On asking questions

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In one training, a senior manager ended his presentation and humbly asked, “Do you have any questions in regards to what I’ve presented to you?”. Subsequently, one participant excitedly asked a question and this question was directly answered by the manager. The manager then threw question to others whether they have more questions in mind or not. No one was answering. No questions from them.

The same thing happened again. One presented and then no questions or even no comments. But the second presenter gave a striking comment to the participant. Here is the comment that I learned.

By not asking or commenting to anything that has been presented does not surely mean that you are all smart. But by not communicating, the top management would ask about your contribution to the company if you can’t present your ideas. They will be wondering why should they invite you to the meeting if you don’t have any contribution. Next time, you will surely won’t be invited.

Giving an “intelligent” question is not as easy as it seems. That’s why the management will require a person who have the ability of asking smart question or giving constructive comment to the fact that has been provided.

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By being silence means you’re communicating among the two: you perfectly understand the idea or you totally have no idea of the issues. Therefore, it’s much better for you to put attention to the presentation and ask question or give comments accordingly.

Remember: You cannot not communicate. Everyone will have a judgment toward your way of communication, even its a silence.

Tentang lanjut kuliah S2

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masters

Q: Bang, saya sudah selesai S1 nih. Alhamdulillah bang, bisa lulus dengan pujian a.k.a cum laude. Pengennya sih setelah ini bisa kerja di perusahaan multinasional agar kemampuan Bahasa Inggris tetap bisa digunakan. Tapi setelah 6 bulan apply dan nunggu, belum ada titik terang bang.

Belum ada yang jodoh. Nah, apa baiknya langsung S2 aja bang kayak beberapa teman yang lain?

A: Nah, ini nih yang nantinya bikin ribet. Lulus S1 saja susah cari kerja kan, apalagi lulus S2 without any employment experience. Menurut abang, lebih baik cari pengalaman dulu sebelum memutuskan lanjut kuliah. Logical steps-nya seperti ini kalau ingin berkarir di dunia profesional: Kerja –> Kerja –> Kuliah –> Kerja. Perkaya terlebih dahulu pengalamannya di kerja agar tahu hal apa yang ingin dipelajari. Misalnya, bekerja di HR dan ingin tahu lebih dalam mengenai bidang ini, ambillah S2 yang terkait dengan HR agar dapat men-support karir ke depannya.

Sayang kalau kuliah S2 hanya untuk mengisi waktu sambil cari kerja atau malah hanya mencari pelarian karena tidak dapat kerja. Buatlah orang tua senang dalam waktu cukup panjang setelah melihat anak kesayangannya diwisuda. Sekiranya memang belum rezekinya, berkecimpunglah di kegiatan-kegiatan sosial atau pun akademis yang bisa memperluas jaringan sembari belajar.

Akan tetapi, menjadi berbeda jika memang tujuannya adalah untuk menjadi dosen atau agar diterima di pekerjaan yang menuntut harus S2 terlebih dahulu. Intinya adalah, jadikan alasan untuk lanjut kuliahmu sangat jelas dan jadikan S2 itu sebagai kebutuhan, bukan keinginan. Jika butuh S2, butuh ilmu yang lebih jauh lagi, ambil master degree. Jika tidak atau belum butuh, tunggulah terlebih dahulu. Jangan ikutan tren. InsyaAllah bisa! 🙂

Menciptakan Masa Depan

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How do we create the future?

To be honest, saya adalah orang yang tidak pernah serius memikirkan masa depan nantinya seperti apa; pekerjaan apa yang akan dijalani, keluarga seperti apa yang akan dibangun, kematian seperti apa yang diinginkan.  😀

Just let it flow! Tidak perlu mikir panjang, nanti banyak keriput. Katanya sih, “Biarkan hidup mengalir seperti air”. Bagus kalau air mengalir ke tempat yang lebih baik. Kalau misalnya ke got bagaimana? Apakah harus tetap menerima saja? Pasrah? Untung saja saat itu airnya masih mengalir ke tempat yang bagus.

