3 Lessons From Steve Jobs to Mark His 59th Birthday

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Today would have been legendary Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs’s 59th birthday. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003 and passed away in October 2011, shortly after resigning as chief executive of the company. Apple fans around the world are remembering Jobs on his birthday, and so is current CEO Tim Cook. “Remembering my friend Steve on his birthday,” tweeted Cook. “‘Stay hungry, Stay foolish’. We honor him by continuing the work he loved so much.”

In 2005, Jobs gave a stirring commencement address at Stanford University. Although Jobs had recently undergone a surgery that doctors believed had cured his cancer, he was obviously still deeply affected by his near-death experience. Here are the three important life lessons that Jobs shared in that memorable speech. The entire talk can also be viewed in the video above.

1. Follow your heart and trust that the dots will connect

After confessing that he never graduated from college, Jobs recalled his own brief experience with higher learning that taught him an important life lesson. Jobs noted that he dropped out of Reed College because he “couldn’t see the value in it” and he felt bad wasting his parents’ hard-earned money. Jobs said his decision to drop out and his “trust that it would all work out OK” allowed him to begin dropping in on classes that truly interested him, rather than being forced to take courses required by the school.

Jobs noted that the things he learned by following his “curiosity and intuition” directly led to his eventual success at Apple. As an example, Jobs cited a calligraphy class that he was able to attend at Reed College after he dropped out. “[T]en years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me,” said Jobs. “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,” he said to raucous applause.

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