How to Live Before You Die? – Steve Jobs

This essay " How to Live Before You Die" is a motivational speech that has been delivered by the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer Steve Jobs.

Summary & Exercise of How to Live Before You Die

‘How to Live Before You Die,’ is a motivational speech given by Apple Computer and Pixar co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. In his speech, he tells three events from his life that have had a significant impact on his professional experiences and journey. This speech has been delivered by him at the commencement of Stanford University in the year 2005. Here is his speech, he delivered his life-related stories to motivate people who were present at that commencement.

He openly shared his opinions on life in an encouraging speech. This speech inspired not just Stanford University students but also a large number of people worldwide. Steve Jobs recounted three separate life-based anecdotes in this address. These three tales all had a significant impact on how he experienced life and pursued a successful career.

The narrative of joining the dots serves as the introduction to Steve Jobs’ address. Making links between many facets of life to better comprehend them is referred to as “connecting the dots.” He recounts the story of his birth, adoption, and subsequent quest for meaning in his life as a young man. The only lesson he draws from this tale is that we should give even the little things in life some thought since they genuinely shape who we are today and who we will be tomorrow.

In the age of 17, Steve enrolled at Reed College, a famous private university, but he left after one year because he wanted to take calligraphy courses. In order to learn calligraphy, he enrolled in Reed College’s program, but 10 years later, he used his knowledge of art to design the first computer with tasteful writing, which he called the Macintosh computer.

Looking back gave him the idea that numerous dots will keep connecting and helping him reach his actual objective. He made choices along the road that contributed to his success, including quitting college, starting a profession in his area of interest, overcoming obstacles, and believing in Karma.

This first tale relates a number of events related to his life. He has described his birth, adoption, and subsequent challenges in this first account. He said that before he was born, his biological mother, an unmarried college graduate student, opted to place him for adoption. She desired for her infant to be adopted by newlyweds. A lawyer and his wife were initially prepared to adopt him.

However, once he was born, the lawyer’s family decided against adopting him because they preferred to adopt a daughter. He was afterwards adopted by a different family. When his biological mother learned that the parents had never completed high school or college, she refused to sign the adoption paperwork.

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Steve Jobs expresses his emotions in this part on his love and the demise of his company. Due to his early success, Steve and his friend Woz worked countless hours to establish the Apple Corporation, which eventually grew to a 2 billion dollar company with 4000 employees. But he was fired from his own firm by others in positions of power.

He then established Pixar and NeXT to create computers with animated features. Apple later bought the NeXT Corporation. He returned to work for the Apple Corporation and blended his old and new concepts. These experiences altered his view on life and gave him the ability to rule the IT sector with his new outlook.

Steve has told his tale of death in this How to Live Before You Die speech. He was 49 years old when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His physicians predicted that he would only be able to survive for three to six months. But after a biopsy, his physicians told his wife that he would need surgery to remove the tumour. He was able to remove his pancreatic tumour following surgery.

He had a close encounter with death when he received his diagnosis. He learned an important lesson about life and death. Everyone eventually dies, and nobody lives forever. The intellectual idea that everyone shares is that nobody wants to die. Actually, the greatest innovation of life is death. It is the change agent of Life. In order to make room for the new, it removes the old. However, he never gave up. Following his recuperation, he continued to work extremely honestly and gave his all to the responsible parties at his organization.


He has detailed his experiences with his birth, adoption by Paul and Clara Jobs, the reasons he had to leave Reed College, as well as his trials and struggles, in this account. He claimed that he was unclear about what his next steps in life would be. He just so happened to enrol in the calligraphy lessons, which were his favourite subjects. He studied fonts in serif and sans serif. His calligraphy expertise and understanding proved to be somewhat advantageous for him. After 10 years, he used his understanding of calligraphy to build the first Macintosh Computer.

He was able to create the first Macintosh Computer with stunning typography with the aid of his friend Woz. All the events in his life have been connected by him as various dots. He said that by looking back, we may see how everything in our lives fits together. Nobody is able to connect the dots of their future existence. These many dots keep coming together and paving the road forward. We must perform our duties with the expectation that we will have a wonderful future, along with faith in our gut, life, destiny, or karma.


Steve Jobs has described his greatest loss in this narrative, How to Live Before You Die. He said that the board of directors sacked him from his own firm at the age of thirty. He kept his faith. Again, his enthusiasm for his work was helpful. His expertise, abilities, and affection aided and guided him toward the top of the tech world once more. He was successful in founding his new business Next and the renowned animation studio Pixar, which produced the renowned animated feature picture “Toy Story.” He has given everyone the advice to keep looking for their preferred tasks even after they have narrowed them down. He believed that individuals should aspire to accomplish the work they find fulfilling.


In this account, Steve Jobs shares his experience of being ill with pancreatic cancer at the age of 49. He had a close encounter with death at that time. He began to understand the idea of death. He considered death to be life’s greatest invention. This idea has to be shared by everyone. The change agent in life is death. It makes room for the new by removing the old. He underwent surgery, and the pancreatic tumour was removed. He resumed his work with the same level of enthusiasm. He has instructed all of his audiences to remain hungry and naive in this particular scenario. He said that we should constantly be willing to learn and accomplish significant goals in our lives.

