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Steve Jobs And The Speech I’ve Never Forgotten

Note:  This post was originally featured on AiPolitics.me on August 25th, 2011 in observation of Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO of Apple.  It is with great pain that we tell you Steve Jobs has died today (October 5, 2011).  He had been battling pancreatic cancer.  He was a pioneer, an innovator, and one this country’s greatest talents.  He will be missed.

In light of Steve Jobs’ recent resignation, I’d like to share a video that some of you may have already seen.  For those of you who haven’t, it’s really a treat.  It’s his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.

For those of you who have seen it, whether just now or in the past, I’d like to share my thoughts on it.

To most observers in my life, I’ve been more optimistic than what they felt should be warranted.  Few people in my family had graduated high school, and not many expected that I would.  But I did.  When I joined the military, some people thought I was throwing away my life.  But I wasn’t.  When I started this website, people said that no one would listen to me.  But you have.

I have had naysayers in every venture I’ve taken on.  I have naysayers with this website that you’re reading right now.  I have had people cling to my feet like shackles and impede most every step I’ve tried to take, and yet I still march on.  When I saw this video for the first time, I was amazed to see someone articulate the way I had always felt.

Many people in life do not want to climb the metaphorical mountains that lie before us.  They claim that they are too tall.  They instead choose to follow a tunnel that someone else has dug, regardless of where it might lead.  Even worse, some others decide to live at the foot of that mountain and spend the rest of their lives in its shadow.  For those of us who climb the mountains, it can be a lonely and seemingly worthless enterprise.

When I first saw this commencement address, I saw someone who had climbed the same kinds of  mountains that I felt I was trying to climb.  And hearing Steve’s stories “proved” to me that it was not going to be a worthless enterprise.  That knowledge was invaluable to me, because it validated how I had always felt inside.  I’m not going to lie.  Knowing that the trek wasn’t “worthless” did nothing to make it seem less lonely, but seeing someone who had plied a similar path come out on the other side was a feeling of inspiration that I cannot describe.

I don’t often look at Steve Jobs as the myth that many people have come to see him as.  I tend to have a rather objective view of life.  But even with that objectivity in mind, I can tell you that Steve Jobs has left an indelible mark on our culture in more ways than many of us even realize.

A piece is floating around Twitter right now that discusses the over 300 patents with his name on them, but for me, Steve’s philosophy is what has always stuck with me the most.

Feel free to share your stories where you have over come an obstacle that no one thought you could.  You never know, it may inspire someone else.

- Ai

 

Note: Again, when referring to “this website”, the piece is referring to AiPolitics.me where it was originally posted.

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