Thank you!
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world.
今天我很荣幸能参加你们的毕业典礼, 而且是在这样一所世界顶尖的大学里。
Truth be told I never graduated from college. And this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.
Today I wanna tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal, just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months. But then stayed around as drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out.
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl.
故事从我出生的时候讲起。我的亲生母亲是一个年轻的,没有结婚的大学毕业生。她决定让别人收养我, 她十分想让我被大学毕业生收养。所以在我出生的时候,她已经做好了一切的准备工作,能使得我被一个律师和他的妻子所收养。但是她没有料到,当我出生之后,律师夫妇突然决定他们想要一个女孩。
So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: ‘We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?’ They said: ‘Of course.’ My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would go to college. This was a start in my life.
And 17 years later, I did go to college, but I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. after six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and no idea of how college was going to help me figure it out, and here I was, spending all the money my parents had saved their entire life. So i decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out ok. it was pretty scary at the time, but looking back, it was one of the best decisions i ever made. the minute i dropped out, i could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me and begin dropping in on the ones that looked far more interesting.
It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms. i returned coke bottles for the five-cent deposits to buy food with, and i would walk the seven miles across town every sunday night to get one good meal a week at the hare krishna temple. i loved it. and much of what i stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. let me give you one example.
Reed college at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer was beautifully hand-calligraphed. because i had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, i decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. i learned about serif and sans-serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. it was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.
none of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. but ten years later when we were designing the first macintosh computer, it all came back to me, and we designed it all into the mac. it was the first computer with beautiful typography. if i had never dropped in on that single course in college, the mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts, and since windows just copied the mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.
if i had never dropped out, i would have never dropped in on that calligraphy class and personals computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.
Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when i was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever–because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky. I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’s garage when I was 20. We worked hard and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.
我很庆幸,能在年轻时就找到兴趣所在。二十年前,Woz 和我在我父母的仓库里开创了苹果。我们非常努力,苹果用了十年从两个穷小子和一个破车库发展成了拥有四千多名雇员市值二下亿美元的大公司。
We just released our finest creation—the Macintosh a year earlier. And I had just turned 30 and then I got fired。How can you get fired from a company you started. Well as apple grew we hired someone ,who I thought was very talented, to run the company with me. And for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge. And eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30, I was out and very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone. And it was devastating. I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generations of entrepreneurs down. That I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Nonce. And tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me. I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn’t see it then. But it turned out that getting fired from Apple, was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next 5 years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar. And fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film ‘Toy Story’. And is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT. And I returned to Apple. And the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurence and I have a wonderful family together.
我当时没有感觉。但是回头看被苹果炒掉,其实是我一生中最有意义的事。成功的巨大压力变成了新人接受挑战的轻盈, 不再受固有思维羁绊。我开始进入了我人生中最具创造力的时期。接下来的五年里,我创立了一个叫NeXT的公司我一个叫皮克斯的公司,还与一们杰出的女性相知相爱。她后来成了我的太太。皮克斯后来制作了世上第一个用电脑制作的动画电影《玩具总动员》。现在已经是世界上最成功的动画工作室。峰回路转,苹果收购了NeXT。我也回到了苹果。而且正是我们在NeXT研发的技术带来了苹果的复兴。我还和我的太太组建了美满的家庭。
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened, if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life’s gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is gonna fill a large part of your life. And 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. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.
我很肯定,这一切都要归功于当年我被苹果开除的经历。所以说良药苦口利于病。有时候,生活会给你迎头痛击。不要灰心丧气。我坚信,唯一可以让我坚持下去的,是我对自己事业的热爱。 你必须去寻找自己所爱。工作或是爱情,都是如此。工作是生活中很重要的一部分。要真正获得满足感,就必须做你认为有价值的工作。要做有价值的事业,你就必须热爱你要做的事业。如果你还没有找到,千万不要放弃,要继续寻找。只要倾听你的心声,当你发现时,你就会知道。就像任何伟大的感情关系一样,随着时间的推移,这份情会越来越浓烈。所以不要放弃,要继续寻找。
My third story is about death.
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 ask myself, ‘If today was the last day of my life, would I wanna do what I’m about to do today?’. And whenver the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon, is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me 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. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning. And it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable. And that I should expect to live no longer than 3 tot 6 months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try and tell your kids everything. You thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up. So that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes. I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy. Where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines. Put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated but my wife who was there,told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope, the doctor started crying. Because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and thankfully I’m fine now.
大概一年前,我被诊断出癌症。早上七点半,我做了个检查。我的胰腺上明显有个肿瘤。我那会都不知道胰腺是个什么东西。医生告诉我,这是一种绝症,无药可救。我的生命只剩下三到六个月了。我的医生劝我回家料理后事。意思是我可以等死了。这也意味着你告要将未来十年的话,在剩下的几个月里都告诉你的孩子。这也意味着要把一切安排妥当。让你的家人能够坦然接受。这也意味着要跟亲友们一一告别。这个诊断的阴影笼罩了我一整天。当晚,我做了切片检查。医生将内窥镜送入我的喉咙,通过胃部,然后进入肠道。用一根针在我的胰腺肿瘤上取了些细胞样本。我当时被麻醉了,不过我太太在场, 后来她告诉我,当医生用显微镜观察这些细胞时,他们哭了。因为他们发现我得的是一种罕见的胰腺癌。这种癌症是可以通过手术治好的。我做了手术,并且痊愈了。
This was the closest I’ve been to facing death. And I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept. No one wants to die even people who want to go to heaven, don’t wanna die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it and that is as it should be. Because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you. But someday not too long from now, you’ll gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic but it is quite true. You 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 inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow our heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there is an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catelog. Which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand, not far from here in Menlo Park. And he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing. So it was all made with typerwriters, scissors and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form 35 years before Google came along. It was idealistic. And overflowing with neat tools and great notions. Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catelog. And then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road. The kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words, ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’. It was their farewell message as they sighed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now as you graduate to begin anew. I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much!


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