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Follow your heart. Everything else is secondary

I have this theory that sometimes the right words come your way just when you need them. No matter when they were written or said, they seem to reach you with perfect timing, when you most need to be inspired, guided, reassured. And when you’re most likely to be open to them.

It could be a poem, a dialogue in a movie, a paragraph in a book. Words that can help you see things from a different perspective, or describe a feeling which is yet too overwhelming for you to grasp. Words that can open your eyes, inspire you, help you find a new determination.

Words you hardly forget, slivers of wisdom that become part of you.

And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.
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. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.

Sometimes life is gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
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. And that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is gonna fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. And don’t settle. 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.

When I was 17 I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, some day you’ll most certainly be right”. It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I’ve looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I wanna do what I’m about to do today?”. And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. 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. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown out your own inner voice; and most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Steve Jobs – 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech

Back cover of the last issue of The Whole Earth Catalog

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