ENGLISH SPEECH | STEVE JOBS: Stanford Commencement (English Subtitles)

ENGLISH SPEECH | STEVE JOBS: Stanford Commencement (English Subtitles)

August 13, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


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. 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 sans 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 10 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 backward
10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking
forward; you can only connect them looking backward. 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 4,000
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 world’s 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 1960s, 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.