I recently had opportunity to read the commencement speech given in 2005 by Steve Jobs at Stanford University. I really like stories as a way of presenting a truth and I especially like personal stories because they are often a window into the soul through which we are allowed a real look into what makes a person tick. I’m not especially a fan of Steve Jobs, but in this case I found his thoughts compelling because they resonate with some of my own.
Jobs gave a mini-biographical sketch of his life. He dropped out of college . . . but then hung around and took classes just for fun. One was a calligraphy class that proved to be great preparation for his Apple creations. By the time he was thirty, hard work had grown Apple into a company worth $4 million that had 4000 employees . . . and Jobs managed to get fired. But instead of quitting, Jobs used this as a step to move forward. He says, “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.” He goes on:
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 going to 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. 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 until you find it. Don’t settle.
Timothy and I find ourselves now at a pivotal point in our lives. Wow! Who would have known that this time could be so wonderful and at the same time so scary! What happens now? Well, I like Steve Jobs’ perspective. And it’s really great to have the privilege at this point of our lives to choose. So—after we have a nice rest for awhile—we’re going to look hard and hopefully find the work (or play) that we both love. I’m thinking, too, that it will be about blessing others, for God has given us much and we want to give a generous measure back.
Jobs concludes his speech by saying, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” I like this. It talks about shedding the unnecessary baggage of life and dreaming big. The challenge, of course, is distinguishing between what is important to hold on to, and what is not. We pray for God’s wisdom to be ours.