Steve Job Commencement Inspiration Speech

‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says
This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

Video of the Commencement address.
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, it’s 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 it’s 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.

Daily Reflections and Prayers- November 12,2014

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
(Psalm 40:2, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
All of us can look back at things that should have defeated us. Maybe a divorce or bad break should have taken you down, but look — you’re still standing! That addiction, that partying lifestyle should have killed you, but because of a praying loved one, you’re still standing and becoming freer. Or, maybe you lost a loved one. You didn’t think you could go on. You thought you’d seen your best days, but God breathed new life into you. He lifted you out of the pit and put a new song in your heart, and here you are today, still standing.

When you go through difficult things, it’s an opportunity to see the goodness of God shine in the darkness. You see Him lift you up, restore you, promote you and heal you. When you have this history with God, you don’t get discouraged by every difficulty. You don’t fall apart because of a disappointment. You don’t get upset because people are talking about you. You know that God brought you through in the past, and He is going to bring you through in the future! Rejoice today because you are still standing and headed to the place of total victory!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for lifting me out of my difficulty and for helping me stand on solid ground. I trust Your goodness. I know that You are faithful. Help me stay focused on Your victory in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Daily Reflections and Prayers- November 10,2014

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
(Luke 6:38, ESV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
God is a god of abundance! He wants to pour out His abundance on you until you are so full that you are running over with His goodness. Notice how this verse starts. It says, “Give, and it will be given to you.” That’s because your giving sets the blessing of God into motion in your life. Giving is like a seed. When you plant an apple seed, it doesn’t just grow a single fruit. That one seed grows into a tree that produces an abundance of apples! That’s what happens when you obey God in your giving. You receive an abundant harvest in return. It’s overflowing, literally “running over!” And when the blessing is running over, it means you have so much that you want to give more. The cycle just keeps repeating itself! Is there something the Lord is telling you to give today? It could be financial, material or even your talents and service to others.

What do you have in your hand that you can use to bless someone else? Take a step today and set the blessing of God into motion in your life. Open the door for His blessing to be running over in every area of your life today!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I choose to obey Your Word. I choose to be a tither and a giver. I choose to obey Your word and step out in faith knowing that every seed I sow will come back in abundance in Jesus’ name! Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Daily Reflections and Prayers- November 8,2014

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
(John 7:24, NLT)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
You may have heard that it takes six seconds to make a first impression. Most people don’t realize how many times they look at someone and instantly decide if they’re going to like them or not. The scripture says that man looks at the outward appearance of others while God looks at the heart. Now you might be thinking, “Of course, God looks at the heart. He’s God. How am I supposed to look at another person’s heart?” You may not exactly know a person’s heart, but as Jesus said in this verse, you can look beneath the surface. You can take time to get to know someone who might look or act differently than you. Don’t just write someone off because they don’t measure up to your standards. You never know how God will use that relationship in your life.

Jesus said, “Whatever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done to Me.” In other words, when we make quick judgments about people, it’s as if we are making quick judgments about God. Don’t fall into that trap! Instead, look beneath the surface. Look for the good in others, find some common ground and watch what God will do through the relationships in your life!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, help me to look beneath the surface. Help me to see others the way You see them. Show me how to connect with others and be a blessing everywhere I go in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Video

Daily Inspirational Speech-November 8,2014

From one of the most inspirational entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs’ had an inate ability to see past the distractions of life and get to the core of what really matters. Here, at Stanford University’s Commencement Speech, Jobs gave one of his most inspirational of speeches.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VHWUCX6osgM

SOME KEY QUOTES
1. TRUST THAT THE DOTS IN LIFE WILL EVENTUALLY CONNECT
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking back. 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, because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. That will make all the difference.

2. FIND WHAT YOU LOVE AND DON’T SETTLE
You’ve got to find what you love. 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 and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it…

3. THE REALITY OF LIFE
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 of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart.

4. WORDS OF WISDOM
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s 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 already want to become. Everything else is secondary.

…and finally

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Daily Reflections and Prayer- November 8,2014

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
(Matthew 13:8, NLT)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
In life, there are many kinds of seeds we can sow, but do you know what produces the best crop? The seed of God’s Word planted on the soil of our hearts. The more of the Word you take into your heart, the more abundant the harvest will be.

Our job, as believers, is to make sure we are good ground. The scripture tells us there are things that can choke the seed of the Word — the cares of this world and greed and selfishness act as thorns that stop the seed from growing. It also tells us that in order for the seed to take root, we need to stand strong during the difficult times when persecution and challenges come.

If you have hard or dry places in your heart today, God wants to soften those areas. He promised in Ezekiel that He will take out the stony, hard heart and replace it with a new heart, a heart that is good ground and open to Him. This is the heart that will produce an abundant harvest of blessing in every area of your life!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for the seed of the Word which is alive and growing in my heart. Search my heart and mind today. Have Your way in me. Use me for Your glory and produce a harvest in me in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Daily Reflections and Prayers- November 5,2014

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“ ‘I don’t know whether he is a sinner,’ the man replied. ‘But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!’ ”
(John 9:25, NLT)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
One time, Jesus healed a blind man, and the religious crowd got upset. They started arguing over why he was healed, how he was healed, and who was to blame for him being blind in the first place! They were hounding the man with questions. Finally, the man said, “Listen, guys. You all are confusing me. I can’t answer all of your questions. All I can tell you is this: I was blind, but now I can see.” He was saying, in effect, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! He was saying, “You can argue all day long, but I know the reason I can see is because of God’s healing in my life.”

There are people today who don’t think you are supposed to be blessed. They don’t think that God wants people to prosper and live in victory. But it’s too late because we’ve already experienced His blessing. He’s already opened up supernatural doors! We’ve seen His favor! Don’t let the naysayers talk you out of your blessing. Don’t let them convince you that God’s Word isn’t true. He’s already done so much in your past, and He’ll do more in your future. Keep standing, keep believing and keep hoping. Soon you’ll see His blessing in every area of your life!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father in heaven, thank You for opening the eyes of my heart so that I can, first of all, see You and then see every good thing You have in store for me. I look to You with an attitude of faith and expectancy and believe that You are at work in me in Jesus’ name! Amen.

(Source: Joel Osteen)