I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. Truth be told, I never graduated from college, and this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to 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 a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out？
我在 Reed 大学读了六个月之后就退学了，但是在十八个月以后 —— 我真正的作出退学决定之前，我还经常去学校。我为什么要退学呢？
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.
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 someday go to college.
所以我的生养父母 (他们还在我亲生父母的观察名单上) 突然在半夜接到了一个电话:“我们现在这儿有一个不小心生出来的男婴，你们想要他吗？” 他们回答道:“当然！” 但是我亲生母亲随后发现，我的养母从来没有上过大学，我的父亲甚至从没有读过高中。她拒绝签这个收养合同。只是在几个月以后，我的父母答应她一定要让我上大学，那个时候她才同意。
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 how college was going to help me figure it out.
And here I was spending all of 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 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 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 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:
但是这并不是那么罗曼蒂克。我失去了我的宿舍，所以我只能在朋友房间的地板上面睡觉，我去捡 5 美分的可乐瓶子，仅仅为了填饱肚子，在星期天的晚上，我需要走七英里的路程，穿过这个城市到 Hare Krishna 寺庙 (注：位于纽约 Brooklyn 下城), 只是为了能吃上饭 —— 这个星期唯一一顿好一点的饭。但是我喜欢这样。我跟着我的直觉和好奇心走，遇到的很多东西，此后被证明是无价之宝。让我给你们举一个例子吧：
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 san 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.
我学到了 san serif 和 serif 字体，我学会了怎么样在不同的字母组合之中改变空格的长度，还有怎么样才能作出最棒的印刷式样。那是一种科学永远不能捕捉到的、美丽的、真实的艺术精妙，我发现那实在是太美妙了。
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.
当时看起来这些东西在我的生命中，好像都没有什么实际应用的可能。但是十年之后，当我们在设计第一台 Macintosh 电脑的时候，就不是那样了。我把当时我学的那些家伙全都设计进了 Mac。那是第一台使用了漂亮的印刷字体的电脑。
And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal 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.
如果我当时没有退学，就不会有机会去参加这个我感兴趣的美术字课程，Mac 就不会有这么多丰富的字体，以及赏心悦目的字体间距。那么现在个人电脑就不会有现在这么美妙的字型了。当然我在大学的时候，还不可能把从前的点点滴 滴串连起来，但是当我十年后回顾这一切的时候，真的豁然开朗了。
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. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
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 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 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30.
我非常幸运，因为我在很早的时候就找到了我钟爱的东西。Woz 和我在二十岁的时候就在父母的车库里面开创了苹果公司。我们工作得很努力，十年之后，这个公司从那两个车库中的穷光蛋发展到了超过四千名的雇员、价值超过二十亿的大公司。在公司成立的第九年，我们刚刚发布了最好的产品，那就是 Macintosh。我也快要到三十岁了。
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 generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly.
在最初的几个月里，我真是不知道该做些什么。我把从前的创业激情给丢了，我觉得自己让与我一同创业的人都很沮丧。我和 David Pack 和 Bob Boyce 见面，并试图向他们道歉。
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 five 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 worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world.
在接下来的五年里，我创立了一个名叫 NeXT 的公司，还有一个叫 Pixar 的公司，然后和一个后来成为我妻子的优雅女人相识。Pixar 制作了世界上第一个用电脑制作的动画电影 ——“玩具总动员”,Pixar 现在也是世界上最成功的电脑制作工作室。
In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
在后来的一系列运转中，Apple 收购了 NeXT, 然后我又回到了 Apple 公司。我们在 NeXT 发展的技术在 Apple 的复兴之中发挥了关键的作用。我还和 Laurence 一起建立了一个幸福的家庭。
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 hits 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 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.
我可以非常肯定，如果我不被 Apple 开除的话，这其中一件事情也不会发生的。这个良药的味道实在是太苦了，但是我想病人需要这个药。有时候生活会给你迎头一击，不要灰心丧气。我坚信，唯一可以让我坚持下去的，就是我对自己事业的热爱。你必须去寻找自己所爱，无论是工作还是爱情，都是如此。工作是生活中很主要的部分，真正获得满足感，就必须做你相信是有价值的工作。要做有价值的事业，你就必须热爱你做的事业，如果你还没找到，千万不要放弃，要继续寻找，只要倾听你的心声，当你真的发现时你就会感到，就像任何伟大的感情关系一样，岁月的更迭只会让这份情愈发深刻，所以千万不要放弃，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 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.
当我十七岁的时候，我读到了一句话:“如果你把每一天都当作生命中最后一天去生活的话，那么有一天你会发现你是正确的。” 这句话给我留下了深刻的印象。从那时开始，过了 33 年，我在每天早晨都会对着镜子问自己:“如果今天是我生命中的最后一天，你会不会完成你今天想做的事情呢？” 当答案连续很多次被给予 “不是” 的时候，我知道自己需要改变某些事情了。
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 three to six 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 to 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.
大概一年以前，我被诊断出癌症。我在早晨七点半做了一个检查，检查清楚的显示在我的胰腺有一个肿瘤。我当时都不知道胰腺是什么东西。医生告诉我那很可能是一种无法治愈的癌症，我还有三到六个月的时间活在这个世界上。我的医生叫我回家，然后整理好我的一切，那就是医生准备死亡的程序。那意味着你将要把未来十年对你小孩说的话在几个月里面说完.; 那意味着把每件事情都搞定，让你的家人会尽可能轻松的生活；那意味着你要说 “再见了”。
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 doctors 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 I’m fine now.
This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its 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 want to 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 is 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 will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
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 other’s 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.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, 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 typewriters, 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.
在我年轻的时候，有本很棒的叫全球目录的杂志。被我们那代人奉为经典。它是由斯图尔特・布兰德在这附近的 Menlo 公园创办的。他把自己的文艺气质融汇其中。那是六十年代后期。那时还没有个人电脑。全用打字机，剪刀和宝丽来照相机。它就好比是三十五年前的简装版的谷歌。充满理想主义色彩。该书简洁实用，见解独到。
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, 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 signed 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.