Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Connecting the Dots

In his renowned 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, Steve Jobs shared three stories from his life. The first story, connecting the dots, focuses on his college dropout experience at Reed College. Despite dropping out, Jobs continued to audit classes that interested him, such as calligraphy. This seemingly irrelevant knowledge later played a pivotal role in the development of the Macintosh computer’s typography, demonstrating that one must trust the dots will connect in the future.

Love and Loss

The second story revolves around love and loss. Jobs recounts how he was fired from Apple, the company he co-founded with Steve Wozniak. Although initially devastated, he realized he still loved what he did and started two new companies, NeXT and Pixar. Apple eventually acquired NeXT, bringing Jobs back and leading to Apple’s resurgence. This experience taught Jobs the importance of perseverance and loving what you do.

Death as a Motivator: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

The third story emphasizes the impact of death as a motivator. Jobs shares how a cancer scare forced him to confront his mortality. He used this experience to encourage graduates to live each day as if it were their last, avoiding the trap of living someone else’s life and having the courage to follow their intuition.

In closing, Jobs imparted the wisdom from the last issue of The Whole Earth Catalog, urging graduates to Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

What does “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” mean?

It is a powerful and motivational saying that fundamentally urges individuals to continually seek new knowledge, experiences, and self-improvement, while simultaneously embracing the unconventional, risk-taking, and open-minded approach necessary for true innovation and success. In essence, the phrase promotes the pursuit of curiosity and a relentless drive for growth in various aspects of life, be it personal or professional.

Firstly, by staying hungry, one remains eager to learn and grow, never succumbing to complacency or mediocrity. It implies a constant striving for betterment and a refusal to be satisfied with the status quo. Consequently, this hunger fuels the drive to explore new ideas, challenge existing paradigms, and push boundaries in the quest for knowledge and understanding.

In contrast, staying foolish refers to the willingness to take risks, to embrace unconventional thinking, and to question established norms. Specifically, this aspect of the saying encourages individuals to be unafraid of making mistakes or appearing naïve, as these experiences can ultimately lead to valuable lessons and unexpected discoveries. By maintaining a “foolish” mindset, one opens themselves up to a world of possibilities that might be missed if they simply followed conventional wisdom.

Therefore, it is essentially a call to action for individuals to constantly challenge themselves, to explore new horizons, and to always be open to learning and evolving, even if it means taking risks and questioning established norms. As a result, this mindset fosters an environment where creativity, innovation, and personal growth can flourish, leading to greater success and fulfillment in one’s life.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.


The Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs

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