How to Live before You Die by Steve Jobs

How to Live Before You Die by Steve Jobs

This essay ” How to Live Before You Die” is a motivational speech which has been delivered by the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer and Pixar, Steve Jobs on 12th June 2005. He delivered this speech at the 114th commencement of Stanford University in the United States. He delivered an inspirational speech about his life-related views publicly.

This speech encouraged not only the students of Stanford University but also many people around the world. Here in this speech, Steve Jobs related his three different stories based on his life. All these three stories played very vital roles in shaping his experiences and journey of a successful career.

The CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer and Pixar Steve Jobs’s three life- related different stories were:

  1. About Connecting the Dots
  2. About Love and Loss
  3. About Death

Connecting the Dots

This first story is about various facts that are linked to his life. Here in the first story, he has narrated his birth, adoption scene and later struggles. According to him, his biological mother was an unwed college graduate student who decided to put him up for adoption before his birth. She wanted her baby to be adopted by graduate parents. To adopt him, a lawyer and his wife became ready at first.

But, after his birth, the lawyer’s family changed their mind to adopt him because they wanted to adopt a baby girl. Later on, he was adopted by another family. His biological mother refused to sign adoption papers because she found out that the parents were never graduated from high school and college. But, the parents persuaded his biological mother to send him to college someday.

Steve joined an expensive college named Reed College at the age of 17. His parents’ all savings were being spent on his college tuition. After six months, he dropped out of Reed college and even those classes of his disinterest. He didn’t have an idea about the further steps of his life. He failed to make meaning of his life. He didn’t get the idea of what he wanted to do in his life. The importance of college itself was in a question mark. He started taking classes of his interest. During those days, he faced a lot of hardships. He joined a calligraphy class to learn about typefaces. Calligraphy was quite popular during those days. He learnt serif and sans serif typefaces. For him, the course of calligraphy turned out to be a kind of boon.

After 10 years, he used his knowledge of calligraphy and his skills when he was designing the first Macintosh computer. He designed the first Macintosh computer with beautiful typography. While pursuing his curiosity and intuition, he stumbled many times but his hardships turned out to be priceless later on. He realized everything related to dots and their connections in his life.

When Steve looked backward, he got the idea that how different dots kept on connecting themselves to support him to reach his real destination. His decisions of dropping college and starting the course of his interest, his experiences, hardships, gut and trust in karma (destiny) etc. moved along with his steps like different dots. Finally, all these dots got connected and made him successful.

His Advice in this Story

▪︎You can connect dots looking backwards.

▪︎You have to trust the connection of dots in your future.

▪︎You have to trust in your gut, destiny, life, and karma.

Love and Loss

Here in this story, he has narrated his story related to his love for his work and the loss of his company. According to him, he found whatever he loved early in his life. He and his friend Woz started the Apple company in his parent’s garage at the age of 20. Their small company turned into a 2 billion dollar company with over 4000 employees after 10 years. As the company progressed, they decided to hire a talented person to take over the company.

The company did a great job in the first year. But later on, due to divergence in their visions for the future of their company, the Board of Directors fired him from his own company at the age of 30. It was a quite devastating experience for him. He even asked for an apology to David Packard and Bob Noyce for screwing up so badly. He thought as if his entire life was ruined. He felt rejected but he began to realize that he still was in love with the work he did.

He decided to start over again. After that, he entered one of the most creative periods of his life. During the next five years, he formed a new company named NeXT, and then Pixar, which turned out to be the most successful animation studio in the world, creating the first computer-animated feature film ‘Toy Story’. He even fell in love with an amazing woman.

Later on, Apple bought NeXT and he returned to Apple again. With mixed technology vision, he was able to dominate the IT market.

Advice in this Story

▪︎Don’t lose faith.

▪︎Love what you work with.

▪︎Keep looking for your best work that satisfies you…don’t settle.


Here in this story, Steve narrates his story about death. At the age of 49, he suffered from pancreatic cancer. His doctors told him that he could only live for 3 to 6 months. But later on, when he had a biopsy, his doctors informed his wife about the treatment of his tumour through surgery.

After surgery, he became able to get rid of his pancreatic tumor. During the time of his diagnosis, he experienced his death closely. The concept of death taught him a severe lesson of his life. Death is inevitable and nobody lives forever. Nobody wants to die but everyone shares this intellectual concept.

Death is really life’s greatest invention. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. But, he never lost hope. After his recovery, he kept on working very honestly providing his best for his company’s response.

Advice in this Story

▪︎Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

▪︎Listen to your inner voice instead of others’ opinions.

▪︎Follow your heart and intuition.

▪︎Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Analysis of How to Live Before You Die

This essay ” How to Live Before You Die” is a motivational speech that has been delivered by the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer Steve Jobs. This speech has been delivered by him at the commencement of Stanford University in the year 2005. He delivered his life-related stories to motivate people who were present at that commencement. His stories are as follows:

Connecting The Dots

Here in this story, he has shared his stories related to his birth, adoption by Paul and Clara Jobs, obligations behind leaving Reed College, and hardships and struggles in his life. According to him, he was quite unsure about the further steps in his life. He happened to take the classes of his interest which were the classes of Calligraphy. He learnt serif and san serif typefaces. His knowledge and skills in calligraphy turned out to be a kind of boon for him. He applied his skills and knowledge of Caligraphy while designing the first Macintosh Computer after ten years.

With the help of his friend Woz, he was able to design the first Macintosh Computer with beautiful typography. He has related all the steps in his life as different dots. According to him, we can realize the connection of all these dots in our life when we look backwards. No one can connect the dots of their life looking forward. These different dots keep on connecting and pave the way ahead. Along with trust in our gut, life, destiny or karma, we have to do our tasks expecting to have a fine future ahead.

Love And Loss

Here in this story, Steve Jobs has related the biggest loss of his life. According to him, at the age of thirty, he was fired from his own company by the board of directors. He didn’t lose hope. His love for his tasks helped him again. His knowledge, skills, and love supported and led him toward the height again in the tech world.

He was able to establish his new company Next and the world-famous Animation studio called Pixar which created a world-famous animated feature film named ‘Toy Story.’ Here, he has advised all the people not to settle down their search in the matter of their desired tasks. According to him people should love the works they do and seek their desirable work. They shouldn’t settle down in their search for the best work.


Here in this story, Steve Jobs has related his experience of his sickness due to pancreatic cancer at the age of forty-nine. During that time, he experienced his death closely. He got the idea about the concept of death. According to him, death is life’s greatest invention. Everyone has to share this intellectual concept. Death is life’s change agent. It clears out the old and paves way for the new. After surgery, he got rid of his pancreatic tumor. He continued his task again with full enthusiastic feelings. Here in this story, he has advised all his audiences to stay hungry and stay foolish. According to him, we should always be eager to know and achieve important things in our life. We should try to do a new thing in our life with different thoughts.

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