Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

In June of 2005 Steve Jobs delivered the commencement address at Stanford. I keep a copy on my laptop and read it now and then. It's not that I think of him as a role model. His leadership style is very different than mine. He shared three stories from his life to make the following points: 1) Connect the dots: Live is not always easy to read. Be patient and 'connect the dots' of your experience. Jobs said,  "... 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."  Sometimes we get too caught up in all of the 'noise'. Be patient and connect the dots!

2) Love and life: What is it that you are passionate about? Jack Welch talks about knowing what 'turns your crank'. For Steve Jobs it was technology, specifically computers.  It's that 'thing' that you are passionate about. Find it and take a ride. Jobs said, "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."  That's really important .. don't settle!

3) Jobs reference a quote he remembered from early in his life: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." He went on to say, "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."  Very well said.

Jobs closing comment came from the back cover of the final issue of 'The Whole Earth Catalog". It said: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish".  Perhaps when we were 'young', we just don't know any better. To the outsider it looked like foolishness. The reality is that we were not fettered by the limitations that we accept as we age. Can you bring back the hunger and restore some 'foolishness'? I think so. Connect the dots in life, find your passion and don't settle!

LeadershipRick Cartwright