Nightly News   |  October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs: In his own words

A year after he was diagnosed with cancer, Steve Jobs, a college dropout, gave the commencement address at Stanford University.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Finally here tonight, we go back to 2005 . Steve Jobs , a college dropout, gave the commencement address at Stanford . It was a year after he'd been diagnosed with the cancer that ultimately took his life, and he talked about life in the speech that one writer later called the Gettysburg Address of commencement speeches. So we'll go out on Steve Jobs in his own words tonight.

Mr. STEVE JOBS: I was lucky. I found what I love to do early in life. And in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. And then I got fired. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. As with all matters of the heart , you'll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don't settle. About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for "Prepare to die." It means to try and tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept. No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

WILLIAMS: He lived six more years, among the most productive in human history.