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  1. Join Date
    Mar 2007
    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,

    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 retuned 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.

  2. Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Continuation of Steve Job's speech:

    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 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 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

    Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

    Thank you all very much.

  3. Join Date
    Mar 2007

Three Stories from the amazing life of the Steve Jobs