According to Steve Jobs, the reason he was able to change the lives of hundreds of millions of people was because he pursued his creative dreams. My home, like millions of other homes, has an Apple computer, iPods, and an iPad. We enjoy watching the excellent movies he helped create, like The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and Cars, all made by Pixar, one of the company that Steve Jobs started.
How did he do it? Steve Jobs answered that question in the commencement speech he gave at Stanford University in 2005. His speech, which is only about 15 minutes long, is one of the best commencement speeches I have ever heard. In it, we learn that:
Steve Jobs was born out of wedlock and given up for adoption; I do not know what Steve Jobs’ views were on abortion, but the world is much better off because Steve Jobs’ mom chose not to aborted him, but gave him up for adoption, allowing him the opportunity to improve the lives of many during his 56 1/2 years on this planet. Thank God that abortion on demand had not permeated America yet when Steve Jobs’ mom was pregnant in 1955.
Steve Jobs was a college drop out and never graduated. Now, this may not be the path to success for everyone. However, in the Stanford speech, Steve Jobs urged each of us to discover what we each love to do and pursue it. That’s what he did. And for a guy that turned out to be a combination of Thomas Edison and Walt Disney, we should pay attention to what he has to say. Because Steve Jobs pursued what he loved, many people are no longer poor. For example, Rush Limbaugh asked today how many people in China are no longer poor because they build parts and products for Apple’s supply chains? How many businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere have started or expanded because they use Apple products? When we unleash entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs to function in their giftings and to do what they love, they create wealth and opportunity for other people.
Steve Jobs says one of the best things that ever happened to him was getting fired from Apple, the company he started. In the Stanford speech, Jobs explains how he lost a power struggle at Apple in 1985 and was fired, and how it was the best think that happened to him. He understood how suffering can be redemptive and can open new doors of opportunity to people. Think of how worse off we all would be if Steve Jobs had become bitter and disillusioned when the Apple board of directors fired him. I found his words to persevere most encouraging and envisioning.
Steve Jobs talks about his battle with cancer and his inevitable death. This is eerily prophetic, as Steve Jobs talks about his own death that will occur six years after this speech. He also wisely points out that everyone will die, and that we should live each day as if it is our last day on Earth.
You can read the written text of Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford here. You can view the video of his speech below: