Steve Jobs' Stanford University Commencement Speech

In his commencement speech at Stanford University, Steve Jobs tells his audience, “You’ve got to find what you love.”

“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.”

If you haven’t listened to this speech yet, then you must. I always listen to this when I’m feeling a little down or unsure of myself; it’s inspirational and moving without being too cheesy.

In his speech, Jobs talks about being sacked from Apple after an argument with a co-worker, and from reading various sources, it’s safe to say Jobs was a slightly controversial character. He was known for publicly humiliating his employees and having a temperamental personality. But that doesn’t deter from the fact that he was a creative mastermind:

“When you judge Steve as a person — the great things he brings to the world versus, maybe, these encroachments on personal decency or personal honesty with other people or disrespect of people when they’ve worked very hard and do a great job and he’ll say, “Oh, that’s just shitty,” that sort of thing — those are probably outweighed by the good that he does for the world.” Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and friend of Jobs

During his time away from Apple, Jobs founded NeXT, a computer platform development company. He also co-founded Pixar with John Lasseter; a groundbreaking animation studio that produced the likes of Toy Story (the first film of its kind in computer-generated imagery), Wall-E, Up, Ratouille, Monsters Inc and lots of other heart-warming, state-of-the-art productions.

Jobs returned to Apple eleven years later but the company wasn’t performing well and was being slated by its competitors. Jobs’ high standards and perfectionist attitude, which occasionally got him into trouble, turned the company around and made Apple what it is today. The iPods, iPhones, Macbooks, iMacs and iPads are all visionary products, and not only has Jobs had a huge impact on the electronical market but also on the music, film and mobile industries. Apple’s iPod changed the way we purchase and listen to music and the iPhone has introduced us to the world of smartphones and mobile marketing.

The last part of the speech relates to Jobs being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he was told the disease was terminal and he had a few months to live but after a biopsy later that day, his doctor discovered the tumour was curable. Unfortunately, in later years, the cancer reappeared leading to his death. Jobs tells us how facing death makes emotions like pride, embarrassment or failure seem insignificant, so take a risk and push yourself while you are healthy and able to.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”

Jobs is proof that you can overcome personal challenges, and here are some of his wise words to encourage you to make the most of yourself.

“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.”

Clair ONeill
  • Written by on 7th October 2011 at 13:22
  • “Clair O'Neill is a copywriter at Fluid Creativity.”
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