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"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" an excellent read.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Candidcameraman, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. For the younger people and older ones, for the young at hearth and not so young as this is quite nicely put, strangely enough it closely matches my take on life. I found this on another forum a few years back and it took me a few weeks after finding it to actually read this piece which I then posted on a few more forums. Well the "stuck in the elevator" thread posted by Sandi brough it back from the far recesses of my little memory and ... Well I found it where I had posted it a couple fo years back and thought I'd share it here with you.

    This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005, at Stanford.

    "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 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.

    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."

    -Steve Jobs
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  2. I just read each and every word, and let it all sink in. Wonderful advice, wonderful stories. Thanks so much, Dude, for bringing this to our attention.
  3. Great read.

    Thanks Dude.
  4. Blair


    Jul 28, 2006
    Thanks for posting this. Those words mean a lot seeing as I graduated just 11 days ago and took my first full time job today.
  5. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Thank You
  6. DABO


    Jan 13, 2006
    Sigh. Very inspiring.

    But I look at my kids, who I think are wonderful - smart, loving, athletic, thoughtful - and wonder how watching TV and playing hours of computer games are going to help them connect the dots later on in their lives. It's hard as a parent to just let them follow their intuition when their intuition tells them to space out into computer screens. Maybe it's because they're not "hungry" (just "foolish").

  7. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Interesting thought DAB. One thing came to mind regarding your post. It's tough for a young person to "be hungry" when they "are fed". As they get older, they will quickly learn how vitally important it is to do whatever they have to so they can connect the dots for their future. As parents, we just hope that they don't wait too long to figure out their gameplan.
  8. Firelarz


    Feb 26, 2006
    Chandler, AZ
    WOW, great read! Thanks for sharing!
  9. Thanks for the posting. I really enjoyed reading it. I will pass it on to my son who graduated just a few weeks ago.
  10. I agree totally! And thank you Dude for that awsome read.

    Why do I agree totally? Because I now have hunger. I am 31 and barely any further in my career than I was when I got out of college 11 years ago. But I am not hungry for my career, I am hungry for knowledge that I so frivously threw to the wind in highschool.

    I only hope I can instill the courage, love, devotion, forgiveness and hunger in my children that I never had.
  11. dspeed


    Dec 17, 2006
    Carlsbad, NM
    Great Post!

    As an [aging] hippie; its great to get a boost like seeing somebody bring this up. I had a great day today, but this really took it over the top!

    It says a lot (to me, at least) for this little corner of the universe known as the 'nikon cafe' that such sentiments are well received. I'm not sure that this is a message that is easy to pass on, its an epiphany. Maybe that's the one of the bonds that exists here.

    I think I'll get out my old WEC, maybe log onto the WELL . Surely take some photos of something ....



  12. Such wonderful BS.

    These words are so wonderful coming from a billionaire's mouth. Reminds me how we, small people, search comfort in inactivity. We all see ourselves in this story and yet we're all just a bunch of people doing nothin'.

    This reminds me about people being given Charle Manson's Astrographic Chart but represented as their own Astrographic Chart. You should see those people's faces. They all thought they had a unique bright future. It was pathetic to a point where I was going to cry out of laughter.

    Viva la BS.
  13. Thanks for sharing this with us, Dude! A very nice, inspirational speech and a little insight into the charismatic individual who is Steve Jobs..... :smile:
  14. Well, it's a nice story, even if not totally true. He says, "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."

    Of course, some of us old enough to remember DOS recall using word processors featuring proportionally spaced fonts with leading and kerning WAY before Mac and Windows were made public.
  15. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    And that is OK. Almost every great story has been "post processed" to make for a better sounding story..... it is a technique that has been used since the dawn of man.

    However, the meaning behind it is still true and good. Although, I do appreciate your nugget of truth. Even if we realize it is not completely true, it is always good to know which parts were exaggerated... for the inquiring minds. :) 
  16. When you read between the lines in Steve's speech you realize that he had "dropped out," yes, but he was actually still attending classes -- without paying!
  17. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    As always, it depends on the person. Some people can get more out of things than others. Some people can get a lot out of games. Although, it probably is not worth their time to pour in too many hours into it. As an ex-gamer, I can tell you that games have helped me overachieve my peers in many ways. The type of game plays a role as well. Some games helped me develop the analytical mindset to help solve real world problems.

    Someone who is lazy and does not want to achieve may not do well in a complex game. No surprise there. Could be for a lot of reasons, but if one of them is the inability to solve a problem, then that is a problem he also has in the real world. You should always be able to examine your surroundings, understand the system, and make the most of it to succeed.

    To me, life is also a game but with far more serious consequences. The rules are not obvious though. The best way to win is not always obvious either. The people who know them though or can find them fast enough... they are the ones who succeed (of course everyone has their own definition fo succeeding).

    So, don't put down all game playing.

    Everything in moderation.... even moderation.
  18. DABO


    Jan 13, 2006
    Thanks for responses to my thoughts.

    On being "hungry" (caution - generalizations): my kids, and perhaps most American kids, aren't hungry. I recently read "The World is Flat" by Thomas L. Friedman. Very interesting, and I recommend it. Among other observations, Friedman talks about how "hungry" the Indian and Chinese are (and, unfortunately there are different kinds of hunger - An Indian may want to be the rich man and a Pakistani may want to kill the rich man) (Please don't flame me - these are generalizations taken out of a very reasoned context). He states that America is OK for now, but unless we can get the hunger back, we will fall behind.

    Carroll - with regard to games - they don't play complicated games - mostly baseball or football type xbox games. There are permutations that make them think, but not THAT much, in my opinion. My kids, though, are VERY COMPETITIVE with each other and there's often yelling that one or the other is cheating or lucky or some other reason that they're winning. I guess there is some socialization going on there. But I'm with you on moderation. Problem is, moderation to me has a different definition than moderation to my kids.

  19. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    No, you are definitely spot on with the hunger and 'racial' thing. It is not really a racial thing though, but a cultural thing which is why it seems like it is a racial thing.

    American culture emphasizes indulgence, which is OK in moderation. I will agree, most are not "hungry" though for this reason. Good ol societal pressures do not help either.

    I am in agreement with you on the sports games. Sports games do not provide the type of thinking I am referring to. Sports games are fun here and there, but I would much rather be actually the sport outside rather than indoors. :) 

    I think I did find ONE sports game that would let you customize/manage your players. They would improve in skills based on how you would manage them, etc. That seems somewhat useful.

    I was thinking of strategy games or role-playing games with customizable characters which rewards people who think of innovative ways to 'beat' the game. You think of everyway to become more efficient. You research what is needed to do well in the game. I end up applying this to every day life.

    Even some simulation games are great. An old classic game called "Jones in the Fast Lane" was a wonderful simulation on time management. You would have a "week" to go to school, work, relax, go shopping. You needed to still be happy, so you could not just work all the time. Going to school could increase your wages by bettering your odds of which job you could get. Working would help you buy stuff. Best part was the game was multiplayer (but at a single computer), so we would have fun competing against each other. Not nearly as complicated as the Sims (and way dated, the game is ancient), but tons of fun and a lot of good life insight for young teens.

    Too bad it was easier played than doing. :) 
  20. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Read it twice. Thanks for the post.
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