully hand-written. Because I quit school and didn't have to take the usual compulsory courses, I decided to take a good writing art course. I learned how to write sharp letters on the legs, changes in the distance between the strokes, learned how to present a large print so beautifully. I realize that this is a subtly artistic, historical and beautiful subject that science cannot do.
Those things seem to have no practical meaning to my life. However, 10 years later, when we were designing the first generation of Machintosh computers, all that seemed to come back to me and we designed to install all those letters. on the computer, the Machintosh was the first computer to have beautiful artistic typography. If I didn't participate in that course at school, the Mac would never have so many fonts. Since Windows copied those letters from the Mac, there was no personal computer without those fonts. If I do not drop out of school and do not take part in the beautiful writing course, then all personal computers may not have them now. Of course, when I was in college, I couldn't connect those landmarks when it was in the future ahead. But 10 years later these things are very, very clear.
Once again, I want to tell you, we cannot know if the landmarks are connected in the future, you can only know those things when looking back. So, please believe that, in a way, the landmarks will connect with you in your future. You also need to believe in some other things: determination, destiny, life, cause and effect or whatever. That method has never disappointed me and it has made changes in my life.
My second story is about love and loss
I was very lucky when I wanted to start working very early. Woz and I started the first pages for Apple's history in my parents' garage when I was 20 years old. We worked very hard after 10 years, from just 2 people, in the small garage, Apple has grown into a US $ 2 billion company with over 4000 employees. A year ago, we had just abandoned our first creation, the Macintosh computer, and I had just turned 30. Then I was fired. How can you be fired by a company you founded it? Oh, when Apple grew bigger, I hired someone I judged to be able to lead me with the company.
About a year or so, the situation seems very positive. But then, our views on the future began to vary, we even became discord. When that disagreement occurred between us, the board sided with him, and I, at the age of 30, was laid off very clearly. The things that I have pursued throughout my life have disappeared, they have been destroyed.
In a few months, I really didn't know what to do. I felt that I had made my previous generations disappointed and that I had dropped the flag when it was passed to me. I met David Packard and Bob Noyce, trying to apologize for my bad behavior. I lost it clearly and even, I was about to give up. But something slowly started to shine in me. I still love what I have created. The thing that happened in Apple changed that love a bit but in me, that love is still there. Therefore, I decided to start again.
I didn't notice at the time, but later, I realized that being fired by Apple turned out to be the best thing in my life. The burden of success has been replaced by the light of new beginnings though there is no certainty. I have allowed myself to enter a life full of creativity in my life.
In about 5 years, I started building NeXT and another company called Pixar. I met and fell in love with a wonderful woman, who was my wife later. Pixar created the world's first computer animated feature film, toy story. Currently, it has become the most successful animation studio in the world. A memorable change event happened when Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, the techniques that NeXT developed became a vital source of Apple recovery.
Laurene and I also have a happy family.
I fully believe that all these things will never happen if I don't get fired from Apple. It was a bitter pill but I was sure the patient would need it very much.
Sometimes life seems to want to intentionally knock you down. But please do not lose faith. I know for sure that the only thing that helped me continue to walk was my love for what I did. You have to find out what you love. It is always true for your work and for your loved ones. The work will be great for your life and the only way to really succeed is to do things that you believe are great things. And the way to create great jobs is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't give up because with your heart, you'll know when you find it. And it will be like any relationship, it will get better as the years go by. So try to search until you find your love, don't give up.
My third story is about death
When I was 17 years old, I read an adage like this: If you live every day like the last day of your life, someday you will completely believe that you are right. That maxim has left a deep impression on me and since then, during the past 33 years, I've always looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: if today is the last day of my life, What will I want to do and what am I going to do today? And if for many days the answer is still 'no', I know, I need to change something.
Thinking that I was going to die was an important thing that encouraged me to create a great opportunity for my life. Because everything from everyone's expectations on you, all pride to fear face to face with shame or failure, all will disappear when you face your death. . At that time, there was only one thing that really mattered. The idea that we were facing death, when we were going to have nothing, was the best way I knew to avoid being afraid of us. scared when I was about to lose something.
There is no reason for you not to listen to the whisperings of your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a CT scan at 7:30 am and it clearly showed a tumor in the pancreas. I don't even know what the pancreas is. The doctors told me that this is a form of cancer and this disease cannot be cured, that I should prepare myself to only live 3 to 6 months. My doctor advised me to go home and rearrange my work, which is how they said when advising patients to prepare for death. That means going back and using the remaining months to tell your children what you intend to tell them about in the next ten years. It also means trying to be discreet so that your family can accept this more easily. That means you say goodbye.
Every day I live with that diagnosis. Then, one evening, I conducted a biopsy, they inserted a tube through my throat, deep into the stomach, deep into the intestine, pressed a needle into my pancreas to sample some tumor cells. At that time, I was very calm, but my wife, who was present, told me that when doctors analyzed those cells under a microscope, they rang when they found out that this was a school. Rare pancreatic cancer can be cured by surgery. I had surgery and now I am fine.
That's the feeling I had when I faced death and I also hope I will have that feeling a few more decades. Once I have experienced it, I can tell you more firmly than merely mentioning death as a useful thing but merely an intellectual content.
Nobody wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die just because they want to go there. And death is the destination that we all must come, none of us escape from it. And that's how it has to happen because death is the best creation of life. That's life's change agent. It eliminates old people to pave the way for young people. Right now, you are young people, but it won't be long before you graduate, then become older, and will be removed.
I'm sorry I seem to be a little touched, but that's true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste your life for someone's life. Don't confine yourself to certain beliefs, to live like that is to live by the thoughts of others. Don't let the views of others obscure your own views.
The most important thing is to be brave to follow your heart and intuition. Somehow, they know what you really want to be. Other things are secondary.
When I was young, there was a strange book published as the Worldwide Handbook, this book is like the Bible of our generation. The creator of this book is Stewart Brand, a graduate student in Menlo Park, not far away. He created it with his poetic feeling. That time was at the end of the 1960s, before having personal computers and laptops. All books are typed with typewriters, cut with scissors and by camera. It's like Google on paper, 35 years before Google. It is truly idealistic, made up of sophisticated tools and great ideas.
Stewart and his colleagues published some episodes of the Worldwide Handbook and then they published the final volume. That time around the mid-70s and I was just your age now. On the back cover of a book with a photo of a rural road in the dawn, you can find peace if you are adventurous. Below the picture is the words: 'Always be hungry. Just be foolish. ' It was their goodbye at the end of the book. 'Always be hungry. Just be foolish. ' And I always wish it for myself. Today, you have graduated and are about to enter a new path, I wish that for you.
Always aspire. Just be foolish.
Thank you very much.
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