- Apple CEO Tim Cook was the commencement speaker at the graduation ceremonies for both Stanford University and Tulane University this year.
- His speeches reflected on the themes of accepting responsibility, having the courage to listen to others and to see things differently, and making an impact that will be remembered long after you’re gone.
- Here’s a look at some of the best pieces of advice from Cook’s commencement speeches.
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When Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at Stanford University’s commencement ceremony last Sunday, he urged graduates to learn from the recent controversies that have surrounded Silicon Valley tech giants like Facebook and Google in recent years.
"Lately, it seems this industry is becoming better known for a less noble innovation: the belief that you can claim credit without accepting responsibility," Cook said. "We see it every day now. With every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech. Fake news poisoning our national conversation. The miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood."
Cook made a powerful statement about accepting responsibility when addressing Stanford’s 2019 graduates, but it’s just one of the many lessons he imparted to college graduates this year.
Be a builder.
During his speech at Stanford, Cook encouraged graduates to be builders — to make lasting contributions that will make a difference long after they’re gone.
"Builders are comfortable in the belief that their life’s work will one day be bigger than them, bigger than any person," he said. "They’re mindful that its effects will span generations. That’s not an accident. In a way it’s the whole point."
‘Your mentors may leave you prepared, but they can’t leave you ready.’
Being prepared isn’t the same as being ready, another key piece of advice Cook shared with Stanford’s 2019 graduates. Cook learned this lesson himself after Apple co-founder and former chief executive Steve Jobs died in 2011.
"And when he was gone, truly gone, I learned the real visceral difference between preparation and readiness," he said.
"When the dust settled, all I knew was that I was going to have to be the best version of myself that I could be."
‘Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life.’
Cook reiterated the famous advice his predecessor gave when addressing Stanford graduates in 2005. "Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life," Jobs said 14 years ago.
"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 last Sunday to Stanford’s class of 2019. "It takes too much mental effort, effort that should be dedicated to creating and building. You’ll waste precious time trying to re-wire your every thought. And in the meantime, you won’t be fooling anybody."
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