Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Barack Is Back!!!!

Hey Adetayo,

Yes, Barack is back!!!

Like you I can't wait for this thing to be over, and President Obama is elected back in office for 4 more years, to finish the good work he has started. My nerves are on tethers edge right now, and I've had to tune off all things politics for the past 2 weeks. The whole thing was starting to affect my health, so I stopped listening to political news from all sources: TV, Internet or Newspapers. I didn't watch the VP debate or even the one of last night. You can imagine the surprise of people here at home when I told them I wasn't going to watch the debates. I was however relieved this morning to read the news- the 1st time in 2 weeks - about the President's performance in the debate. It is a step in the right direction toward wrapping this thing up once and for all.

A lot is at stake in this election. Any objective observer of the events of the last 4 years would know that no President in America history has faced such a level of hatred and opposition than President Obama since he took office in January 2009, 
especially at a time when the nation is facing such a dire economic upheaval. the hatred for this President started long he was elected, even before he enacted any policy. A lot of this hatred was championed by the so-called Christian Conservatives using their media outlet, the Fox News.

Despite the fierce opposition by the Republicans and their minions in Congress, and their deliberate attempt to sabotage his Presidency, the economic policies of the President Obama are beginning to pay dividen. JOBS are being created...43 months of continuous job growth and 5 million new jobs compared to 800000 job loss when he took office. The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.8%. Manufacturing is at a height never seen before.

If the Republicans are allowed back into office, they'll simply take credit for the economic growth that is the product of President Obama's policies. What concerns me most, however, is that by the time they leave office, their failed policies would have wiped off all the gains, and we'll back in economic doldrums again. That should not be allowed that to happen. 

Moreover their standard bearer, Mr Romney, is VERY BAD for the country. He has nothing new to offer the nation other than the same old same old ideas of the Bush Presidency, that resulted in the worst economic disaster this country has  experienced since the Great Depression. And besides his lack of idea, Mr Romney is a man without any core beliefs. He is a liar, a cheat, and a vulture capitalist, who is looking out for himself and his rich friends alone. There is no policy or political position that Mr Romney for which he hasn't taken both sides. A serial flip-flopper who will say and do anything to advance his own selfish agenda. As a candiate for Senate and Governor in Massachusetts, he was for abortion and gay marriage. At that time he described himself as more liberal than Ted Kennedy. Fast forward to the current election season, he now says, and I quote, "I am severely conservative". He is now anti-abortion and anti gay marriage. Here is a man who was the father of the healthcare law in Massachusetts (Romneycare) that was used to craft the Obamacare. He has now disowned his signature achievement as Governor, because of political expediency. According to him he will repeal Obamacare if he is elected as President. No wonder Ted Kennedy nicknamed him "Multiple Choice Romney".

Romney is nothing more than an empty suit, driven by blind ambition. His sole purpose for the past 20 years has been to become President. If he gets elected, the poor, the middle class should know they are on their own, because his economic policies will completely decimate the foundation that Barack Obama has laid for a thriving middle class. Mr Romney will destroy all the social safety nets that the President has put in place. 

We should therefore do all we can to make sure President Obama is reelected for 4 more years. Donate (, canvass, knock on doors, call your friends and families, register to vote, and make sure you vote on November 6, 2012.

On Oct 17, 2012, at 8:39 AM, Axxxx Oxxxx <> wrote:
Broda Akin,
I did not watch the debate last night (I'm in Zambia at the moment and was sleeping at the time), but I read all the news and reviews online this morning, and e be like say our guy is back o!!. I said to myself Broda Akin must be happy about this o. This race is quite nerve-racking! I hope Obama keeps this momentum and wins this thing. I don't like that Romney guy AT ALL!
Trust all is well!
God makes all things beautiful in His time

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paul Ryan's Budget: What Would Jesus Say?

Erika Christakis
August 14, 2012

Americans often tell pollsters they yearn for a return to the Christian principles on which the U.S. was founded. If so, they should take a closer look at the Mitt Romney–Paul Ryan ticket. Jesus’ teachings regarding wealth are nowhere to be found in Ryan’s budget proposal.

Ryan’s proposed tax cuts for the rich would be shouldered by the working and middle classes. According to Forbes magazine, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center calculated that those earning more than $1 million would get an average tax reduction of more than $250,000, while 50% of people earning $20,000-$30,000 per year would get nothing. Put another way, under Ryan’s proposed tax plan, the after-tax incomes of the rich would grow by 12%; those of the poor would increase by less than 1%.

