I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, 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.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college 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 have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out 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 someday go to college.
And 17 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 tuition. 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 of the money my parents had saved their entire life. 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.
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 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare 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 san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle 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 ten 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, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this 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 college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten 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. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
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 garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had 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. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. 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 had 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 Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. 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 had been rejected, but I was still in love. 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 lightness 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 worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits 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 your 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. 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 until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something 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 have 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 today?" 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 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.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
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 Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is 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 is quite true.
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.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much
史蒂夫 乔布斯(Steve Jobs)在斯坦福大学2005年毕业典礼上的演讲
故事从我出生的时候讲起。我的亲生母亲是一个年轻的,没有结婚的大学毕业生。她决定让别人收养我, 她十分想让我被大学毕业生收养。所以在我出生的时候，她已经做好了一切的准备工作，能使得我被一个律师和他的妻子所收养。但是她没有料到,当我出生之后, 律师夫妇突然决定他们想要一个女孩。所以我的生养父母（他们在待选名单上）突然在半夜接到了一个电话:“我们现在这儿有一个不小心生出来的男婴,你们想要他吗？”他们回答道: “当然！”但是我亲生母亲随后发现，我的养母从来没有上过大学,我的养父 甚至从没有读过高中。她拒绝签这个收养合同。只是在几个月以后,我的父母答应她一定要让我上大学,那个时候她才软化同意。
在十七岁那年,我真的上了大学。但是我很愚蠢的选择了一个几乎和你们斯坦福大学一样贵的学校, 我父母还处于蓝领阶层，他们几乎把所有积蓄都花在了我的学费上面。在六个月后, 我已经看不到其中的价值所在。我不知道我真正想要做什么,我也不知道大学能怎样帮助我找到答案。但是在这里，我几乎花光了我父母这一辈子的 全部积蓄。所以我决定要退学,我觉得这是个正确的决定。不能否认,我当时确实非常的害怕, 但是现在回头看看,那的确是我这一生中最棒的一个决定。在我做出退学决定的那一刻, 我终于可以不必去读那些令我提不起丝毫兴趣的课程了。然后我可以开始去修那些看起来有点意思的课程。
