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Inspiration Soup for the Soul

July 28, 2012

A lump in my throat effectively formed while I was watching the video of Steve Job’s Commencement address at Stanford (June 12th, 2005). It made me want to cry – that’s how inspirational it was. It made me realize that I have my whole life ahead of me… because for God’s sake, I’m only 19! Nineteen. 

I remember thinking back in May, that taking two courses in summer school was the hardest thing that I had ever done. Listen to that! Taking Logic was the hardest thing that I had ever done. I thought to myself, “Are you serious? That’s pretty sad”.

For the past week or so, I have been slowly realizing how imminent death is. I always pick up the paper on my morning walks to the gym, and as I flip through the pages, all I see are stories about murder, suicides, and tragic deaths. It makes me think about my life, my loved ones’ lives, and how we have been fated to intertwine and connect with each other. It makes me truly realize our place in the universe, but this is something that I could never explain.

Do you ever notice sometimes, how clear the sky can be in the evening time? The sun is setting and the sky is a nice shade of light blue. On the nights where there are no clouds in sight, I like to bend my head back and just stare up at the sky. It makes me feel calm, relaxed, and connected to some higher force. Of course, sometimes when I’m doing this, I’m end up walking into poles or people. But if it’s a Friday night, and I’m lucky, I get to lie in a starfish position in the middle of an open field… and just look up. It makes me realize that I am but a tiny little being – that we’re all tiny little beings who come together to form this universe. It gives me such a sense of peacefulness knowing that I am not alone, and that we are all, in a sense, trying to find our way.

But anyway, here is the video… and here are a few of my favourite quotations:

On connecting the dots:

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.

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.

On doing what you love:

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.

On death:

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 others’ 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.

Finally my readers, as in the words of “The Whole Earth Catalogue” and Mr. Jobs, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish”.

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