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

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

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, its 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.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

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.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits 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 your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to 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. 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 until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am 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.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. 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 to 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.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. 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. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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 opinions 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.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. 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.

Thank you all very much.

Breaking heart stuff

While on the treadmill yesterday – I'm reading my new “Spirituality & Health” magazine and find this quote:

“God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.”

Wow…………………. as I watch my son's heart open – and his awareness grow – I am reminded over and over how I must open my heart – always.

Bless you, God!

Kabbalah 2; Class 5; The Bigger the Obstacle, The Greater Potential Light

The more we resist our reactive behavior, the more happiness and pleasure radiates in our lives. It works like this:

* The bigger the problem in your face, the stronger your urge to react.

* The bigger your reaction, the more resistance you have to apply to stop it.

* The more resistance you apply, the more spiritual Light in your life.

Most people tend to choose the path of least resistance in life. They look for the easy, comfortable situations. We must learn to flee our comfort zones and plunge head first into uncomfortable situations. That is where we can apply the most resistance.

The path of MOST resistance causes a little bit of pain and discomfort for a moment, but it is coupled with long-term fulfillment.

Most people tend to choose the path of least resistance in life.

The path of least resistance produces immediate gratification, coupled with a short-circuit and long-term chaos.

All of which leads us to Rule #7:

THE BIGGER THE OBSTACLE, THE GREATER POTENTIAL LIGHT

Is it any wonder, we haven't found total happiness? We've been conditioned to react to problems since time began. We can no longer be victims. No longer can we gripe or lament over the hardships, problems, and turmoil that confronts us. All those nasty difficulties, roadblocks, and complications that disrupt our path, are there to offer us something rather remarkable — the everlasting Light of fulfillment.

Kabbalah 2; class 4 continued – Focus on Reactions, Not Right and Wrong

FOCUS ON REACTIONS, NOT RIGHT AND WRONG

We expend so much wasted energy always trying to prove that we are right. It becomes so difficult for us to let go of our anger, opinions, frustration, and vindictiveness just because we know we are right – even if we ARE right!! Our reaction should be our sole focus—not whether we are right or wrong. If the other scoundrel is totally and completely wrong and we respond in a reactive mode, we lose any way. Got that? You lose.

If that other nasty person is wrong and we shut down our reaction and behave proactively, we win. Light comes into our lives.

And, if we are wrong, but we stop our reactions, then wow, will we begin to see miracles in our lives. That is how we raise our level of consciousness and begin to perceive a higher truth that lies beyond the logic-based concepts of right and wrong. That higher truth is about unity—dignity—compassion—and sensitivity toward everyone in our life.

The rest of the world — our friends and enemies — are actually our teammates in the Game of Life. Our collective opponent is the Satan.

To help keep us focused on our own reactions, we must always be cognizant of Rule #5:

Never lay blame on other people or external events.

The secret to happiness is to remain focused on our own reactions in every situation we confront. The secret to generating chaos is to remain reactive to our own opinions and our limited view of reality.

Remember, the Opponent likes to play mind-games. He will send us paranoid thoughts, suspicious thoughts, doubts, uncertainties, you name it, and he's broadcasting it in stereo. He makes us second guess and outsmart everyone around us. We become so smart we become foolish.

Kabbalah 2; Class 4 – The Mysteries of the Mind continued

These two streams of thoughts pulsating over the airwaves of the mind express themselves in this way:

* The Opponent's thoughts manifest as our rational, logical mind and ego.

* The Light's signal manifests as intuition, gut instinct, mystical insight, and dreams.

99% of the time we are not in touch with our intuition. In other words, The Opponent rules the airwaves of the mind and plays one particular hit song over and over again — the song called reaction!

He is constantly downloading his reactive music into our brain. We must recognize this powerful fact of life: The Opponent controls the landscape of our mind. 99.999% of the thoughts and sounds that play in our brain belong to him. Consequently, we need to start shutting down his noise and begin cranking up the whispers and melodies that play in the deepest recesses of our beings.

The secret to taking control over our lives is to cut off our Opponent's signal. We can do that the moment we stop our reactions. When we stop our reactive impulses we disrupt his frequency.

This creates a space.

The Light's signal is now free to fill that space. Our decisions and feelings are now rooted in the infinite wisdom of The Light.

Kabbalah 2; Class 4 – The Mysteries of the Mind

……..our thoughts do not originate from the physical matter of the brain. Rather, the brain is likened to an antenna, a receiving station that picks up a signal and then rebroadcasts it into the conscious mind of the individual.

2000 years after the Zohar revealed this rather startling idea, medical science reinforced this ancient kabbalistic view of the mind-brain relationship.

The brilliant and world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Wilder Penfield, began extensive scientific research into the mind-brain phenomena.

Penfield, who revolutionized the techniques of brain surgery and achieved major breakthroughs in the areas of human cognition, memory and sensation, set out to prove that the mind emerged from the matter of the brain.

He devoted some 40 years of his life to exhaustive research, brain mapping, and medical exploration.

However, Penfield then admitted that he had failed.

In a remarkable book, The Mysteries of the Mind, that detailed his decades of research, Penfield wrote:

“The mind seems to act independently of the brain in the same sense that a programmer acts independently of his computer, how ever much he may depend upon the action of that computer for certain purposes.”

