Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech Review

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Javier Hernando Ortega Cuellar Universidad Nacional De Colombia Philology and Languages: English Written Communication IV August 20 – 2010 Steve Jobs Commencement Speech’s Review. “I'm honored to be with you today for your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. Truth be told, I never graduated from college, and 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. ” With these humble words, an American magnate and inventor, initiates an address which really shows the personal characteristics of a successful but simple man; who has learnt from every single event in his life and has followed his own heart’s feelings towards a likely future for himself. The speech is divided in three parts, as he said. Three different stories which converge in one idea – Do what you love and Love what you do – that is an invitation for every alumnus of Stanford University. Jobs takes his personal life lessons and shares his thoughts and experiences in order to encourage people to feel a real passion for their professions without caring about superficial matters. His first story is very revealing. It is called “Connecting the Dots” and while he advances in his narration, people are able to understand the real meaning of this title. Jobs talks about his parents; he was adopted by a couple who promised to his biological mother he would study in a university. It turned out to be that the university was Reed College, the place in which he studied only one semester and then dropped out. He had no idea of what he wanted to do with his life and it did not make any sense to spend his parents’ money in such an expensive college. However, he did continue studying, he studied calligraphy and he found this was beautiful and artistical, he found it fascinating. In this point we can “connect the dots”. Every single dot is a meaningful event in his life and each one of these resembles its consequences in the present. Even though dropping a degree and studying calligraphy did not seem very promising, hese events made possible the creations of fonts for the Macintosh and this meant a transcendental trend for computers from that moment on. Jobs’ second story is about Love and Loss. This is a story that shows how an unpleasant happening in your life can lead you to new, and perhaps better, opportunities. Jobs says that he was lucky to find early in life what he loved to do and this had to do with the birth of Apple in his parent’s garage and its huge growth in a little time. When Apple was a whole company, Jobs was rejected from it; all of those years of effort and work had gone with the wind. Nevertheless, as he expresses, that was the best thing that could ever happened to him; it marked the beginning of one of the most creative periods of his entire life. In this period Jobs got involved with the birth of Pixar and NeXT, which later would be his access to Apple again. In this period he also met the woman who would become his wife. Jobs argues that his love for his profession was the key to keep going, to start over and succeed again, so he invites people to find what they love and stick to it firmly. The third and last story is titled “Death” and it gives another useful tool to make decisions in life. As he tells how close he was to death because of a pancreas cancer, he gives two important advice: live each day as it was your last day and do not waste your time living someone else’s life. The first one is already well known, but Jobs speaks with authority because he was close to the end of his life and this made him understand that at the end of everything there is nothing left to lose. The invitation is about taking risks in life, being brave enough to follow your heart and intuition. This has to do with the second advice, following your own rules takes you away from dogmas and believes which are nothing else but someone else’s thoughts. In the very final part of the address, Jobs describes a publication called “The Whole Earth Catalogue”. This book represented a bible in that time; it was made with neat tools and great notions. He found once a phrase under an advertisement with a picture of an early morning country road, he remembers it clearly: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. He was the same age as the alumni in the public and from that moment on, he wished that for himself. Thus, in that commencement day, he wished that for them. In this spot we can look backwards and connect the dots of the whole speech. If you want to know what will come for you in the future, analyze what you have done in the past and calculate the consequences of it. Do what you love and Love what you do is the main and guiding thread of the whole speech and is deeply related with every single statement mentioned. First, without caring about the possible projections that any activity has, do what your inner voice tells you to; it already knows what is meant for you to do. Second, stick to this love and you will not be crashed for traumatic events in life; if you really know what you love to do, it does not matter how many times you fall, just keep trying and keep going with it, you will see how far you will get. Third, you love what you do, so it will worth to do it, even if it is the last day of your life. Different to waste your time by following external ideas which do not satisfy your own expectations. I consider all of these advice very accurate and wise while yet they seem obvious or simple. Simple things mean more than what any person expects.
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