I recently came across the commencement address Steve Jobs gave at Stanford in June 2005. It was quite inspiring in its content, even for a guy like me who is on the down hill slide rather than starting up the mountain as the Stanford graduates were. About a year before this event Steve was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and given three to six months to live. Most of us know that he actually lived another seven years. Here are some inspiring words from that address:
Don’t get trapped by dogma – which is living 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.
Steve Jobs was a very driven person who lived by these words. He and many entrepreneurs like him are pretty much responsible for our prosperity in the last few decades. Of course he followed in the footsteps of people like Edison, Ford, and Einstein. It takes thinking outside the box to introduce the new ideas that spur the jobs of tomorrow. No, our prosperity doesn’t come from inherited wealth which is passed on from one undeserving generation to the next, it comes from those who think outside the box. I can’t help but feel that with our addiction to drugs, no I am not talking about the illegal ones but the ones of the prescription variety, that we may be squashing our future leaders in this area. It seems that today as a youth if you have an “inner voice” that is different from others you would most likely would be labeled an ADD kid. If you follow your heart and intuition you may likely be put into some “special” education class.
Are we drugging the innovation out of our current crop of kids? I very much suspect that if Albert Einstein was born in the 21st century he would likely have been drugged. Let’s hope that this observation by just an ordinary guy such as myself is inaccurate but I have a gut feeling that there is at least some truth to this thought. Even as a senior I seem to be told by more than one person that since I don’t see the world as many do that I am somehow either getting carried away or need some medication (ha). I can’t imagine the pressure that some kids have on them today in this area.
I hope I am wrong and Steve Jobs’ advice can be fulfilled by the kids around today. Don’t get trapped into thinking that if you are different you are somehow defective. Don’t let anyone drown out your inner voice even if it seems different from the kids around you. Follow your heart and particularly your intuition when looking at the world around you. We absolutely need these types of traits in our future crop of inventors and thinkers the same as we have had in the past. Without them we may likely be trapped into the feeling that we as a nation have seen our best days and they are behind us.
To all you younger generations out there, Stay Hungry for knowledge and insight beyond what might be considered normal. Stay foolish in dreaming things that others can’t see. We are depending on you!