One of the Greatest Motivational Speeches Ever | Steve Jobs


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 six months but then stayed around
as a drop in for another 18 months or so
before I really quit
so why’d I drop out it started before I
was born biological mother was a young unwed
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’ve got an unexpected baby boy
do you want him they said of course
my biological mother found out later
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 go to college this was the
start in my life and seventeen 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
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 the money my
parents had saved their entire life
so I decided to drop out and trust that
it would all work out okay
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 far more 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 five
cent deposits to buy food with
and I would walk the seven miles across
town every Sunday night
to get one good meal a week at the hair
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 sans serif
about varying the amount of space
between different letter combinations
about what makes great typography great
it was beautiful historical artistically
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 10 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 that 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
but it was very very clear looking
backwards 10 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
because believing that the dots will
connect down the road
will give you the confidence to follow
your heart even when it leads you off
the well-worn path
and that will make all the difference
my second story is about love and 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
into a two billion dollar company with
over four thousand employees
we just released our finest creation the
Macintosh a year earlier and I 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
and so at 30 I was out and very publicly
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’d 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 nonce
and tried to apologize for screwing up
so badly
I was a very public failure and I even
thought about running away from the
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’d been rejected but I was still in
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 likeness
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 world’s
first computer animated feature film
toy story and is now the most successful
animation studio
in the world in a remarkable turn of
apple bought next and I returned to
apple and the technology we developed it
next is at the heart of apple’s current
and Lauren and I have a wonderful
family together
I’m pretty sure none of this would have
happened if I hadn’t been fired from
it was awful tasting medicine but I
guess the patient needed
it sometime life sometimes life’s gonna
hit 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 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
and 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
don’t settle
my third story is about death
when I was 17 I read a quote that went
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’ve 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
and whenever the answer has been no for
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
all pride all fear of embarrassment or
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
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
is very likely the single best invention
of life
it’s 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’s quite
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
stay hungry stay foolish