Steve Jobs Commencement Speech About His Close Call with Death and His Outlook on Life


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In Steve Jobs’ Commencement speech at Stanford University, he speaks about his close call with death and his outlook on life. The topic of life and it’s worth has been brought up many times throughout this unit, and Steve Jobs lays out his values better than any other person I’ve read about. It is clear that Steve Jobs feels that people should live life to the fullest, and I for one agree. Jobs faced death for the first time when his doctor told him he had incurable cancer, and only had a few months to live. It was at this moment that reality came crashing down on Jobs, and he began to reflect on his life. A few weeks later the doctor found that he had a rare form of pancreatic cancer that was curable with surgery. 

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Even though Jobs knew that he was now fine, he realized that you can be the richest man in the world one minute and in the next be dead. In his speech, Jobs states, ‘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.” I believe that more people should think like this as you never really know when your last day on Earth will be. Making tough decisions is apart of life, the key is to not regret the choices you’ve made. 

“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,”said Jobs. Roger Ebert said “I was perfectly content before I was born and I think of death as the same state… I am grateful for the gift of life, love, wonder, and laughter.” Ebert, like Jobs, understood the importance of life, and what true success and wealth was, not just material wealth. Most people in the world feel as though you can put a price on someone’s life. However, the value of life is pricless and that is why we must cherish it. Ebert and Jobs lived life to the fullest. 

After Roger Ebert had his surgery he might’ve thought that not being able to eat, drink, or speak during the last few years of his life would make life unbearable. He instead saw the value of life and continued doing what he loved. When Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, the company he founded, I’m sure he was devastated. However, he picked himself up with the help of his family, found new companies, and got Apple back. These were men who kept fighting, while never losing track of what was truly important till the day they died. Steve Jobs regards death as “the destination we all share…no one has ever escaped it.”

 Meaning that no matter what everyone eventually dies and there is no avoiding it. No one is able to choose when they die, and that is why Steve Jobs statement about death being the best invention of life is so true. Death forces people to treasure and recognize what is important in life; family, friends, and love. So value life and those around you, live every day like it’s your last, because one day it will be.   

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