Full Text of Jobs Stanford Speech: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish"

First reported by The Mac Observer Monday, Stanford University has posted online video excerpts and the full text of last Sundayis commencement speech Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs.

Here are some other interesting comments by the Apple co-founder:

Jobs on a college education

"...I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parentsi savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldnit 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..."

Jobs on calligraphy

"...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, its 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 backwards ten years later..."

Jobs on "connecting the dots" in life

"...you canit 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..."

Jobs on being fired from Apple

"...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?...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...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 didnit 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..."

Jobs on faith and starting over

"...(being fired from Apple) was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Donit lose faith. Iim convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. Youive 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 havenit found it yet, keep looking. Donit settle. As with all matters of the heart, youill 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. Donit settle..."

Jobs on death and dying

"...When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday youill 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 Iill be dead soon is the most important tool Iive 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 your 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 donit 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 Lifeis 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 donit waste it living someone elseis life. Donit be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other peopleis thinking. Donit let the noise of otheris 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..."

Jobs on cancer

"...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 didnit 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 doctoris code for prepare to die...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 Iim fine now..."

Jobs: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish"

"...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 sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions...(publisher) Stewart (Brand) 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...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."

Popular TMO Stories

No Comments

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account