Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
Most people will know Steve Jobs as the creator or Apple and Pixar, two of the most well known companies all over the planet. However, there was more to this man. Steve Jobs ran into many bumps along his path to success (as he mentions in this speech) and was an inspiration to us all.
During this speech, he tells the audience three stories:
1. “Connecting the Dots”
This story has lessons that we can all learn. Steve talks about his back story and how is isn’t your typical success story. First, he was adopted into an uneducated family and continued on in life to drop out of college himself and lived a “homeless” lifestyle afterward. He stayed at that facility as a drop-in and he was couch surfing, eating from food banks, etc. all so he could go to multiple different classes that caught his eye. He then created the very first Macintosh computer with a friend while in his parent’s garage. Imagine, one of the most successful human beings known to today’s population, does not have a secondary education. If feels like everything I’ve ever known about careers just went out the window.
2. “Love and Loss”
Steve’s next story talks of his love and loss within his career. He was fired from Apple, his own company. The Board of Directors sided with Apple’s CEO at the time and gave Steve the boot. He talks about how much he loved this company and how it was all he had ever worked towards. He was devastated. However, his next move was so inspiring…..he created two companies called “Next” and “Pixar”. Pixar went on to come out with the first animated movie called “Toy Story” and Next was bought by Apple. After all of this, Steve Jobs was back at Apple. From this story, Steve shows this group of students to never give up. If he had given in to his devastation over the loss of Apple, Pixar would have never happened and we would not have many of the classic movies we know today from our childhoods. If he can create two very successful companies after being fired from his first creation, I think we can overcome anything. “Keep looking, don’t settle”
In this last story, Steve talks about how death shapes our lives.
“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 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”
Directly after he says this, he talks about his battle with cancer. With this “near death experience”, he is able to share certain things about it that comes straight from the heart. I think this is the quote that stuck with me the most during his speech. Death has always been a concept that I have struggled to accept and I know many other people feel the same way. This shows us how he was able to cope with his mistakes and take as many risks as possible. Anything you do wrong or any negative feelings you may have, all disappear when you die. It’s okay to take chances and mess up.
I’ve always loved speeches at graduation ceremonies, university convocations, etc. It’s the time where the students can get a last minute piece of advice before they head into their next chapter. I always learn so much from motivational speakers and many quotations will stick with me forever. Before watching this video, I only knew Steve Jobs as the man who made Apple and who had enough money to feed the entire continent of Africa. However, he is such an inspirational man and I have taken a lot from those 15 minutes.
For anyone interested in hearing more from Steve Jobs: