Years ago, I read a transcript of a Commencement address given by Steve Jobs, founder of Apple computers, to Stanford University. He’s had one of those lives, like many of us, where life events that seemingly have no redeeming qualities turned out to be great and necessary opportunities. Bottom line, he learned what he tells us all to do: Follow Your Heart.
Here’s a link to the article. And here’s a link to his speech on Youtube. The whole thing is worth a read/watch, especially if you’re in any way discontent with your current work life and want to dream bigger.
Here are a few excerpts from the address:
“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 other’s 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.”
In his address, Mr. Jobs tells of three major shifts in his life, none of which were pleasant, all of which were a part of making him who he is today. Of dropping out of college: “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.”
Of getting fired from Apple, the company he co-founded: “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.”
Of his brush with cancer and death: “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.”