Saya sangat passionate untuk menjadi dosen. Akan tetapi, akhirnya saya hanya mengikuti peluang yang ada setelah menyelesaikan kuliah. Tak jelas arah yang mau dituju. Saya pun mengikuti program pertukaran pemuda, menjadi guru les Bahasa Inggris untuk siswa SD hingga karyawan, menjadi penerjemah dokumen di NGO hingga menjadi guru SD. Menurut saya sih random ya. Benar-benar tidak ada tujuan yang jelas.

Hal sederhana seperti ini baru sempat terpikir setelah saya mengikuti pelatihan 7 Habits. Saat itu disampaikan bahwa hidup harus dimulai dengan cara melihat tujuan akhir yang kita inginkan, “begin with the end in mind”. Dengan demikian, segala tindakan kita di hari ini harus ada korelasinya dengan tujuan akhir tersebut.

Oleh karena itu, sebaiknya sempatkan untuk bertanya kepada diri sendiri:

  • Pekerjaan seperti apa yang ingin saya jalani agar saya dapat memberi kontribusi bagi orang banyak?
  • Keluarga seperti apa yang ingin saya bangun agar semua orang di dalamnya dapat berbahagia lahir dan batin serta dapat berkumpul bersama di surga?
  • Hal apa yang dibicarakan oleh orang-orang sepeninggal saya nantinya mengenai perbuatan saya di masa hidup?

Buatlah daftar tindakan yang akan membantu untuk mencapai tujuan akhir tersebut. Jangan sampai kita melakukan hal-hal yang tidak relevan dengan harapan di masa depan. Yuk, ingat kata-kata Om Lincoln, “The best way to predict the future is to create it” dan juga dari Om Gallagher, ”Life is the sum of what you focus on”.

Selamat menciptakan masa depan!

forecast-crystal-ball-prediction

Raise the bar!

Tentang Ikhlas: Belajar dari Gula Pasir

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Gula pasir

Gula pasir memberi rasa manis pada kopi tetapi orang menyebutnya kopi manis bukan kopi gula

Gula pasir memberi rasa manis pada teh tetapi orang menyebutnya teh manis bukan teh gula

Gula pasir memberi rasa manis pada es jeruk tetapi orang menyebutnya es jeruk manis bukan es jeruk gula

Orang menyebut roti manis bukan roti gula

Orang menyebut sirup pandan, sirup apel, sirup jambu; padahal bahan dasarnya gula

Tetapi gula tetap ikhlas larut dalam memberi rasa manis

Akan tetapi, apabila berhubungan dengan penyakit, barulah gula disebut penyakit gula …

Begitulah hidup, kadang kebaikan yang kita tanam tak pernah disebut orang …

Tetapi kesalahan akan dibesar-besarkan …

 

Ikhlaslah seperti gula … Larutlah seperti gula …

Tetap semangat memberi kebaikan …

Tetap semangat menyebar kebaikan …

Karena kebaikan tidak untuk disebut tetapi untuk dirasakan …

 

Source: Other WordPress

Kekuatan Kata “Belum”

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Taste your words before you spit them out.

Saya teringat pengalaman menarik pada saat menjalani tes kerja di suatu perusahaan. Proses saat itu terbilang cukup sederhana dan dapat diselesaikan dalam waktu yang singkat. Pada saat semua proses itu telah dilalui, saya pun diterima oleh calon user. Nah, menariknya ada pertanyaan yang nyangkut di bagian akhir, “Andrio, kamu sudah diterima di perusahaan ini. Tapi saya lupa nanya, kamu bisa nyetir kan ya karena posisi ini require orang yang diharuskan mobile.”

Jleb. Saya tidak pernah membayangkan akan ada pertanyaan seperti ini. Yang sempat terpikir hanyalah berupa amunisi untuk menjawab pertanyaan-pertanyaan standar pada saat wawancara seperti yang sering saya baca di berbagai artikel di internet. Sayangnya saat itu saya belum bisa menyetir mobil karena di pekerjaan sebelumnya tidak ada tuntutan untuk skill tersebut. Bisa mengendarai motor saja sudah cukup.

