He always had the right words when he stood in front of an audience, eager and energized to detail the ins and outs of the latest Apple product.
But it was a rarer occasion when Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday at 56 after battling pancreatic cancer since 2004, would talk with the same vigor about his own life.
And as those he touched – those who caught wind of his passing on their iPhones, those who own a Mac or an iPod – mourn the loss of the technology world’s revered visionary, his words of wisdom about life, death and success from a 2005 Stanford University commencement speech are revisited.
“You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever,” Jobs, who resigned as CEO from Apple in August and remained with the company as chairman, said to the crowd of graduates on that June day in Palo Alto, Calif. “This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
He talks about his cancer diagnosis (which was given a year before the speech). He describes his wife’s recollection of the day doctors stuck an endoscope down his throat for a biopsy – how the doctors were crying when it turned out to be a rare form of pancreatic cancer that was curable with surgery. (“I had the surgery and I’m fine now,” he said at the time.)
He talked about death and how it’s “life’s change agent” and “very likely the single best invention of life.”
“No one wants to die,” he said. “Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.”
But perhaps even more profound were his thoughts on life. “Your time is limited,” he said, “so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
His success, he said, was a labor of love. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do,” he advised the graduates. “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.”
For a complete transcript, click here.
BY ALISON SCHWARTZ