Barely five years ago, Steve Jobs gave the commencement speech at Stanford University. This was before the iPhone, the iPad, “apps”, and pretty much before the entire mobile consumer electronics industry we know today was realized. Steve was a meticulous perfectionist and an arbiter of taste, but he also served as a catalyst to bring us from where we were five years ago to where we are today—leaps and bounds ahead of where we probably have any right to be.
When I first read that commencement speech, it knocked me on my ass. I was living in Ohio, working at a job I didn’t find particularly motivating or interesting. I tried to take the essence of that speech to heart and today I’m working for the President of the United States of America, trying in earnest to do what I can to make my country a better place for at least the next four years, if not the next 40.
The most touching—to me—part of that speech, which I’ve tried to keep in my mind since then:
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.
Steve didn’t know he only had five years left on the clock, but he knew he didn’t have as many as he once thought he did. He made the most of it. You should always make the most of your life—as if you only had the next five years to finish your life’s work.