Jawaban spontan saya saat itu adalah, “Saya belum bisa nyetir mobil Pak untuk saat ini. Tapi saya bisa belajar dan saya yakin pasti bisa.” Seandainya saat itu saya memilih kata “tidak” ketimbang “belum” (Saya tidak bisa nyetir), saya tidak tahu keputusan akhir apa yang akan diambil oleh calon user. Seandainya calon user saya saat itu juga tidak percaya dengan apa yang saya sampaikan, mungkin saya tidak pernah diterima di perusahaan tersebut.

Sejak saat itu, kata “belum” mempunyai makna kuat bagi saya mengenai arti sebuah janji dan proses. Janji yang saya berikan kepada calon atasan atau pun orang lain dan proses belajar mengenai hal baru yang harus saya lalui. Sebuah proses untuk belajar dan memperbaiki diri dibandingkan dengan kondisi saat ini. Kata ini dapat membantu saya untuk mengidentifikasi current condition dengan ideal condition yang hendak dicapai. So, mind your words. Semoga kata yang sederhana ini juga dapat membantu Anda dalam kehidupan profesional dan juga personal.

Yet

The power of yet

 

Kembali Kepada Diri Sendiri

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5571b83900b6daeb412da03cdc1006a1Saya kembali menuliskan cerita ini setelah membaca buku oleh Prasetya M. Brata dengan judul “Provokasi”, halaman 126-127.

Ada seorang mandor bangunan yang minta kepada atasannya untuk pensiun setelah 20 tahun bekerja. Tabungannya sudah banyak. Ketika permohonan berhenti diajukan, si Bos keberatan. “Proyek kita masih banyak, nanti bagaimana dong, saya susah cari orang yang kayak kamu. Kerjamu bagus,” alasan si Bos. Si Mandor ngotot. Lama-lama akhirnya si Bos menyerah. “Oke, kalau itu keinginanmu, saya kabulkan dengan satu syarat. Tolong buatkan saya satu rumah lagi.”

Yaah bos, saya sudah ngebet ingin pensiun,” kata si Mandor.

Alaah, satuu lagi saja… Cuma satu kok,” jawab si Bos.

Akhirnya si Mandor tadi mengiyakan dengan ogah-ogahan. Ia kemudian mengerjakan pesanan satu rumah terakhirnya. Karena pikirannya sudah tidak fokus, ingin segera pensiun dan beristirahat, ia yang biasanya bekerja dengan penuh ketekunan, kali ini bekerja terburu-buru. Pengecatan cukup sekali, padahal biasanya tiga kali. Lantai tidak rata. Kusen kurang lurus. Tidak seperti biasanya, hasil kerjanya kali ini kurang bagus. Tapi ia tidak peduli karena yang ia pikirkan adalah segera pensiun. Toh, habis ini tidak ada tugas lagi. Titik.

Setelah selesai lebih awal dari jadwal normal, si Mandor menghadap bos di kantor. “Bos, pesanannya sudah jadi, silahkan dilihat di lokasi.” Si Bos mengambil kunci rumah yang disodorkan oleh si Mandor, kemudia ia berkata, “Aku senang kamu selesai lebih cepat. Atas pengabdianmu selama 20 tahun, dan demi persahabatan kita, ambil kunci ini. Aku serahkan rumah itu buat bekal pensiunmu …” Gubrak! Si Mandor menyesal sejadi-jadinya.

Segala sesuatu yang kita lakukan akan kembali kepada diri kita sendiri. Kalau kita bekerja dengan penuh kualitas, hasilnya akan “penuh” pula kembali kepada kita. Kalau kita kerja bagus, kita juga dapat bagus. Dan sebaliknya.

Otobiografi Sebuah Cangkir

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A cup of milkPasangan itu memutuskan bertamasya ke Inggris untuk merayakan ulang tahun perkawinan mereka yang ke-25. Keduanya menyukai barang antik, khususnya cangkir. Dan begitulah, mereka memasuki toko demi toko untuk menambah koleksi cangkir antik mereka. Dan, ada sebuah cangkir yang sangat menarik perhatian sang nyonya. Cangkir yang sangat cantik.

