Less than an hour ago, the media announced that Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, Pixar and NeXt, had died. He fought a long hard battle with cancer but didn’t stop working and innovating. In 2007 Apple’s iPhone was named Invention of the Year by Time Magazine. His company birthed even more iPhones after that. And we can’t forget the iMac, the iPod – pretty much anything with a small “i” in front of it were all from the mind of Steve.
But one thing he left behind was very low-tech: a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University in which he talked about living your best life and following your heart. It was only a month ago that Giles told me I needed to watch the YouTube video of the speech, but I found it much more interesting to read the transcript.
Here are some highlights from his speech that really resonated with me (emphasis mine):
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.
…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.
…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.
…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.
…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.
Thank you, Steve, for not settling, for having faith, courage, and most definitely a lot of moxie.