Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Address Speech 2005

Kennon-Green & Co. Fiduciary Financial Advisor, Wealth Management, Global Value Investing

In 2005, Steve Jobs gave a commencement speech at Stanford University after surviving his first fight with pancreatic cancer.

There were four lessons that really spoke to me in his message. These are:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to 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.

Every day for 33 years, I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and asked, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?  Whenever the answer is “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

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.

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, heart and intuition … they somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.