Then there is computer pioneer Norbert Wiener, who was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Lyndon Johnson. Wiener summed it up best when he stated:

“The brain does not secrete thought as the liver does bile.”

According to Kabbalah, there are two cosmic broadcasting stations emitting signals to our brain –The Light and the Opponent. It's a ratings battle for the audience of mind, a bigger and far greater ratings battle than the Neilson company has ever conducted for the major television networks.

The Opponent targets our mind, for that is where we are most vulnerable. The mind is the front lines of war. It is our thoughts that motivate us into action and influence our states of consciousness. Thoughts are the command post. Lose control of the command post and we lose the war. If we could learn how to distinguish which thoughts are from The Light versus which thoughts originate from our clever Adversary, we could reclaim control over our lives.

A good starting point is this: Any thought that is loud, crystal clear, urging you to react to a situation, you can be sure you are hearing the music of the Opponent. Any thought that tells you that you are the architect of your success; that you know better than the next guy; that you’re right and the other person is wrong, well once
again this is the Opponent.

If, however, a thought is barely audible, a faint voice emanating from the recesses of your subconscious mind, that is the song of The Light.

“Listen to the inner voice that is on the other side of your ego” – author Unknown

Kabbalah and A Strong Character Arc

From Kabbalah 2; class 3

In Hollywood, an astute film producer always looks for a strong character arc in any new screenplay he considers producing. The character arc is the degree of inner change a character undergoes, from the beginning of the story to the very end.

We all came to this world to achieve the greatest character arc possible—from being just an effect to becoming the actual cause. The amount of true success or chaos one generates in life is relative to the degree of character change one undergoes in life.

2004 Kitchen Remodel

I want to be sure and document all of the things I’ve done to our home so I’m uploading the before and after pics here.

The 2004 remodel was an amazing project. Most of the work was done by me and my significant other at the time. We did hire professionals for the counter top install and to make the Eucalyptus cabinets but we even hung those ourself.

BEFORE

DURING

AFTER

The kitchen ceiling is really high so I wanted to build the cabinets proportionately to the height.

Your tax dollars at work

If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. This article is an eye-opener.

The Black Budget Report: An Investigation into the CIA’s ‘Black Budget’ and the Second Manhattan Project

11/23/2003 (Revised 02/05/04)

© Michael E. Salla, PhD
Center for Global Peace/School of International Service
American University
Washington DC
Tel: 202 885 5987
Email: msalla@american.edu
www.american.edu/salla/

Table of Contents

Abstract
About the Author
Introduction
Birth of the Black Budget
Legal and Congressional Efforts to Disclose the CIA’s Black Budget
HUD’s Missing Money, Catherine Fitts, Hamilton Securities and the CIA
The Ultimate Beneficiary fot he CIA ‘Black Budget’: The Intelligence
Community and the Second Manhattan Project
Organized Crime, Drugs, and the CIA

Estimating the Size of the CIA’s ‘unofficial’ Black Budget

Table 2. Department of Defense (DoD) – Unsupported Accounting Entries 1998-2003
Conventional Oversight System for the CIA’s and DoD’s Classified Programs
Oversight of the CIA’s ‘Unofficial’ Black Budget & Manhattan II
Conclusion
Endnotes

ABSTRACT

This report examines the existence of a CIA ‘black budget’ and an extensive network of ‘deep black projects’ that it funds. The report identifies the legal framework established by the US Congress for the creation of a CIA ‘black budget’ from the appropriations earmarked for other federal agencies that are siphoned through the CIA as the sole conduit of black budget funds. The report investigates the legal challenges to the constitutionality of the CIA’s black budget; how the CIA uses its legal authority to extract appropriations from government agencies such as HUD; how the CIA launders non-appropriated money through other federal agencies; and the efforts the CIA goes to prevent these financial transfers from being exposed. Using as a case study the legal difficulties faced by an innovative mortgage finance company, Hamilton Securities, the report will argue that the CIA’s covert role in Hamilton’s demise is compelling evidence that the CIA was involved in funding irregularities in HUD. It will be finally argued that the size of black budget, the secrecy surrounding it, the extent senior officials in Federal agencies go to targeting individuals and companies that threaten to reveal where congressional appropriations are ultimately going, suggest a vast number of ‘deep black projects’ that collectively form a highly classified second Manhattan Project whose existence, goals and budget are kept secret.

About the Author

Dr. Michael E. Salla has held academic appointments in the School of International Service, American University, Washington DC (1996-2001), and the Department of Political Science, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia (1994-96). He taught as an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, Washington DC., in 2002. He is currently researching methods of Transformational Peace as a ‘Researcher in Residence’ at the Center for Global Peace/School of International Service, American University (2001-2004), and directing the Center’s Peace Ambassador Program. He has a PhD in Government from the University of Queensland, Australia, and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of The Hero’s Journey Toward a Second American Century (Greenwood Press, 2002); co-editor of Why the Cold War Ended (Greenwood Press, 1995) and Essays on Peace (Central Queensland University Press, 1995); and authored more than seventy articles, chapters, and book reviews on peace, ethnic conflict and conflict resolution. He has conducted research and fieldwork in the ethnic conflicts in East Timor, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Sri Lanka. He has organized a number of international workshops involving mid to high level participants from these conflicts. He has a website at www.american.edu/salla/.

Birth of the Black Budget