What Tim Cook said at Duke’s Graduation May, 2018

Key Points

Find the Fearlessness to change the world

Regardless of your chosen field, follow a Vision and find a deeper purpose/meaning to achieve it. Don’t just follow a winding path that may yield you astray; follow a deeper purpose to drives you to it.

Be the first to make a change and the last to accept things the way they are.

Quotes from the Speech

Though it’s the greatest time in history to be alive, we live in a time of deep disparities. We have deeply divided opinions, income inequality is getting worse, educational opportunities are still divided by geography and race, women’s equality is changing too slowly, and climate change is destroying our world. Too many people disagree with this; moreover, others just think time will take its course.

Yet, we are not powerless to fix them. And no generation is more powerful than yours because the pace of progress has accelerated dramatically.

Don’t accept the status quo and take action to break with conventional wisdom. You must dare to think differently and then do what is right. We do this at Apple. As an example, We run on 100% renewable energy and don’t trade the right to privacy (Nice Apple Plug)

We constantly ask not what we can do but what we should do. This is how change happens.

Young people are naturally restless so don’t lose this restlessness and ask the question, ‘how will you push the world forward?’. Be the first to change something and the last to accept things the way they are.

How do you do this? Take the first step. A step without the fear of failure. In doing so, remember to respect each other when we talk and debate. Take rejection with dignity. And remember, no matter how small, any act of kindness helps.

And if you start with a simple, achievable step, then, we can tackle the big things because we become more confident that bigger things are reachable. Then, create a vision and work towards that vision, not just a path because that path will wind and go up and down. By focusing on the vision, you will not just commit to but strive towards a higher purpose. Work on things that matter for our society. Fight for woman #metoo, the guns epidemic and movement from the Parkland students, and the inequality in education. Let’s solve these problems together because no generation can make progress faster than yours.

Deeper Meaning Derived from Civil Rights in the South

Tim Cook clearly derives a deeper meaning from his time growing up in Alabama and the Civil/Human Rights Movement. He referenced Martin Luther King several times. He spoke of attending the MLK 50th Anniversary of his Assassination Event in early April, 2018. There, he met those who walked/marched with MLK. He said they spoke about how they would give anything to help build a better life for the following generations. The purpose was bigger than their lives and they were willing to sacrifice it all.

He also referenced MLK in a 1964 speech at Paige Auditorium where he said we need to atone for the bad and the silence of the good people who say, ‘just wait on time.’ We should just not sit and wait on time. The Civil Rights Movement has clearly given Tim Cook a deep purpose in life.

As a side note, he also had a plug about a Duke Professor who said that Melinda Gates being the best public speaker as a student that has ever attended Duke.

 

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