iCommencement Advise

Steve Jobs’ famous Commencement Address

to the lucky Stanford graduate student, 2005 June 12



the full video!
(uploaded to YouTube by Stanford University itself!)




the full transcript

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world.
I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about CONNECTING THE DOTS.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t 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. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. 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, it’s 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.

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.

My second story is about LOVE & LOSS.

I was lucky–I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. 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? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. 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 really didn’t know what to do for a few months. 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 met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. 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 didn’t 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.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. 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.

My third story is about DEATH.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll 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 “Nofor too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

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.

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 didn’t 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 doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

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 I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

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. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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.

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 created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. 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.

Stewart 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. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. 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.

Thank you all very much.

the speech’s full essence!



01. dots

curiosity & intuition is IT!

we are all human.
we can not avoid this reality.
we live briefly.
we don’t have time to regret.
whatever we choose at the time, is meant to be.

as long as we know how to follow our instinct,
our lives will turn out fine, or as meant to be or not to be.
it’s unclear at the moments,
but if instinctive, turns out to be the best decisions you’ll take, in hindsight.

curiosity & intuition only happen when unplanned.
how can you ever regret if you go with the flow,
and learn what can never be taught otherwise?
creativity & creation occurs at such moments.

these creative moments catapult your essence of being.
you realize your Dreams this way.
you feel blessed only when following your heart.

so be brave & crazy enough to be yourself.
blessing & grace comes from within the real you.

if not for intuition & curiosity,
you’d never reach your inner goals.
if you followed others, intuition would be called foolish.
and curiosity, your hunger for life, would die from starvation.

ironic & politically incorrect but correct:
it’s the rest of society that are foolish as they are robotic slaves
–not following their instincts.

trust your destiny.
it’s your choice.

now that’s a revolutionary invention ; )
it’s hard to be you in society
but not as complicated as it is ; )


02. love

curiosity & intuition finds your purpose, your love.
your life’s greatness is begotten through loving what you do & how you live. 

if you followed your intuition & curiosity above,
you find the loves of your life naturally, automatically.

don’t complicate your life through over-analyzing,
don’t be anal-retentive.
don’t worry, be happy.

be happy by simply pursuing your purpose.
finding it is not as complex as people make life out to be.
all you need is follow your creative curiosity,
your joie de vivre,
and your instinct for choosing its direction.

the status quo and society’s systems, university & home education,
teaches your limits.
instinct is natural and its universal intent is always positively the best for you specifically.
trust it. with your life–literally!

it’s only more complicated by society.
don’t over-anal-yze or expect.
let it be.
accept the simple bear necessities.
don’t worry, be happy.

anyone can lose billions.
success, wealth, health
happens enduringly,
only through natural means, not human.
true wealth principles depend on responsible, waste-less,  natural laws of bounty,
and that’s instinct, no matter how uneducated this sounds.

finding your purpose is not a goal,
the journey, the process in between,
is what counts & gets you to succeed at your dreams.
you can not find your purpose or reach your dreams,
if you fear.

fear your fear.
rid it.
one way to kill it is to not fear failure.
failure teaches more than winning.
every millionaire & successful entrepreneur got & stays rich by loving to fail.
accept failure, embrace it–as it’s not negative.
rejection has nothing to do with your love & purpose!
think positive: the light at the end of a tunnel,
is that “failure” is your blessing in disguise,
your chance to be free, rethink, realign, repurpose,
be the real you inside/out.
keep up your instincts, keep doing what you love.
your dreams can only be reached through “failure” on your way.

if the shit hits the fan,
but f_ck it.
don’t get stuck.
who cares.
everyone gets hit anyway.
get over it.
learn, move on.
in the long term, the more fans hit you, the more resilient you are.
so if your neighbor is successful but without fan,
you are more successful thanks to the fan.
shit is only shit if you’re blind, stiff, robotic, inhumane, dead.
the difference between us & animals, is that we have brains to think.
don’t use it, lose.
still, animals have instincts, let’s use it too!
let’s be full rounded animals ; )
humane animals.
thoughtful & fearless.

survival is ironically failure ; )
failure to be you is the only real failure.

ironic too, since society–manmade, is all about ego.
we’re born with instinct.
yet growing up into adults means un-learning that gift!
get it back by not following anything but yourself.
it is not blasphemous or illegal, it is actually Godliness to make that your duty.

