Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave advice to students through personal stories of his triumphs, failures, and the grey area in between . He advised the importance of finding a passion and not giving up on it.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said.
The 50-year-old detailed the pancreatic cancer diagnosis that shook his world in 2003, and being a “public failure” after former Apple CEO John Sculley, and the board of directors, fired him in 1985.
“I’ve been rejected, but I was still in love,” Jobs said, of being pushed-out from the company he started.
After feeling devastated for a few months, Jobs started over and followed his passion. He founded NeXT Computer Co. , bought Pixar Animation Studios, and fell in love with his wife Laurene.
Unexpectedly, being fired from Apple was one of the best things to ever happen to him.
“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner,” Jobs said. It led to one of the most creative periods of his life, he said. He urged students not to give up or lose faith.
Throughout his speech, he reiterated that students should not settle for anything less than what they’re passionate about. He detailed the importance of finding love for their career and in their lover. He said they need to have courage and follow their heart.
Jobs didn’t always know what his path would be in life. He dropped out of college after one semester of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He didn’t have a direction and felt he was wasting his parents’ savings.
Jobs was adopted as a baby, and his biological parents were University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students. His, adopted, parents didn’t go to college and his mother didn’t want to give him up, but she agreed after his new parents promised her he would go to college.
Jobs jokingly said the commencement was the closest he’s been to a college graduation.
After dropping out of college, he went back to school as a drop-in; taking classes he found interesting. He credited a calligraphy class for influencing the typography for Mac Computers. Without this class Mac computers wouldn’t have beautiful typography, he said.
Jobs explains how he didn’t know how big of an impact the class would have in his future, but looking back “the dots”, as he called them, connected, and it was meant to be.
He expressed how believing that everything will work out, “will give you the confidence to follow your heart and lead you off the well-worn path.”
When Jobs finally did find his direction in life, he dove in head-first. At age 20 he started Apple Computers with his friend Steve Wozniak ,“Woz”, in his parents’ garage. He finally found his passion and possessed an unrelenting drive ever since.
A decade after Jobs was fired, Apple bought his company NeXT, and, once again, he was in his rightful place.
Now, his past challenges paled in comparison to his cancer diagnosis. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003 and was given only three-six months to live. But, in 2004 the cancerous tumer was removed with surgery. This brush with death helped mold his perspective on life.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking,” Jobs said.
Jobs’ path wasn’t always a traditional one. He went from a college dropout,with no direction, to the creator and CEO of Apple computers. However, that’s the point. He followed his heart and found sucess. Each person has a unique path ahead of them, and Jobs’ central message was for the students’ to have the courage to follow it.