Courthouse Towers - Arches National Park, Utah
The title of this blog comes from a commencement address in 2005 at Stanford done by Steve Jobs. The text of this address is pretty darn interesting. The video is also interesting and it's own way. I recommend reading and seeing both as they both seem to carry the message differently though the end result is still the same, inspiration and perspective.
Steve went on to say a few words about his life and how he got to where he was at the time, the leader and chief of one of the most iconic and creative companies in the world. The incredible success of Apple was still to come but at the time in 2005, you could sense it was all there. And, Steve at this address related a few words from his own life on how he got to where he was. There were three themes which I won't address here. I'll just make a couple of observations as I see them.
The first observation is Steve relates that he never could've connected the dots that his past would lead to this future. When in the moment of experiencing what he was experiencing, there was no way he could've projected that he would've eventually stood there at Stanford giving that speech. It seems the circumstances of his life did not paint a smooth and predictable path to his success. Though, when looking backward it all makes sense.
I say the same things about my own life and the moderate success I've had in my life. There's absolutely no way I could've predicted or planned to be exactly where I am just now. There were too many unpredictable twists and turns to be where I am now. Where Steve relates to the gigantic failures he's had that led to the point he is now, I'll observe the unexpected opportunities I've had pop up and took the lead me to where I am just now.
Being philosophical about it all, there are some people that spend endless hours checking the past to glean what the future will hold. I assert there's no success in that. It's like being on a speeding train in the fog called destiny while you're on the caboose looking backwards to the receding track trying to determine what's going to happen next. You simply can't do it. Not only that, it's futile and it makes you reactive instead of active to what comes ahead.
I believe the common thread I've had that when these opportunities presented themselves to me, I was prepared to take the opportunity. It's one thing to encounter an opportunity. It's entirely another thing to be prepared when the opportunity arrises. Preparation with opportunity breeds success.
Steve jobs made the point on another aspect of looking at how unpredictable life is that the unexpected is not all bad and in fact may be the best thing that ever happened to you. As long as you love what you do and what you are, the path is good regardless of how hard or difficult it is--these are my own words, hopefully it translates his point from this commencement address.
The last point he brings up his the point of death. As in death is the best invention related to life. Steve meant that in terms that eventually we all pass on--the old goes out--only to replaced by the new. It is the ultimate change agent. Our time here is limited and there is only so much opportunity. The opportunity is to leap forward into that opportunity. To use his words "... don't let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice".
Yes, that is so true.
Instead of being on that train on the track of destiny at the rear, on the caboose looking backwards. Look forward into the fog. Be at the front ready to embrace what's up ahead as the opportunities will be fast and fleeting. There's no way to predict what's coming your way but for sure, if you're not ready, you'll miss it. Don't let past performance or other peoples words and opinions keep you from training your look forward. Because, that is where opportunity is. That is where the future will come from. To look any other way is to miss it when it goes by.
Steve finished his address by relating a story about the Whole Earth Catalog which was a kind of cool catalog of things to buy back in the 70's when he was in his late teens and early twenties. When it had run it's course, the back of the last catalog had these words "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish".
Steve Jobs passed away earlier today leaving a large legacy.