但是这并不是那么罗曼蒂克。我失去了我的宿舍,所以我只能在朋友房间的地板上面睡觉,我去捡可以换5美分的可乐罐，仅仅为了填饱肚子, 在星期天的晚上,我需要走七英里的路程，穿过这个城市到Hare Krishna神庙（注：位于纽约Brooklyn下城）,只是为了能吃上好饭——这个星期唯一一顿好一点的饭，我喜欢那里的饭菜。
Reed大学在那时提供也许是全美最好的美术字课程。在这个大学里面的每个海报, 每个抽屉的标签上面全都是漂亮的美术字。因为我退学了, 不必去上正规的课程, 所以我决定去参加这个课程，去学学怎样写出漂亮的美术字。我学到了san serif 和serif字体, 我学会了怎么样在不同的字母组合之中改变空白间距, 还有怎么样才能作出最棒的印刷式样。那种美好、历史感和艺术精妙，是科学永远不能捕捉到的, 我发现那实在是太迷人了。
当时看起来这些东西在我的生命中，好像都没有什么实际应用的可能。但是十年之后,当我们在设计第一台Macintosh电脑的时候,就不是那样了。我把当时我学的那些 东西全都设计进了Mac。那是第一台使用了漂亮的印刷字体的电脑。如果我当时没有退学, 就不会有机会去参加这个我感兴趣的美术字课程, Mac就不会有这么多丰富的字体，以及赏心悦目的字体间距。因为Windows只是抄袭了Mac，所以现在个人电脑就不会有现在这么美妙的字型了。
我非常幸运, 因为我在很早的时候就找到了我钟爱的东西。Woz和我在二十岁的时候就在父母的车库里面开创了苹果公司。我们工作得很努力, 十年之后, 这个公司从那两个车库中的穷小子发展到了超过四千名的雇员、价值超过二十亿的大公司。在公司成立的第九年,我们刚刚发布了最好的产品,那就是Macintosh。我也快要到三十岁了。在那一年, 我被炒了鱿鱼。你怎么可能被你自己创立的公司炒了鱿鱼呢? 嗯,在苹果快速成长的时候，我们雇用了一个很有天分的家伙和我一起管理这个公司, 在最初的几年,公司运转的很好。但是后来我们对未来的看法发生了分歧, 最终我们吵了起来。当争吵不可开交的时候, 董事会站在了他的那一边。所以在三十岁的时候, 我被炒了。在这么多人目光下我被炒了。在而立之年，我生命的全部支柱离自己远去, 这真是毁灭性的打击。
在最初的几个月里，我真是不知道该做些什么。我觉得我很令上一代的创业家们很失望，我把他们交给我的接力棒弄丢了。我和创办惠普的David Pack、创办Intel的Bob Noyce见面，并试图向他们道歉。我把事情弄得糟糕透顶了。但是我渐渐发现了曙光, 我仍然喜爱我从事的这些东西。苹果公司发生的这些事情丝毫的没有改变这些, 一点也没有。我被驱逐了,但是我仍然钟爱我所做的事情。所以我决定从头再来。
我当时没有觉察, 但是事后证明, 从苹果公司被炒是我这辈子发生的最棒的事情。因为，作为一个成功者的负重感被作为一个创业者的轻松感觉所重新代替, 没有比这更确定的事情了。这让我觉得如此自由, 进入了我生命中最有创造力的一个阶段。
在接下来的五年里, 我创立了一个名叫NeXT的公司, 还有一个叫Pixar的公司, 然后和一个后来成为我妻子的优雅女人相识。Pixar 制作了世界上第一个用电脑制作的动画电影——“玩具总动员”,Pixar现在也是世界上最成功的电脑制作工作室。在后来的一系列运转中,Apple收购了NeXT, 然后我又回到了Apple公司。我们在NeXT发展的技术在Apple的今天的复兴之中发挥了关键的作用。而且，我还和Laurence 一起建立了一个幸福完美的家庭。
我可以非常肯定,如果我不被Apple开除的话, 这其中一件事情也不会发生的。这个良药的味道实在是太苦了,但是我想病人需要这个药。有些时候, 生活会拿起一块砖头向你的脑袋上猛拍一下。不要失去信仰。我很清楚唯一使我一直走下去的，就是我做的事情令我无比钟爱。你需要去找到你所爱的东西。对于工作是如此, 对于你的爱人也是如此。你的工作将会占据生活中很大的一部分。你只有相信自己所做的是伟大的工作, 你才能怡然自得。如果你现在还没有找到, 那么继续找、不要停下来，只要全心全意的去找, 在你找到的时候，你的心会告诉你的。就像任何真诚的关系, 随着岁月的流逝只会越来越紧密。所以继续找，直到你找到它，不要停下来！
当我十七岁的时候, 我读到了一句话:“如果你把每一天都当作生命中最后一天去生活的话,那么有一天你会发现你是正确的。”这句话给我留下了一个印象。从那时开始,过了33 年,我在每天早晨都会对着镜子问自己:“如果今天是我生命中的最后一天, 你会不会完成你今天想做的事情呢？”当答案连续多天是“No”的时候, 我知道自己需要改变某些事情了。
“记住你即将死去”是我一生中遇到的最重要箴言。它帮我指明了生命中重要的选择。因为几乎所有的事情, 包括所有的荣誉、所有的骄傲、所有对难堪和失败的恐惧,这些在死亡面前都会消失。我看到的是留下的真正重要的东西。你有时候会思考你将会失去某些东西, “记住你即将死去”是我知道的避免这些想法的最好办法。你已经赤身裸体了, 你没有理由不去跟随自己内心的声音。
大概一年以前, 我被诊断出癌症。我在早晨七点半做了一个检查, 检查清楚的显示在我的胰腺有一个肿瘤。我当时都不知道胰腺是什么东西。医生告诉我那很可能是一种无法治愈的癌症, 我还有三到六个月的时间活在这个世界上。我的医生叫我回家, 然后整理好我的一切, 那是医生对临终病人的标准程序。那意味着你将要把未来十年对你小孩说的话在几个月里面说完.；那意味着把每件事情都安排好, 让你的家人会尽可能轻松的生活；那意味着你要说“再见了”。
我拿着那个诊断书过了一整天，那天晚上我作了一个活切片检查，医生将一个内窥镜从我的喉咙伸进去,通过我的胃, 然后进入我的肠子, 用一根针在我的胰腺上的肿瘤上取了几个细胞。我当时是被麻醉的，但是我的妻子在那里, 后来告诉我，当医生在显微镜下观察这些细胞的时候他们开始尖叫, 因为这些细胞最后竟然是一种非常罕见的可以用手术治愈的胰腺癌症细胞。我做了这个手术, 现在我痊愈了。
那是我最接近死亡的时候, 我希望这也是以后的几十年最接近的一次。从死亡线上又活了过来, 我可以比以前把死亡只当成一 种想象中的概念的时候，更肯定一点地对你们说：
没有人愿意死, 即使人们想上天堂, 也不会为了去那里而死。但是死亡是我们每个人共同的终点。从来没有人能够逃脱它。也应该如此。因为死亡就是生命中最好的一个发明。它将旧的清除以便给新的让路。你们现在是新的, 但是从现在开始不久以后, 你们将会逐渐的变成旧的然后被送离人生舞台。我很抱歉这很戏剧性, 但是这十分的真实。
你们的时间很有限, 所以不要将他们浪费在重复其他人的生活上。不要被教条束缚,那意味着你和其他人思考的结果一起生活。不要被其他人喧嚣的观点掩盖你真正的内心的声音。还有最重要的是, 你要有勇气去听从你直觉和心灵的指示——它们在某种程度上知道你想要成为什么样子，所有其他的事情都是次要的。
当我年轻的时候, 有一本叫做“整个地球的目录”振聋发聩的杂志，它是我们那一代人的圣经之一。它是一个叫Stewart Brand的家伙在离这里不远的Menlo Park编辑的, 他象诗一般神奇地将这本书带到了这个世界。那是六十年代后期, 在个人电脑出现之前, 所以这本书全部是用打字机,、剪刀还有偏光镜制造的。有点像用软皮包装的google, 在google出现三十五年之前：这是理想主义的，其中有许多灵巧的工具和伟大的想法。
Stewart和他的伙伴出版了几期的“整个地球的目录”,当它完成了自己使命的时候, 他们做出了最后一期的目录。那是在七十年代的中期, 我正是你们的年纪。在最后一期的封底上是清晨乡村公路的照片（如果你有冒险精神的话，你可以自己找到这条路的），在照片之下有这样一段话：“求知若饥，虚心若愚。”这是他们停止了发刊的告别语。“求知若饥，虚心若愚。”我总是希望自己能够那样,现在, 在你们即将毕业，开始新的旅程的时候, 我也希望你们能这样：