But it gets worse. The estimated $4.6 trillion increase in the national deficit over the next 10 years as a result of these tax cuts will be absorbed by cuts to programs that provide economic opportunity to working poor and middle class, such as Medicare and Food Stamps. Some might argue that freeing our wealthiest taxpayers to keep more of their own money will allow them to care for the poor privately and in their own way. Indeed, we have a long tradition of private philanthropy in the U.S., and religiously affiliated people are known to be generous — albeit mainly to their own churches. But no amount of private giving can compensate for such a massive breakdown in the government infrastructure that gives needy people a helping hand. As Campbell has noted, the many people receiving food stamps are not lazy ingrates but full-time employees struggling to make a livable wage and nearly half of all recipients are children.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Heart of Starbucks Is Siren a Twin-Tailed Mermaid

Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Posted by Steve M., senior writer

Great question. It’s one we kept asking ourselves during the evolution of our logo (and yes, that’s right, a writer was involved in a logo project). We all needed to really, deeply understand for ourselves who she is.

So, a little history.

Let’s go all the way back to 1971, to when Starbucks was first coming to be. In a search for a way to capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots, there was a lot of poring over old marine books going on. Suddenly, there she was: a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren. There was something about her – a seductive mystery mixed with a nautical theme that was exactly what the founders were looking for. A logo was designed around her, and our long relationship with the Siren began.

Over the last 40 years we’ve made some changes to that identity. Now we’re doing that again, to keep ourselves relevant as we evolve without ever losing sight of our heritage. But the Siren has always been there. She is at the heart of Starbucks.

As a writer, though, I can tell you that there is a lot more to her than just the design and how she looks. This is what she means to me, and to us.
She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse –always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead.

And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we haven’t even imagined yet.
She means something different to every one who sees her, who knows her. For me she’s kind of the final say on the spirit of everything I write and everything we do. Even as I’m writing this, I wonder what she thinks. (She likes it, by the way.)

Here we are today. Our new evolution liberates the Siren from the outer ring, making her the true, welcoming face of Starbucks. For people all over the globe, she is a signal of the world’s finest coffee – and much more. She stands unbound, sharing our stories, inviting all of us in to explore, to find something new and to connect with each other. And as always, she is urging all of us forward to the next thing. After all, who can resist her?

Not me.

Find Article at the following link:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Letter to the Church on Gay Marriage

Otis Moss III
Senior Pastor
Trinity UCC, Chicago

My Brother,

Tell your brethren who are part of your ministerial coalition to “live their faith and not legislate their faith” for the Constitution is designed to protect the rights of all. We must learn to be more than a one-issue community and seek the beloved community where we may not all agree, but we all recognize the fingerprint of the Divine upon all of humanity.

There is no doubt people there are people who are same-gender-loving who occupy prominent places in the body of Christ. For the clergy to hide from true dialogue with quick dismissive claims devised from poor biblical scholarship is as sinful as unthoughtful acceptance of a theological position. When we make biblical claims without sound interpretation we run the risk of adopting a doctrinal position of deep conviction but devoid of love ethic. Deep faith may resonate in our position, but it is the ethic of love that forces us to prayerfully reexamine our position.

The question I believe we should pose to our congregations is, “Should all Americans have the same civil rights?” This is a radically different question than the one you raised with the ministers, “Does the church have the right to perform or not perform certain religious rites. R.I.T.E.S” There is difference between rights and rites. We should never misconstrue rights designed to protect diverse individuals in a pluralistic society versus religious rites designed by faith communities to communicate a theological or doctrinal perspective. These two questions are answered in two fundamentally different arenas. One is answered in the arena of civic debate where the Constitution is the document of authority. The other is answered in the realm of ecclesiastical councils where theology, conscience and biblical mandates are the guiding ethos. I do not believe ecclesiastical councils are equipped to shape civic legislation nor are civic representatives equipped to shape religious rituals and doctrine.

The institution of marriage is not under attack as a result of the President’s words. Marriage was under attack years ago by men who viewed women as property and children as trophies of sexual prowess. Marriage is under attack by low wages, high incarceration, unfair tax policy, unemployment, and lack of education. Marriage is under attack by clergy who proclaim monogamy yet think nothing of stepping outside the bonds of marriage to have multiple affairs with “preaching groupies.” Same-gender couples did not cause the high divorce rate, but our adolescent views of relationships and our inability as a community to come to grips with the ethic of love and commitment did. We still confuse sex with love and romance with commitment.