“Engkau pasti tak tahu” tiba tiba cangkir di tangannya itu berbisik. “Dulunya aku sama sekali bukan cangkir …”

Agak terkejut dan gugup dia, tapi si nyonya diam saja, ingin mendengar apa yang akan dikatakan cangkir itu lebih lanjut.

“Dulunya warnaku merah. Merahnya tanah liat. Lalu Dia yang empunya aku mengambilku, menggulungku, menepuk-nepuk dan memukulku berulang-ulang sampai aku berteriak, ‘Lepaskan aku, lepaskan aku,’ tetapi Dia hanya tersenyum dan berkata: ‘Tahankan dulu, tahankan dulu, belum waktunya; engkau akan berguna pastinya.”

“Lalu Dia memindahkan aku ke sebuah meja putar. Dengan kakinya tiba tiba dia memutar meja itu dengan amat kencang, terus, terus dan terus sampai aku merasa pusing. ‘Hentikan, hentikan, hentikan!’ aku berteriak, tapi Dia hanya memandangiku dan berkata: ‘Tahankan dulu, tahankan dulu, belum waktunya; engkau akan berguna pastinya.”

“Akhirnya terbuka juga pintu oven yang panas itu. Aku diletakkannya pada sebuah rak. Aku mulai merasa nyaman dan dingin. Tapi baru saja merasakan ademnya udara, aku diangkatnya, Dia menyikatku dengan keras, lalu dicatnya dan dilukisnya seluruh tubuhku. Bau cat itu sungguh tak enak. Aku seakan tercekik. ‘Hentikan!’ teriakku. Kali ini aku menangis. Tapi dia masih dengan tenangnya memandangiku dan berkata: ‘Tahankan dulu, tahankan dulu, belum waktunya; engkau akan berguna pastinya.”

“Dia lalu mengangkatku lagi. Kukira dia sudah selesai, tapi ternyata belum. Malahan kini dia memasukkan aku ke dalam oven yang lain dan, ya ampun, kali ini bahkan dua kali lebih panas dari oven sebelumnya. Dalam hati aku sudah ingin menyerah saja dan melupakan semuanya: selamat tinggal dunia!

Tetapi mengingat tujuan Nya yang ingin membuat aku menjadi barang yang berguna, aku pasrah saja dan bertahan terus. Kupikir, adalah indah kalau hidupku menjadi berkat bagi sesama, menjadi anugrah bagi dunia. Pikiran itu membuatku bertambah kuat.

Tiba-tiba pintu oven dibuka. Dia mengangkatku dan meletakkan aku di rak yang bersih. Lalu Dia mengambil cermin dan berkata, ‘Sekarang lihatlah dirimu.’ Di kaca aku melihat sesuatu yang indah. ‘Ah, itu pasti bukan aku. Tak mungkin itu aku. Betapa indahnya. Akukah itu. Aku jadi cantik sekali sekarang.”

“Lalu Dia menimang-nimang aku sekali lagi dan berkata, ‘Ingatlah. Aku tahu bagaimana sakitnya digulung, dipukul, dibakar, digosok dan ditempa, tetapi Aku tak pernah meninggalkanmu hingga engkau menjadi yang sebaik-baiknya akhirnya. Kini engkau telah menjadi dirimu yang ada di pikiran Ku sejak Aku mulai membentukmu dahulu.”

 

Learning point:

Mengenali diri sendiri serta memahami bahwa setiap situasi yang kita hadapi ditujukan untuk menghebatkan diri agar menjadi pribadi terbaik.

Diadopsi dari buku “Kafe Etos” oleh Jansen Sinamo, hal. 98-100.

Kisah Wazir dan Sultan

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Sultan

“Win through your actions, never through argument”

Dahulu, ada seorang Wazir (penasihat) yang terkenal setia dan bijaksana melayani Sultan-nya. Wazir tersebut tidak pernah mengeluhkan pekerjaannya dan selalu melalukan yang terbaik bagi Sultan. Sang Sultan pun mempercayakan hal-hal yang penting kepada Wazir. Sayangnya, ia memiliki beberapa musuh di kerajaan yang iri hati terhadap loyalitasnya pada Sultan.

