Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, at his Stanford University commencement speech in June 2005, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself.
He talks about how you cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards – much like Søren Kierkegaard’s philosophy that: “Life can only be understood backward. It must be lived forward.”
His anecdotes point to simple advice to: Find and do what you love, and never settle for less. And always to remember two basic truths:
Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
Celebrate diversity, individuality, authenticity. Question the group. Risk being more fully ourselves.
“It feels risky to stand out but, like with most things, the more you do it the easier it feels. It’s important to push and stretch ourselves in life. If we don’t expect much from ourselves we can stagnate. But expectations need to be realistic – our own expectations and other peoples’ expectations of us.
Disappointing people can actually be very humanizing It can give those we disappoint the opportunity to realise that their demands might not be reasonable.
So I’m throwing open an invitation to consider some of the things we conceal about ourselves in order to conform – activities, beliefs, preferences, physical characteristics – that violate no-one – but for some reason we submit to a perceived consensus that they’re unacceptable.
What kinds of fears lie behind our conformity on these things? Are these judgments rational?”