How to Live Before You Die’s Exercise of Class 11 NEB English

Answer the following questions.

What is the story about Steve Jobs’ birth?

➜ When Steve Jobs was born, his mother was an unmarried college student, and he chose to be adopted by college graduates. He was born expecting to be adopted by a lawyer and his wife, but when she became pregnant, they decided against it. As a result, a couple who had been on the waiting list adopted him.

What does he mean when he says, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”?

➜ In this remark, he is trying to tell us all that our present triumphs and failures depend on the many dots of our history but not on the dots of our future. We become aware of our present lives by connecting the many dots of our prior lives, such as the difficulties we encountered, the decisions we made, the challenges we underwent, the errors we made, the wishes we sought, the judgments we made, the actions we took, etc. We become aware of the fact that all these dots in our life have been connected when we look back. Nobody is able to connect these connections in the near future. Our history, together with our many life experiences, determines our present and future. Life makes sense when we accept that we cannot foretell the future.

What happened when Steve Jobs turned 30?

➜ When Steve Jobs turned 30, the board of directors fired him from his own company.

Jobs contends that you need to love to do what you do in order to be great at it. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

➜ Yes, I agree with his views because our love for our work can lead to success. In order to be great at our job, it is very important that we all love the work we do. When we can’t love what we do, we will not be successful in our work. In this situation, our work will not make sense to us.

Is death really life’s greatest invention?

➜ Yes, death is life’s greatest invention, death is inevitable and nobody lives forever. Nobody wants to die, but everyone shares this intellectual concept. Death is a life-changing factor. To overcome this concept, everyone must face this bitter reality.

Reference to the Context

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.”

Who was the baby boy?

➜ Steve Jobs was the baby boy.

What does ‘do you want him?’ mean?

➜ ‘Do you want him?’ It is a question related to the adoption of Steve Jobs to his parents Paul and Clara Jobs, who were on the waiting list to adopt the baby.

iii. Who does ‘they’ refer to?

➜ ‘They’ refer to Mr Paul Jobs and Mrs Clara Jobs.

Explain the following lines:

“You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

➜ This line was introduced by Apple Computer CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs in his speech at Stanford University. Here he advises everyone to believe and trust these important aspects of their life. According to Steve Jobs, these aspects go hand in hand with success. Confidence in these aspects can lead anyone to excellence.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

➜ Here on this line, he is letting people know how important it is for time to flow so quickly. According to him, we must use our time, which is so limited that we should not waste our time living someone else’s life. We must use our time well to shed light on our future. Time waits for nothing. We have to move on without wasting time.

What does he mean by “don’t settle”?

➜ By “don’t settle”? He wants to suggest people not look for the best and most satisfying tasks that they prefer. That means we have to keep looking for the best jobs that keep us happy. We have to do our best to find the right tasks. We shouldn’t bother with our desirable tasks until we have found the right tasks that satisfy us.

Which style of speech is used by the speaker to persuade the audience?

➜ In order to persuade the audience, the speaker uses a personal and informal style of expression that appears to be the narrative type in which he tries to motivate the audience with his real-life stories.

It is not easy to motivate others. How do you think Steve Jobs’ speech is so inspiring?

➜ Steve Jobs’ speech was tremendously motivational for me. His use of real-life examples to inspire his audience during his speech is excellent. He included personal anecdotes from his life in his address that most people found motivating. The speech includes a number of statistics regarding the lives of regular people. Regardless of one’s parental background, he exhorts listeners to stay on the path to advancement.

Why do you think Steve Jobs used the personal narrative storytelling technique in his speech? What influence does it have on the audiences?

➜In my opinion, Steve Jobs inspired his audience by using the personal narrative style in his speech. His speech includes a number of statistics concerning life’s challenges and tribulations. He makes a great impression on the crowd. His speech offers the audience the ability to actually understand the challenges and efforts that go into leading a successful life.

Reference Beyond the Text

One of Steve Jobs’s mottos was: ‘Think differently’. Can this make a person succeed in life? What challenges are there in thinking differently?

➜ Yes, doing this can help someone succeed in life. We need to think and behave differently if we want to transform our lives. We need to alter the way we think. We must make an effort to act differently. Similar ideas can never progress effectively. Thinking differently presents a variety of difficulties. Many innovators and legends have suffered humiliation and exclusion from society because of their inherently unconventional thinking. You ought to be insane. People who think differently may feel alienated from the majority, society, etc. We must adopt new perspectives while considering change and advancement.

What does the slogan “Stay hungry; stay foolish” mean to you?

➜ The slogan “Stay hungry; stay foolish” means being ready and willing to try new things. We must always strive to know and achieve the important things in our life. We should try to do something new in our life with different thoughts.

What does it mean to be a visionary? What makes Steve Jobs different from a fortune teller?

➜ To have a hopeful vision or expectation for the future is to be visionary. The fortune teller is not like Steve Jobs. Sometimes the fortune teller is wrong. His forecasts might be off. But Steve Jobs’ accurate forecast distinguishes him from a fortune teller because he is a visionary. He was able to go to the top of the IT sector because to his perspective on it. His curiosity, intuition, diverse ideas, activities, problems and struggles, experience, trust in fate, etc. all played important roles in his forecasts.