Steve Jobs Quote: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.. Stay Hungry Stay Foolish”
We love this quote for a lot of reasons. The way I see it, the quote has two parts
- Living life by someone else’s standards and goals
- Staying Dissatisfied – stay hungry stay foolish
And as a quote critic, we love both those aspects and would like to take them one by one
Living someone’s life:
I think this is one thing we have debated over and over again on this site, especially in our posts about society and living by its standards. We have more about it in our post on 12 inspiring quotes about society and its meaning. The central message for us however remains the same. If we look at the society at large, it is made of a certain set of rules about your education, the kind of clothes you need to wear, the way you need to behave and so on.
At one end, we understand and appreciate the rules of the society because we don’t want to hurt it too much. On the other, it does force us to conform to its rules, aspirations and goals. Any outlier is severely targeted and shunned and sometimes even eliminated by ostracising them. It is done just to protect itself from any new changes which it doesn’t understand – logical enough.
To Be or Not To Be:
However, at some stage we need to put ourselves a little ahead and think what is more important to us – is it just the society, the way it feels about us or what we want to do with our lives. I largely agree to Steve Jobs thoughts here when he says – your time is way too limited in this world. It is hard enough that we have our own set of aspirations and standards and try to live by those. Added to that, the expectations of the society become a little too much.
At one stage, I guess we all have to learn the art of being distant from the society by being a part of it. Indian philosophy makes a very good comparison with the stalk of a lotus which is very much a part of the water around it but doesn’t let it affect it or make it soft. It is being different and yet being a part of the environment. I do understand that it is a tough ordeal to live by, but a great metaphor and ideal to start focusing ourselves toward.
The quote stay hungry stay foolish at first seems a bit different from the first part. To be honest, I am not too sure if I am completely convinced if it is an integral part of the quote. But we shall try and analyse it by treating as such. I like the part of staying hungry – it is an image of constant hunger, the desire to do something, the desire to aspire for a higher goal or value, the desire to reach an elevated stage of life as compared to where we are today. We are not suggesting that we should not be satisfied with what we do, we do not want to strive for higher standards by compromising our happiness. But we do want to live for the highest standards in life.
Now this serves as the most important aspect of the quote for me. I can stay hungry, but why do I have to stay foolish?
Then again I wonder about the context in which he has used “stay foolish” when he says stay hungry stay foolish. Maybe it is just a way to say that sometimes it is worth to be a intellectually a little foolish to ask the silly questions which most of them take granted. Maybe it is about asking “Why” and “How” and most importantly “Why Not” when most people seem to go along with the rules. It might be about being the black sheep in the society who wants to do something different without being afraid of being an outcast. It might be about living up to what you think is right even though it means you can be wrong at times.
I guess that is what Jobs meant when he said stay hungry stay foolish.
These were pretty much our thoughts as the quote critic to understand what the quote means. Of course this post is never complete without your views and thoughts as to what it means to each of us. Please do share your views and we would love a nice debate on it.
Stay hungry stay foolish 😉
Suggestions based on our readers comments:
I think it was a wonderful reminder about the Stanford commencement speech. A short 14 minute video by Steve Jobs talking about connecting the dots which I think is an extremely powerful one which makes us think. Sharing the link to the video below: