Apple’s Tim Cook and Steve Jobs agree: ‘Time is limited, so don’t waste it’ on this

By Elizabeth Gravier

Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the graduates of the 128th class of Stanford University on Sunday, and borrowed a few words from his mentor Steve Jobs.

“Fourteen years ago,” Cook said, “Steve stood on this stage and told your predecessors: ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.’ Here’s my corollary: ‘Your mentors may leave you prepared, but they can’t leave you ready.’”

Cook described the time after Jobs’ death as “the loneliest” he’d ever felt in his life, and said he could “sense” the expectations others had for him.

“All I knew,” he said, “was that I was going to have to be the best version of myself that I could be. I knew that if you got out of bed every morning and set your watch by what other people expect or demand, it’ll drive you crazy.” 

He urged grads to focus on authenticity and forging something new, rather than imitating others. 

“Don’t try to emulate the people who came before you to the exclusion of everything else, contorting into a shape that doesn’t fit,” Cook said. “It takes too much mental effort – effort that should be dedicated to creating and building. You’ll waste precious time trying to rewire your every thought, and, in the meantime, you won’t be fooling anybody.”

Cook had already built an impressive resume in tech prior to joining Apple in 1998, with roles at IBM, Intelligent Electronics and Compaq. But he felt that Jobs had a new and exciting outlook on the tech industry, one he thought he could add value to.

He told graduates that Jobs’ illness and death, and his own takeover as Apple CEO in 2011, taught him the critical distinction between being “prepared” and being “ready,” and warned grads that when the time came for them to lead, in whatever capacity, they wouldn’t be ready — and that’s OK.

“You’re not supposed to be,” Cook said. “Find the hope in the unexpected. Find the courage in the challenge. Find your vision on the solitary road.”

Cook also addressed the need for tech companies to take responsibility for the “chaos” they create, hinting at (though never mentioning specifically) tech giants Google and Facebook. He warned that in the case that continued data breaches and privacy violations are accepted as inevitable, “we lose so much more than data. We lose the freedom to be human.”

In closing, Cook urged grads to remain focused on their goals and how they want to contribute to society. 

“Don’t get distracted,” Cook said. “There are too many people who want credit without responsibility. Too many who show up for the ribbon cutting without building anything worth a damn. Be different. Leave something worthy.”

This article first appeared on CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/17/tim-cook-and-steve-jobs-time-is-limited-so-dont-waste-it-on-this.html?forYou=true and is republished with its permission.

Related Content

Huawei Enterprise hosts online Summit aimed at presenting how the digital transformation can lead the financial services sector out of COVID-19

Download logoHuawei Enterprise Business Group (EBG) (https://e.huawei.com/) will host the Huawei Southern Africa FSI Summit online 2020 (https://bit.ly/2XwKFL0) on May 29th, from 10.00am - 12.00pm, with the theme of “Accelerating Digital Transformation, Enable Business Growth Again”. The online summit will include presentations from Chen Lei, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region, and Chen Kun Te, Huawei Chief Digital Transformation Officer. Speaking on Huawei’ experien

DMWA Resources endorses Equal by 30 Campaign, encouraging more women to become Players in the Energy Sector

DMWA Resources (www.DMWAResources.com), a pan-African energy marketing & investment holding, endorses the gender equity campaign, Equal by 30, which aims to encourage women in the clean energy sector to access equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities. Alongside 6 partner organisations, DMWA increases the total of signatories to 144, including 118 organisations, 13 partners and 13 governments. By having a limited workforce, companies are not drawing upon the full range of talent at

Achieving business resiliency in the new reality of work

By Ronnie Toerien, Oracle (https://www.Oracle.com/) HCM Sales Development & Strategy Leader – Africa It seemed to happen very quickly. The world changed, and businesses worldwide found themselves trying to operate in the face of unprecedented upheaval. Yet, it must be noted that the world of work was already transitioning long before recent global events. A fundamental change was already impacting the workplace in the form of emerging technologies and evolving business models, and

The role of Human Capital Management in the new world of work

By Ronnie Toerien, Oracle (https://www.Oracle.com/) HCM Sales Development & Strategy Leader – Africa The world of work has been changing for some time, particularly over the last decade as emerging technologies equipped enterprises with the tools to operate with greater efficiency, innovate and explore a new potential. However, unprecedented events in 2020, have accelerated this transformation at an unimaginable pace. With mandates to work from home if possible, the disruption o

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Oceana CEO on H1 results & how the company is responding to COVID-19

The tide facing Oceana’s first half profits remained constant, with the fishing group recording flat headline earnings per share of 249.8 cents. The strong showing from its African operations was offset by lower fish oil sales and profit from US based Daybrooke. The closure of the Chinese market for live lobster following the Covid-19 outbreak also weighed on results. Oceana CEO, Imraan Soomra joins CNBC Africa for more.

How The Stimulus Programs Failed Americans: Joseph Stiglitz

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says U.S. government stimulus programs have failed to help the most vulnerable workers and companies during the coronavirus pandemic. He discusses longer-term challenges facing the U.S. economy and educat

COVID-19: Adventis on why it’s time to increase Africa exposure

Despite the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic, now could be the best time for global investors underweight exposure to Africa to raise their stakes on the continent, says investment management firm, Adventis. The firm argues that the prospects for investment returns in Africa remain high. Joseph Rohm, MD and Fund Manager at Adventis joins CNBC Africa for more.

SA govt. to challenge court ruling on constitutionality of lock-down regulations

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said government will challenge a court ruling that found lock-down level 3 and 4 regulations unconstitutional.

Partner Content

Sanlam Emerging Markets and its partners on the African continent invest over $12 million to fight COVID-19

As we go through this global pandemic together, it is the little things we miss. A high five, a handshake, a walk...

VIVO CEO is a dynamic leader for this innovative global brand

May 2020 -- Six months ago the vision for vivo in South Africa was just beginning to...

Trending Now

Hackers target the newly unemployed: CNBC After Hours

CNBC.com's MacKenzie Sigalos brings you the day's top business news headlines. On today's show, CNBC's Phil LeBeau details the beginning of a comeback for airline companies as more flights are added to the summer schedule. And CNBC's Josh Lipton brea

Op-Ed: COVID-19 is likely to lead to a vast increase in youth unemployment in Africa, this is how business can mitigate the damage…

Why business has a greater role to play in mitigating conflict with COVID-19

Op-Ed: Tourism sector in Mauritius devastated by COVID-19

“Travel bans and containment measures around the world are having a devastating effect on the tourism sector in Mauritius, which was already experiencing sluggish growth in 2019,” writes economist, Shani Smit.

COMMENT: Nic Wolpe on George Floyd – Why can’t we banish bigotry like we banished apartheid?

One is left stunned and bewildered that the leader, supposedly of the free world, only interest and concern is for the police to turn on its people, when what is needed and required, is leadership, compassion, understanding, empathy and solidarity at a time of multiple distress, pain and anguish.
- Advertisement -