God helps those who help themselves.
it’s not about selfish ego, since instinct is wholehearted.
to sin is to follow dogma!
God hates religion.
God loves natural instinctive humane accomplishment.
make him or the Universe proud, by showing them respect.
life is tough, right.
the hard lessons always seem to appear when you least need them.
they seem to accumulate in frequency & intensity,
but that is your warning sign to change something.
as you deviate from your instinctive path.
being you, acknowledges your respect for Life, God, Nature, the Universe.
it is THEN that things flow for you and you succeed with your goals.

the other is to not fear success!
who’d fear success, right, it sound illogical or unnatural.
yet socially-conscious people sabotage themselves subconsciously for this.
spend less time analyzing why.
more time just doing it, as Nike says.

Think Different as Apple says.
don’t follow opinion, just you.
Lead, don’t follow as Audi says.
lead yourself. be your own boss.
follow the God in you, not dogmatic religion or cults.

what keeps you going in life –that is, surviving well  ; )
is to just follow your love at work & play
work is of essence,
as it IS a big part of your life’s time spent,
so love what you do.
since the other big part is your relationship,
don’t waste time not being with the right person.

man can is NOT an island.
he or she achieves the best work thanks to teamwork.
the best life through loved ones.
great work throughout human history, or genius,
was only ever created through both loves–work & play.


03. death

follow your instinct, love what you do.
know you’ll die soon, to push you to live now. 

now that you follow your instinct, not status quo,
now that you found your love & purpose,
don’t stop or quit,
life is worth it,
if you constantly learn, evolve.

life is not a formula.
hence status quo, norms, standards, rules of behavior,
laws & regulations, at home, school, work or in government & society,
is not smart, inflexible, cancerous to creativity, dreams, success, health, wealth.

Think Different.
hence, there is no order.
Dots, Love, Death…
there’s no particular order to follow to find yourself.
mix it all up in the same process to living.
while you’re instinctively finding your love & purpose,
always remind yourself that you’re deadly ; )
you will die like everyone else.
life on earth is short.
don’t wait till you’re terminally ill to change.

worried about how to keep yourself in check to not get side-tracked?
simply change every time you’re not happy with yourself.
change something at least.

after all, what do you take with you when you die?
not a single gadget, not your kids or wife etc.
only the notion of your accomplishments.

so, in a way,
you have to kill yourself, daily!
your personality, character, mind, though pattern, habits…that is ; )
at least constantly ; )
shed your slow or negative or rotten or abused or stagnant skin.
be reborn like a phoenix often.
that’s invincibility. on every level.
that is passion. instinct. joie. zest. manliness.
wholesomeness. perfection. uebermenschlichkeit.
immortality. godliness. bliss.

if you lived your life to the fullest,
it matters not if you had millions or were loved by as many,
as real accomplishment is not external.
if you loved you you did at work, play, at home,
and shared it with loved ones,
you are able to live with your self,
have no regrets, no guilt, no worry,
you achieved more than most–living in the now,
finding you, being you, succeeding beyond dreams.
this way you die happy!
as for those you leave behind,
they will better sustain your loss–if you did live like that,
as you also were a real life example for them on how to reach themselves.

there is no better teacher in life than death.
it incites the life out of you ; )

the speech’s zest essence!



01. be

curiosity & intuition is IT!

not rules or the normal stuff.
be crazy enough to be yourself.

you can only create worth if u r u.
blessing & grace comes from within the real u.

don’t fool yourself by following others.
don’t starve yourself, stay hungry.

trust your destiny.
it’s your choice.


02. love

living instinctively,
naturally leads to finding your self:
your 2 loves. work & play.
success only endures thanks to both.

survival is ironically failure ; )
failure to be you is the only failure.

so your purpose & only choice is…
to love what you do, how you love, laugh, live.
so  follow you. think different. lead. learn. win.

rid fear.
failure teaches more than winning.
it’s your sign.

society complicates it.
don’t over-anal-yze.

trust instinct–it’s not un-Godly
as God or Life wants nothing more than–you.

success flows only when you are yourself,
as you then show respect to the Universe.


03. death

death is cool & life-enhancing
–it vigorously pushes you to be you.

constantly learn, evolve.

life is not a formula.
rules must be broken.
stagnation is our cancer.
change our savior.

don’t wait till you’re terminally ill to change.

simply change something every time you’re not happy.

it’s not so hard, we’re born with instinct.
just unlearn.

we only grab our accomplishments with us in the after life.
have no regrets, guilt, worry.
those you leave behind will sustain your loss–if you did live as yourself.

the speech’s zen essence!


01. be

rules starve you.
trust your creative instincts.
be crazy enough to be you.


02. love

love your self at work & play.
you only fail if you fear but are not you.


03. death

death is cool: pushes you to be you.
it kills the cancer of stagnation & regret.

the speech in 1 blip!


be crazy enough to die daily to live fully

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