Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
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 go to college. This was the start in my life.
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.




故事要從我出生前談起。我的親生母親是大學研究生,年輕的未婚 媽媽,她打算讓別人收養我,更相信應該讓擁有大學學歷的夫婦收養我。我出生時,她就準備由一對律師夫婦收養我。但這對夫妻最後一刻反悔了,他們想要女孩。 所以在等待收養名單上的一對夫妻,在半夜裡接到一通電話,問他們:「有一個意外出生的男孩,你們要認養他嗎?」他們說:「當然。」
在那時候,這是個讓人害怕的決定;但現在來看,卻是我這輩子下 過最好的決定之一。休學後,再也不上無趣的必修課,直接聽我愛的課。只是這一點兒也不浪漫。我沒有宿舍,我得睡在朋友家的地板,靠回收可樂瓶罐的五先令填 飽肚子,到了星期天晚上走七哩遠的路,繞去印度教的 Hare Krishna 神廟吃頓大餐。但那時我追尋的興趣,現在看來都成了無價之寶。
比如說,里德學院擁有幾乎是全國最好的英文書法課程 〈caligraphy instruction〉。校園裡的海報、教室抽屜的標籤,都是美麗的手寫字。我休學去學書法了,學了serif 與san serif 字體,學會在不同字母的組合間變更字間距,學到活版印刷偉大的地方。書法的歷史與藝術,是科學文明無法取代的,令我深深著迷。

我很幸運,年輕時就知道自己愛做什麼。二十歲時,我跟沃茲一起 在我家的車庫開創了蘋果電腦。咱們拚了老命工作,蘋果十年內從一間車庫、兩個年輕小夥子,擴展為一家員工超過四千人、二十億美元營業額的公司。在此前一 年,我們推出了最棒的作品——麥金塔,而就在我正要踏入人生的第三十個年頭,結果是我被開除了。
自己創辦的公司,怎麼會開除自己?好吧,當蘋果電腦日益擴大, 我聘請一位在經營上頗有才華的傢伙,他在頭幾年確實也幹得不錯。但我們對願景有很不同的想法,鬧到分道揚鑣;董事會站在他那邊,炒了我魷魚,還公開把我請 出公司。我整個生活重心的東西頓時消失了,完全不知所措。
在這幾個月裡,我實在不知該如何是好,更覺得令企業界前輩失望 了:他們傳給我的接力棒,掉了。我找了創辦HP的派克(David Packard)、創辦英特爾的諾宜斯(Bob Noyce),跟他們說我把事情搞砸了,甚至想離開矽谷。但我的想法逐漸變了,我發現我仍然愛著曾做過的事業,在蘋果的日子一點兒也沒有改變我愛的事。即使人們否定我,可是我還是愛做那些事情,所以我決定從頭來過。
接著的五年,我創辦了NeXT,又開了皮克斯,也墜入了情網。 皮克斯製作世上第一部全電腦動畫電影《玩具總動員》,現在已是全球最成功的動畫公司。接著我的人生大轉彎,蘋果購併了NeXT,我重回了蘋果,而NeXT 發展的技術更成為反敗為勝的關鍵。同時間,我也有了幸福的家庭。

一年前,我被判定得了癌症。早上七點半做斷層掃描時,發現胰臟 裡出現腫瘤,我甚至不知道胰臟是用來做什麼的。醫生告訴我,幾乎確定是不治之症,大概活不過三到六個月了。醫生要我回家,好好跟家人相聚,醫生面對臨終病 人總是這樣說。這代表你得在幾個月內,把將來十年想跟小孩說的話講完,你真的得說再見了。
我滿腦子都是這個判我死刑的診斷。到了晚上做了一次切片,內視 鏡從喉嚨伸進胃再到腸子,還插了根針到胰臟取出腫瘤細胞。打了鎮靜劑後我不省人事,但是我太太陪著我,看著醫生檢查。她跟我說,當醫生查看癌細胞後喜極而 泣,因為那是非常少見的胰臟癌,可以用外科手術切除。我現在完全康復了。
那是我最靠近死神的一刻,希望也是未來幾十年最接近的一次。徘 徊死亡關卡後,我更要告訴大家:沒有人想死,即使那些想上天堂的人,也想活著上天堂。但死亡是我們共同終點,沒人逃得過。死,更是生命最偉大的發明,是送舊迎新、傳承生命的媒介。現在新生代是你們,但不久的將來,你們也會年華老去,離開人生的舞台。抱歉形容得這麼戲劇化,但這是真的。



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