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生活小悟: Jobs 在Stanford毕业典礼上的演讲
You've got to find what you love, Jobs says

Steve Jobs, 千年难现的英才,不幸离世!永远的纪念!

今天,我很荣幸来到世界一流的大学毕业典礼。我没有从大学毕业,老实说,这是我离大学毕业最近的一刻。今天我只说三个故事,不谈大道理,就这三个故事。  

   第一个故事,是人生的点点滴滴如何串在一块 (Connecting the dots)

   我在里德学院 (Reed College) 念了六个月就办休学了。退学前,一共休学十八个月。我为什么要休学呢?

   故事要从我出生前谈起。我的亲生母亲是大学研究生,年轻的未婚妈妈,她打算让别人收养我,更相信应该让拥有大学学历的夫妇收养我,我出生时,她就准备由一对律师夫妇来抚养我长大。但这对夫妻最后一刻反悔了,他们想要女孩。所以在等待收养名单中的一对夫妻,在半夜接到一通电话,问他们:“有一个意外出生的男 孩,你们要认养他吗?”他们说:“当然。”

   后来我的生母发现,我现在的妈妈从来没有大学毕业,我现在的爸爸则连高中毕业也没有,她拒绝在认养文件上签名同意。直到几个月后,我的养父母同意将来一定让我上大学,她才勉强答应。
   十七年后,我真的上了大学。但我无知的选择一所学费几乎跟史丹佛一样贵的学校。

   我的蓝领阶级父母,把所有的存款都花在我的学费。六个月后,我看不出念大学的价值到底在哪里。那时候,我不知道这这辈子要干什么,也不知道念大学对我有什么帮助,而且我为了读书,花光父母毕生的积蓄,我决定休学,相信船道桥头自然直。

   在那个时候,这是让人害怕的决定;但我现在看来,却是我这辈子下过最好的决定之一。休学后,再也不用上无趣的课,直接听我爱的课。只是这一点也不浪漫。我没有宿舍,我睡在朋友家的地板上,靠回收可乐瓶罐的五毛钱填饱肚子,到了星期天晚上走七哩远的陆,绕去印度教神庙吃顿大餐。但那时我追寻的兴趣,现在看来都 成为无价之宝。

   比如说,里德学院拥有几乎是全国最好的英文书法 (Caligraphy) 课程。校园里的海报,教室抽屉的标签,都是美丽的手写字。我休学去学书法了,学了 serif 与 san serif 字体,学会在不同字母的组合间变更字间距,学到活版印刷伟大的地方。书法的历史与艺术,是科学文明无法取代的,令我深深着迷。

   我从来没想过这些字,会在将来影响我的人生。但十年之后,当我们设计第一台 Macintosh 计算机,我的所学派上了用场。我们把这些字体都放进了 Macintosh 里,这是第一台能显示出漂亮字体的计算机。如果我没爱上书法课, Macintosh 就不会有这么多变化的字体。

   后来 WINDOWS 抄袭了 Macintosh ,如果当年我没这样做,大概世界上的计算机都不会有这种东西,不会显示出我们现在看到的美丽字体了。当然,当年还在学写字时,是不可能把这些点滴先串在一起,但是十年后回顾,一切就自然清楚的发生了。

   我得强调,你不能先把这些人生点滴兜在一起,唯有将来回顾时,你才会明白这些点点滴滴是怎么串联的。你得相信现在体会的一切,未来多少会连接在一起。你得信任某个东西,直觉,命运,或是因果都好。这种做法从来没让我失望,更丰富了我的生命。

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. 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. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, 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.


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