Musuh-musuhnya bersekongkol memfitnah Wazir dengan menyatakan bahwa Wazir tidak loyal terhadap Sultan.

Sultan yang terpengaruh kemudian memanggil Wazir kehadapannya untuk diadili. Sultan memutuskan hukuman mati bagi Wazir atas tuduhan pengkhianatan. Sebagai hukumannya, Wazir akan dilahap anjing-anjing ganas yang siap memangsanya.

Anehnya, Wazir memutuskan untuk tidak mengajukan satu gugatan pun atas putusan Sang Sultan. Namun, Wazir hanya menyampaikan permintaan terakhir sebelum ia dieksekusi. Ia meminta waktu 10 hari agar dapat mencari penjaga anaknya setelah ia dieksekusi. Dia juga berjanji tidak akan melarikan diri.

Sang Sultan mengabulkan permintaan terakhir tersebut.

Sesampainya di rumah, Wazir langsung mengambil sekantong emas yang dia simpan bertahun-tahun lamanya dan langsung kembali ke istana. Disana, ia bertemu dengan penjaga anjing dan menanyakan apakah ia dapat membeli anjing-anjing tersebut. Penjaga anjing tidak dapat menolak tawaran tersebut dan menyerahkan sekawanan anjing ganas pada Wazir.

Selama 10 hari, Wazir merawat dan menjaga anjing-anjing tersebut dengan sangat baik. Ia menghabiskan sebagian besar waktunya untuk memperhatikan mereka. Bahkan keluarganya sempat terheran-heran dengan perilakunya.

Setelah 10 hari, tibalah saatnya eksekusi akan dilaksanakan. Sang Wazir terlihat tenang menunggu eksekusinya. Ia diikat dan dimasukkan ke tempat dimana ia akan diserang anjing ganas. Semua orang termasuk Sultan terkejut menyaksikan apa yang terjadi di hadapannya. Anjing-anjing tersebut tidak menyerang Wazir, sebaliknya malah bermain-main dan menyalak kegirangan karena bertemu majikannya.

Sultan masih kebingungan dengan apa yang baru saja ia lihat. Sultan kemudian meminta agar Wazir dibawa ke hadapannya untuk menjelaskan apa yang sudah terjadi. Sang Wazir menyampaikan pada Sultan bahwa dia hanya melakukan hal yang sederhana. Dia menunjukkan belas kasih, dedikasi dan kesabaran pada anjing-anjing tersebut dalam waktu 10 hari. Hal yang sama, bahkan lebih, juga sudah ia tunjukkan pada Sultan selama 30 tahun melayani Sultan beserta keluarga kerajaan. Sayangnya, kesetiaannya dibalas dengan hukuman mati hanya dikarenakan mendengar fitnah dari musuh-musuhnya.

Sultan pun menyadari kesalahan yang telah ia lakukan. Ia langsung membebaskan Wazir dan memberinya pakaian yang sangat bagus. Sultan juga menyerahkan orang-orang yang sudah mencoba merusak reputasi Wazir. Wazir memaafkan orang yang telah memfitnah dirinya dan memperlakukan mereka dengan baik.

 

Learning point:

Put them into commentary boxes, will you? 🙂

 

Diadopsi dari “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene

 

You are what you think

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Art by Leo Tabibzadegan

Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become actions.

Watch your actions, they come habits.

Watch your habits, they become your character.

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Steve Jobs: Stay hungry, stay foolish

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steve-jobsSteve Jobs, the founder of Apple and Pixar, is the man behind the phenomenal products namely iPhone and iPad. World was amazed when he presented a revolutionary modification to mobile phone and tablet. He died in 56 years old after a troubling healthy condition for years. Nevertheless, people will always remember him because of his persistent and great contribution to people’s life.

Through this article, I’d like to share his commencement speech delivered in Stanford University in 2005. There are three points in this article that could be useful for people to think about their life. Personally, I think the speech is really powerful.

“You’ve got to find what you love, don’t settle”, Steve Jobs.

Excerpts:

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. 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.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

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.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. 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.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.