Find What You Love
If you read these entries, you know that I read a number of magazines and books. It’s part of the way I’m wired to process a great deal of information from a variety of sources. I probably take (and read) about 50 magazines a month. A technology weekly called Red Herring is a new addition to my stack of publications. I’m unsure how I got on this list but according to the label I’m supposed to get it for the next couple of years. In fact, I thought they went out of business a while back but here they are showing up in my mailbox so I’m reading the magazine. In the May 15th issue, a headline from the publisher's letter to the reader blared, “Living the Gospel of Jobs.” I’ve not been able to find this particular article online or I would point to it. The headline was a dual meaning and talked about jobs or work but also Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. The editorial included a link to the graduation speech Steve Jobs gave last year at Stanford University. I typed in the link and found a remarkable speech and encouragement to writers. Since this time of year, many colleges are holding their graduations, it seemed appropriate for today’s entry on the writing life.
First, let me tell a little something personal (yet relevant) which isn’t in this article. My wife’s Aunt Pat lived in Palo Alto, California for over fifty years and passed away last year. She was a grand, remarkable person yet lived a quiet life on Waverly Street. When she moved into the neighborhood, there was little famous about it but it changed over the years. In fact, Steve Jobs lived across the street from Aunt Pat. Several times, I’ve been to this family home and it’s located right down the street from Stanford University. It wasn’t a hard trip for Steve Jobs to deliver the Stanford commencement speech last year.
In his opening statement, Jobs recognizes his unusual status to be giving a commencement address since he never graduated from college. Then he says three key points which I’m going to quote for this entry.
First, he emphasizes the importance of connecting the dots. It’s an important trait for writers as well and Jobs backs up his points with a key life story then he says, “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.”
His second story relates to work. I’m going to skip the story but encourage you to read it. Jobs says, “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.”
The third and final story relates to Jobs’ personal brush with death and he makes this point, “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.”
Whether you are a new college graduate or a long-time writer and editor, each of these key points are relevant to our every choices.