Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
The first story is about connecting the dots.
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.
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.
And that will make all the difference.
My second story is about love and loss.
Sometimes life’s gonna hit 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 work as it is for your lovers.
Your work is gonna fill large parts 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’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.
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, some day
You’ll certainly be right. »
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 expectation
or pride or feel of embarrassement 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 to follow your heart.
No one wants to die.
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’s a life’s change agent.
It clears out the old to make way for the new.
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.
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.