My father, who is a veteran of the civil rights movement and retired pastor, eloquently stated the critical nature of this election when speaking to ministers this past week who claim they will pull support from the President as a result of his position. He stated, “Our Ancestors prayed for 389 years to place a person of color in the White House. They led over 200 slave revolts, fought in 11 wars, one being a civil war where over 600,000 people died. Our mothers fought and were killed for women’s suffrage, our grandparents were lynched for the civil rights bill of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965…my father never had the opportunity to vote and I believe it is my sacred duty to pull the lever for every member of my family who was denied the right to vote. I will not allow narrow-minded ministers or regressive politicians the satisfaction of keeping me from my sacred right to vote to shape the future for my grandchildren.”

Gay and lesbian citizens did not cause the economic crash, foreclosures, and attack upon health care. Poor underfunded schools were not created because people desire equal protection under the law. We have much work to do as a community.

To claim the President of the United States must hold your theological position is absurd. He is President of the United States of America not the President of the Baptist convention or Bishop of the Sanctified or Holiness Church. He is called to protect the rights of Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, Gay and straight, black and white, Atheist and Agnostic. It should be noted the President offered no legislation, or executive order, or present an argument before the Supreme Court. He simply stated his personal conviction.

If we dare steal away from the noise of this debate, we will realize as a church we are called to “Do justice, live mercy and walk humbly with God.” Gay people have never been the enemy; and when we use rhetoric to suggest they are the source of our problems we lie on God and cause tears to flow from the eyes of Christ.

I am not asking you to change your position, but I am stating we must stay in dialogue and not allow our own personal emotional prejudices or doctrines to prevent us from seeing the possibilities of a beloved community.

November is fast approaching, and the spirits of Ella Baker, Septima Clarke, Fannie Lou Hammer, Rosa Parks, A. Phillip Randolph, James Orange, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther, King Jr. stand in the balcony of heaven raising the question, “Will you do justice, live mercy and walk humbly with our God?” Emmitt Till and the four little girls who were assassinated in Alabama during worship did not die for a Sunday sermonic sound bite to show disdain for one group of God’s people. They were killed by an evil act enacted by men who believed in doctrine over love. We serve in ministry this day because of a man who believed in love over doctrine and died on a hill called Calvary in a dusty Palestinian community 2,000 years ago. 

Do not let the rhetoric of this debate keep you from the polls, my friend. Let us stay in dialogue my brother.


Your Brother

Otis Moss, III
Senior Pastor
Trinity United Church of Christ

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Preservation of Self

Akin Ojumu
Owings Mills, MD

Choices! Choices!! Life is full of choices.

Duh! That’s an oxymoron….a no brainer. Everyone probably makes a thousand of them every single hour. What’s not so always obvious though is the motive behind those pesky little decisions people make on a daily basis. The motive usually hides behind the shuttered windows of the recesses of the soul.

What informs our choices? Why do we do what we do? What powers the engine of our choices? What drives the decisions we make?

The subject is one that I’ve brooded over, on and off, over the years. Yet it remains a difficult one for me to write about. Even now I struggle to find the right choice of word to express my flailing thoughts. It is like being asked to give a vivid description of the physical appearance of nothingness. Oh yeah! You go ahead and give that your best shot.

What is life without a choice? We live and breathe this stuff. There is no hiding place from choice; it follows us everywhere we go. We cannot avoid it, there is no refusing it, to not make a choice, is a choice in and of itself. Just as our body is made up of clusters of over a hundred trillion cells, our present state in life is an embodiment of the collective choices we’ve made up to that point in our lives. We are, in essence, a consequence of our choices.

From the very beginning we have been condemned to a life devoted to making choices. Since the day we bawled our way into this world, we became the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company called, Choice PLC; the maker of choice. Even the course of our present existence was set in motion by a single choice. The one made on our behalf by Mrs. Eve Adam, the day she took and ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was a turning point in humanity. From that day on, mankind and choice became locked in an eternal embrace of life and death. In order to unlock the mystery behind what gives voice to our choice, the Garden of Eden will be the logical place to start. So off to Eden we go.

