Many of us remember Steve Jobs as a technological visionary -- a modern day Edison. But aside from his inventions and accolades, he seemed to be a man with very inspiring and insightful views. In this Stanford commencement speech, Jobs poignantly shares three stories or life-defining moments in his 56-year journey and the knowledge he garnered from his experiences.
For me, it's a coincidence that Jobs speaks about connecting the dots -- I've often used a similar analogy. I believe that all of our experiences are like scattered dots: as we're sprinkling each dot, with each experience, we can't see or understand how they connect at the time. But as your life unfolds, and you collect more dots, you're able to connect them and eventually discover your path. Each dot, whether you perceive them as failures, bad luck or poor timing, all lead us to the next place we're supposed to be.
From the beginning of my life, some think I had a sordid start. I'm an immigrant who grew up in the ghetto and on welfare. I've lost four family members in eight short months. I've been laid off. I've quit a job that paid well and with a nice title. I've been done wrong by some family members and some friends. But now I can see that all my experiences, my struggles instilled the "hungry" immigrant work mentality in me. The losses inspired compassion and pushed me to leave the bright lights of the TV industry -- all of my dots have led me to where I am today.
By the age of 28, I reached all my wildest dreams and then some; as a TV reporter in a major market, I've been a reporter for a statewide show on PBS and of course, teaching at the university level. After nearly a decade in TV news, I left the biz and I've also passed up many lucrative job offers with great perks to pursue my passion project GoInspireGo (GIG) -- because this is what brings enlivens me and brings me joy.
Jobs fervently said, "You must do what you love" and "trust." Trust that you are exactly where you are supposed to be now -- and that it will lead you to where you're supposed to be.
So in the wise words of Steve Jobs, keep spreading your dots, one day you'll be able to connect them, you'll love and lose; and you'll gain. Love what you do and live life to the fullest before it's too late because death is "a destination we all share." And don't forget to "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish."
Words to live by.
Thank you for making your mark Mr. Jobs and leaving behind a legacy that will continue to affect us all. May you rest in peace.
1. Do you love what you do personally and professionally? If not, take baby steps now. (If you've been putting off jogging, make a date once a week with a friend to start. If you can't quit your job to do your passion project, earmark a few hours a week to get the ball rolling.)
2. Tell someone you love that you love them now, before it's too late.
3. Going through a tough time or situation -- be present and still. Think about what lesson this experience is teaching you and learn from it.
Follow Toan Lam on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GoInspireGo