Life Lesson – What we can learn from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

On October 5th, 2011, the great American entrepreneur and Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away from Pancreatic Cancer, with which he was diagnosed back in 2003.  For those of you who are using a Macbook, iPhone, or iPad  to name a few Apple products Steve made this possible by creating something that he loved.  He had that burning passion and we all knew he loved what he did at Apple.  In 2005, he gave the commencement speech at Stanford University and I decided to watch 15 minutes of it, not knowing if this would be another typical graduation speech. Needless to say, I was blown away after watching him address the class. I have included some of the excerpts from Steve’s speech.

“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 twenty. We worked hard and in ten years, Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We’d just released our finest creation, the Macintosh, a year earlier, and I’d just turned thirty, and then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started?”


“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’d been rejected but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.”

If this had happened to me, I would have folded; start drinking; doing drugs – essentially, spiraled into self-destruction. This is a truly crushing turn of events for anyone. Jobs wouldn’t have it that way, though:

“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 in 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 world’s 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 and I returned to Apple and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance, and Lorene 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’s going to hit 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 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, and 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. Don’t settle.”

Steve's Inventions

The bottom line is, when you are knocked down, get up and start over NEVER settling, ever.  Just like Steve said, “Don’t lose faith, love whatever you do, find it if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and DON’T SETTLE.”

Here is the video of 2005 Stanford University Commencement, enjoy:

Steve Jobs inspires us all with his hunger, curiosity, and determination. I live by his words: “DON’T SETTLE.” – SjC

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