The world has much to thank Steve Jobs for. His inventive mind brought us the wonders of the Apple and Macintosh computer, the magic of the iPod, the life-changing iPhone and iPad, with their ‘apps’ that seem to solve our every problem for just ninety-nine cents. And of course Steve Jobs’ creativity is responsible for our favourite Pixar films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
All these amazing creations have touched our world in some shape or form.
Adding to that list, I personally thank for him for his amazing commencement speech in 2005 at Stanford University. In his commencement address, Steve Jobs shared three small stories. These simple life lessons continue to guide me whenever I am feeling lost. They always help me find what is most important in my life. I hope these stories will help you as well.
1. Connecting the dots
Steve Jobs begins his speech with his decision to drop out of his enrolled course and instead ‘drop into’ a calligraphy course. At the time, he had no idea how he would apply the learning in any practical sense. But, he found the art calligraphy fascinating so he just followed his gut. Ten years later, when designing the Macintosh computer, the beautiful typography skills he had learned all suddenly came back to him.
“If I had never dropped out then I would never have dropped in on the calligraphy class and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. It was impossible connecting the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very very clear looking backwards ten years later,”.
You cannot connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots WILL somehow connect in your future. You have to have trust in something, be it faith, destiny, your gut instinct, life, karma or something else. By believing that the dots will connect eventually somewhere down the road will give you confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the path you thought you were meant to take.
2. Following what you love to do
In 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from the company he co-founded. Though not being able to see it at the time, getting fired from Apple turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to him. Getting fired led to one of the most creative periods of his life. He started two companies: NeXT and Pixar, and fell in love with a woman who would become his wife. Eventually, he returned to Apple and became an integral part of the company’s current renaissance.
“I am convinced the only thing that kept me going [through that period] was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.”
Life will challenge you, test you, and try to break you down. But, if you are doing what you love to do, then you cannot go wrong. You must follow what you love! Work takes up such a big part of your life so, to be truly satisfied, you must do great work. To do only great work is to really love what you are doing.
“If you haven’t found what you love to do, then you must keep searching! “With all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. Keep looking and don’t settle”.
3. Remembering your own death
In his final point, Steve Jobs highlights the important fact: We will all die someday. “If you live each day as if it were your last, some day you will eventually be right,” he said. Every morning for the last thirty years, he would ask himself one simple question:
“If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
If you answer, “No!” too many days in a row then you need to change something. It is important to remember that there will always be some days when you really don’t want to do something. That is part of life and you should accept the challenges. BUT if you are saying, “I don’t want to do this!” day after day, then there is your answer: You need to take some action. No one will do it for you!
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon has been the most important tool I’ve used to help me when making the big choices in life,” states Steve Jobs.
Remember this whenever you need to make a crucial decision. It will help remove clutter such as external expectations, pride, peer pressure, embarrassment, and fear of failure. It will leave you knowing what is truly important. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
“Death is the destination we all share. Our time is limited. So, don’t waste it living someone else’s dream,” cautions Steve Jobs.
Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They already know what you truly want to become. It’s up to the rest of you to catch up.
In order to fully experience the magic that is his speech you must watch his video below.
Remember to come back to it over and over again!
Stay hungry. Stay foolish and enjoy!