Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005
Steve Jobs 賈伯斯 史丹佛大學 演講
Stanford Report, June 14, 2005
‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says
This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.
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, it’s 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 it’s 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.
當我休學之後，我再也不用上我沒興趣的必修課，把時間拿去聽那些我有興趣的課。這一點也不浪漫。我沒有宿舍，所以我睡在友人家裡的地板上，靠著回收可樂空罐的退費五分錢買吃的，每個星期天晚上得走七哩的路繞過大半個鎮去印度教的Hare Krishna神廟吃頓好料，我喜歡Hare Krishna神廟的好料。就這樣追隨我的好奇與直覺，大部分我所投入過的事務，後來看來都成了無比珍貴的經歷（And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on）。舉個例來說。當時里德學院有著大概是全國最好的書寫教育。校園內的每一張海報上，每個抽屜的標籤上，都是美麗的手寫字。因為我休學了，可以不照正常選課程序來，所以我跑去上書寫課。我學了serif與sanserif字體，學到在不同字母組合間變更字間距，學到活字印刷偉大的地方。書寫的美好、歷史感與藝術感是科學所無法掌握的，我覺得這很迷人。
我再說一次，你無法預先把點點滴滴串連起來；只有在未來回顧時，你才會明白那些點點滴滴是如何串在一起的（you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards）。所以你得相信，眼前你經歷的種種，將來多少會連結在一起。你得信任某個東西，直覺也好，命運也好，生命也好，或者業力。這種作法從來沒讓我失望，我的人生因此變得完全不同。（Jobs停下來喝水）
有幾個月，我不知道要做些什麼。我覺得我令企業界的前輩們失望－我把他們交給我的接力棒弄丟了。我見了創辦HP的David Packard跟創辦Intel的Bob Noyce，跟他們說很抱歉我把事情給搞砸了。我成了公眾眼中失敗的示範，我甚至想要離開矽谷。但是漸漸的，我發現，我還是喜愛那些我做過的事情，在蘋果電腦中經歷的那些事絲毫沒有改變我愛做的事。雖然我被否定了，可是我還是愛做那些事情，所以我決定從頭來過。
接下來五年，我開了一家叫做 NeXT的公司，又開一家叫做Pixar的公司，也跟後來的老婆（Laurene）談起了戀愛。Pixar接著製作了世界上第一部全電腦動畫電影，玩具總動員（Toy Story），現在是世界上最成功的動畫製作公司（聽眾鼓掌大笑）。然後，蘋果電腦買下了NeXT，我回到了蘋果，我們在NeXT發展的技術成了蘋果電腦後來復興的核心部份。我也有了個美妙的家庭。
我很確定，如果當年蘋果電腦沒開除我，就不會發生這些事情。這帖藥很苦口，可是我想蘋果電腦這個病人需要這帖藥。有時候，人生會用磚頭打你的頭。不要喪失信心。我確信我愛我所做的事情，這就是這些年來支持我繼續走下去的唯一理由（I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did）。
你的工作將佔掉你人生的一大部分，唯一真正獲得滿足的方法就是做你相信是偉大的工作，而唯一做偉大工作的方法是愛你所做的事（And the only way to do great work is to love what you do）。
當我十七歲時，我讀到一則格言，好像是「把每一天都當成生命中的最後一天，你就會輕鬆自在。（If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right）」（聽眾笑）這對我影響深遠，在過去33年裡，我每天早上都會照鏡子，自問：「如果今天是此生最後一日，我今天要做些什麼？」每當我連續太多天都得到一個「沒事做」的答案時，我就知道我必須有所改變了。提醒自己快死了，是我在人生中面臨重大決定時，所用過最重要的方法。因為幾乎每件事－所有外界期望、所有的名聲、所有對困窘或失敗的恐懼－在面對死亡時，都消失了，只有最真實重要的東西才會留下（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）。提醒自己快死了，是我所知避免掉入畏懼失去的陷阱裡最好的方法。人生不帶來、死不帶去，沒理由不能順心而為。
你們的時間有限，所以不要浪費時間活在別人的生活裡。不要被教條所侷限–盲從教條就是活在別人思考結果裡。不要讓別人的意見淹沒了你內在的心聲。最重要的，擁有追隨自己內心與直覺的勇氣，你的內心與直覺多少已經知道你真正想要成為什麼樣的人（have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become），任何其他事物都是次要的。（聽眾鼓掌）
在我年輕時，有本神奇的雜誌叫做《Whole Earth Catalog》，當年這可是我們的經典讀物。那是一位住在離這不遠的Menlo Park的Stewart Brand發行的，他把雜誌辦得很有詩意。那是1960年代末期，個人電腦跟桌上出版還沒出現，所有內容都是打字機、剪刀跟拍立得相機做出來的。雜誌內容有點像印在紙上的平面Google，在Google出現之前35年就有了：這本雜誌很理想主義，充滿新奇工具與偉大的見解。
Stewart跟他的團隊出版了好幾期的《Whole Earth Catalog》，然後很自然的，最後出了停刊號。當時是1970年代中期，我正是你們現在這個年齡的時候。在停刊號的封底，有張清晨鄉間小路的照片，那種你四處搭便車冒險旅行時會經過的鄉間小路。
求知若飢，虛心若愚（Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish）