Steve Jobs's Commencement Address (2005)

March 12, 2014
Steve Jobs's Commencement Address at Stanford University on June 12, 2005 focuses on three personal stories from the entrepreneur's life that touch upon larger themes. The overall tone is both humorously self-deprecating and seriously uplifting. Jobs admitted that he had never graduated from college, but through a series of setbacks that turned out to be the best things to happen to him at those moments, he stayed hungry and foolish enough to make each day worth living.
E-text available here.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world.
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.
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.
And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.
It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.
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.
But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out.
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 felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down--that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don't be trapped by dogma--which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
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.

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Monday March 17th 2014, 9:37 AM
Comment by: Jean Anne DU'PRATT (Gargenville France)
Wednesday June 24th 2015, 6:47 AM
Comment by: Ms. Madison (NH)
I was fascinated by Steve Job's comment about his calligraphy class, and how it helped him create the many different fonts we now see on word. he was an amazing inspiration to all of us to follow our passions.

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