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Rhetoric Analysis: Lessons from Steve Jobs’ 2005 Commencement Speech

Feb 24, 2023 | 0 comments

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Feb 24, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Most people wonder how successful people managed to accomplish their achievements. Steven Jobs gives insights into his journey to success and achievements and valuable lessons he learnt along the way. This paper analyzes Steven Jobs’ commentary address at Stanford University in regard to the ideas and message the speech conveyed together with his application of rhetoric techniques in speech delivery.

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Steven Jobs in his Stanford Commencement Speech in 2005 explored factors that contributes to success and makes life meaningful drawing illustrations from his own life experiences as indicated by Shanaberger ( para 1). He argued that success is a product of passion just as much as hard work; identifying one’s interests and pursuing them is important. He uses his college drop- out story to emphasize the uniqueness in people in terms of talents, abilities and desires pointing out that discovering and exploiting them is very is important. Jobs beliefs that career choices should be made based on passion. Jobs believes that life is not smooth instead is filled with ups and downs asserting that setbacks, losses and failure are extremely crucial in a person’s life and maintain achievements takes a lot more than just academic education. Jobs beliefs that failures teachers us valuable life lessons that makes us better stronger, equipped to deal with challenges of life even those concerning one’s career and jobs as implied by Shanaberger ( para 6).

Steven Jobs was also for the opinion that everything we do at any point in life is important. The likelihood of needing to apply past knowledge in the present context is high urging that we ought to learn to connect the dots by giving an example of how his calligraphy cause contributed to his inventions at Apple as stated by Shanaberger ( para 5). Moreover, Jobs beliefs that life ought to be an adventure of self- discovery into elements that makes us happy and give life meaning. Being independent minded is key to happiness as he says life is too short to live someone else’s life; he beliefs in trusting one’s own intrusion as well as guts in making personal decisions regarding what is appropriate and what not even in career choices.

Steven Jobs advices individuals to concentrate on living happily by deriving motivation to move forward in life every day from activities they are passionate about and not engage in activities for the sake. He urges therefore urges to focus on discovering their talents and interest and to pursue them. However, he emphasizes that life is not a bed roses but the key is remaining optimistic regardless of the circumstance since perceiving failures, loses and hardships positively may lead to even greater success As he acknowledges how getting fired from the company he created was devastating but fruitful in the end as he embarked on a discovery that later saved Apple from bankruptcy as indicated by Shanaberger (para 6). Jobs further urges people to be independent minded. Individuals ought to be brave in making their own choices and not rely on other people’s opinion stressing that life is too short to live other people’s lives by always having to worry about what others make of their life choices. Pointing out the power of self-believe in our abilities to succeed by following our intrusion and guts. Besides, Job urges individuals not to shun from making mistakes since great life lessons and achievements are derived from those mistakes stressing that perfectionism is unachievable and lastly, to avoid ignoring our past knowledge instead integrate the past into their present life as implied by Shanaberger (para 5).

Shanaberger (para 1) suggests that Jobs Stanford Commencement speech targeted young people. The young generation, high school students, college students, college graduates and drop-outs, have a long way to go and a lot of challenges to encounter in their attempts to lead happy productive lives thus requires advice and proper guidance. The young people have long been known to cling to misplaced goals in life most of the time ending up hopeless in unsuitable professions. This is because they are often unsure of their capabilities and requires reassurance which Job attempted to offer when he said we should believe in our guts and intrusion claiming that we are always right. Their tendency to base their life choices on pleasing others other than themselves, making unrealistic goals while shunning away from passionate activities and low self-esteem driven by ignorance are the factors Job is attempting to address since they largely contribute to their failure. Therefore, Job aimed to inspire the young to take charge and define their own lives based on interest as stated by Isaacson (para 2).

Jobs organized his ideas in three categories and accompanied them with stories to emphasize his point and make them memorable. His application of real life experiences to convey and emphasize ideas makes the speech realist and achievable as he illustrates the ideas with stories of love, loss, hardship, discovery and death. The rhetoric devices he employed lightened the audiences’ mood since the device makes the speech more interesting. His use of rhetoric questions also makes the speech simple and, easier to comprehend and remember thus made it successful as explained by Shanaberger (para 5).

Jobs argument on being independent minded is based on social perspective since people’s tendency to seek second opinions regarding their choices is driven social forces that creates fear of embarrassment resulting from failure. His notion of connecting the dots reflects a historical background of an individual’s life. Identifying and pursuing one’s dreams on the other hand is a personal decision influenced by inward desires. Moreover, Jobs’ idea of rising based on failures and hardships can be perceived a cultural development since it is a habit that can be adopted and employed in all life situations as implied by Isaacson (para 4).

Jobs’ employment of different rhetorical techniques like anaphora and epistrophe make the story more meaningful and enables the audience to infer meaningful application. His use of rhetoric question when he asked what his purpose for dropping out of college aided in attracting and holding the audiences’ attention as the audience listen waiting eagerly to hear his reasons, and helped him link appropriately with his audiences consequently as indicated by Shanaberger (para 10)

Works Cited

Darby Shanaberger. “Text of Steven Jobs’ Commencement Address (2005).” Stanford University. N.p., n,d. Web.

Walter Isaacson. Harvard Business Review-Ideas and Advice for Leaders. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct.2015

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