Every year recently, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I play what I consider the most inspiration speech I have every heard and it is given, rather oddly, by Apple’s Steve Jobs. In a 2005 Stanford Commencement address, not long after being told he was going to die from pancreatic cancer—and then told he would live—Jobs delivered this philosophical message.
In about 15 minutes, he told the student audience: “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.” The story of his adoption and his dropping out of Reed College (yes, they are connected), has always moved me. The story of his intellectual vagabondage and his connecting the dots of his experience and learning is compelling. Believing that the dots will connect down the road, he says, will give you confidence to follow your own road.
He ends by saying “Stay hungry , stay foolish,” I’ve always wished that for myself. Then Jobs tells the students, “now I wish that for you.”
As we enter this particular holiday season surrounded by economic panic, Jobs’ speech is a bit of good cheer. It always cheers me up this time of year. Even more so today.