It was a typical day in Eden’s Garden. The sprawling estate was in a pristine state. A perfectly gorgeous summer morning; the clear blue sky showered sparkles of light on the luscious green trees, that swayed gently to the rhythm of the slow moving wind, traveling from the west. The air was filled with pure joy and music, all creation singing praises to their LORD and Maker. The sweet smelling savor of their praises suffused the atmosphere, ascending up to the throne of Glory. Oh what a joy! What exhilaration!!!

Such was the day before evil took center stage. Who could have imagined that a great evil was about to befall the earth on this fateful day?

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the trees which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’ And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.Genesis 3: 1-5.

Evil descended upon the world from that moment, an eerie silhouette against the radiance of that beautiful morning. As it slithered its way into the scene, the creeping thing released a mushroom cloud of toxic vapor into the atmosphere, corrupting the lives all around. In the twinkling of an eye, the singing, the dancing, and the rejoicing all came to an abrupt end. The peace of that day was shattered with a terrifying shriek; a wail of agony that continues to reverberate from generation to generation. The glorious beauty was replaced by a hideous ugliness, and the pure joy that flows from innocent hearts, devoid of doubt, supplanted by the sure pain that grows in empty souls corrupted with forbidden knowledge. The curtain of evil fell on a life of perpetual fellowship with God. Hitherto man, a native born citizen of the Shekinah, was clothed with God’s glory. Now fallen from grace, and hidden from His Holy presence, he was nothing more than a naked fugitive alien, adorned in fig leaves, cowering at the sound of God’s voice.

How could this have ever happened? They had it going pretty good; a daily schmoozing with the Almighty, ownership of a lush estate with lots and lots of exotic beings and things, and dominion over all of God’s creation. They were crowned with prosperity in its purest form yet; in spirit, soul and body. Their life was lived in fullness; in complete contentment and without a care in the world. What more could a man ask for?

Yet in one single instance they lost it all.

Why? Why? Why? Why did they do it? The reason they did it is the same that informs our choices. It is to preserve self.

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.Luke 17:33 (cf: Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24).

They wanted to be like God. In their minds they imagined what it’ll be like being equal with God. The mouthwatering taste of the power, authority, and majesty of being god was too tempting a bait to not swallow. The intoxicating and corrosive fumes of knowledge, which is not of or from God, clouded their judgment. They were consumed by the leering and seducing flare-up of lust. Driven by the inordinate desire to preserve it all, on their own without God, they lost it all. In one fell swoop they became captives of Lucifer’s bait-and switch.

The consuming passion to preserve self is encoded our DNA. It is evident in mankind’s entire life endeavor. You find it even in the functioning of the human anatomy and physiology. The body mounts a defense against all foreign invaders, by deploying an army of cells equipped with weapons of mass destruction, to crush the perceived enemy, all in an attempt to maintain the body’s state of equilibrium…its homeostasis…itself. This is a normal physiologic response. Occasionally, however, this self-preserving function becomes deleterious. The body’s army often rebel, turning on the body itself, leading to devastating consequences…the autoimmune diseases. You also find that some of the invaders aim directly for the body’s army. This particular invader, the human immunodeficiency virus, achieves a complete takeover of the defense cells, perpetuating itself, and effectively evading detection, capture, and destruction, ultimately leading to the death of the cells and the whole body. Such is the human life.

We take extra-ordinary steps to try and save our lives. Some of these things, and in some people, are quite obvious, being done in plain sight. Others are quite subtle, with the appearance of nobility and heroism. Yet, when you pull back the curtain, you’d find that within the choices we make, is the cockatrice of self-service. This beast spits venom upon everything we touch. It poisons relationships, ruins careers, wrecks havocs in churches, brings down nations, and destroys lives.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.James 1: 12-17.

The sooner we accept the fact that our life is not our own…that it does not belong to us…the sooner we’ll stop “kicking against the pricks”. Fussing before the mirror will not add one inch to our height; quit trying to add cubit to your stature. Instead, we need to lose ourselves in the reality, initiative, and provisions of the Almighty God. For then, and alone then, is our life preserved.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Overcoming Failure

Kyle Zimmer
President & CEO, First Book

Failure is one of my favorite topics. Because you can fail without ever succeeding, but you can never succeed without failing.

Now I think what helps everybody overcomes failure, which maybe more important in my own failures, is been brave enough to continue to question. To test it, to test it. Test ideas, test new ideas. And then when they don’t work out, pull back and go a different direction.

Don’t be afraid that everything you try is not a home run, because it is never going to be.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish

Steve Jobs
Commencement Address, Stanford University

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, it's 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 returned 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 it's 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 others' 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.