I really can’t think of a better way to get some motivation or inspiration than by listening to Steve Jobs’ Stanford speech. If you haven’t ever seen the video, I strongly urge you to watch it. His message is right on point. While Jobs may not be the greatest public speaker on the planet (see 8:11), he is without a doubt an extremely wise person with great advice.
His whole speech is filled with nuggets. “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Don’t let society hold you down. Don’t become mediocre like everyone else. We can achieve so much more in life when we don’t look to be told what to do and we accomplish our own goals, however unrealistic our peers may believe them to be.
My favorite part of the whole speech starts at (9:05):
“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.”
Steve Jobs would be considered a typical failure in 2010 if he was out ‘starting a company’ right now instead of going to school. And the doubter’s suspicions would have been confirmed when he was fired from his own company. “That’s the problem. Now he doesn’t have a degree. Nobody is going to hire him,” they might say.
Steve didn’t listen to them. Neither should we. After being labeled a ‘failure’ in the eyes of many he is faced with two options. He could just give up and fall back in line with the crowd, or he could do the exact opposite. He chose the latter. Jobs instead takes his ‘defeat’ and considers it to be a learning experience. Through his experience and hard work ethic, he forms a new company, Pixar Studios, and turns it into one of the most successful companies in the film industry. His company is later sold to Disney, and he is finally recognized as the success he always knew he was.
Everyone’s path to success is like a ball we have to roll up a hill. It takes some pushing and struggling to get to the top, and as we get closer, we can feel gravity kicking in and everything starts to get heavier. But we need to keep fighting through and eventually all that pushing will send us over the top and it all starts to roll downhill.
If you feel on the verge of greatness but you sense people trying to tug you back down, don’t listen. Stay focused and keep pushing. You’ll soon be on the top and it will all be worth it.
As Steve Jobs says: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”