Tim Cook’s 5 Pieces of Wisdom to the Class of 2015

The Apple CEO's inspiring speech focuses on the importance of integrating your values into your professional life.

Tim Cook giving the 2015 commencement speech at George Washington University. [Screenshot]

After founder and visionary Steve Jobs passed away, Tim Cook took the reins of Apple in 2011. As the CEO of one of the most powerful and influential companies in the world, Cook knows a thing or two about running a business. However in addition to his business acumen, Cook is an avid supporter of social issues, from making Apple more eco-friendly to increasing workplace diversity. These are just some of the reasons why Cook was invited to give the 2015 commencement speech at George Washington University in addition to receiving an honorary doctorate for public service. 
In an open and rousing graduation speech, Cook relates his experiences of growing up in the segregated south, and how at a young age he had to differentiate between right and wrong. He shares how he got started at Apple, driving home the point that succeeding at work doesn’t have to mean compromising on your personal values. The 21-minute speech is chock full of sage advice and inspiration, and places a strong emphasis on the importance of integrating your values into your professional life.  
Here are the top five nuggets of wisdom that Cook had to bestow upon the graduating class of 2015 - giving all of us something to aspire to and learn from ourselves.  


For you graduates, the process of discovering yourself, of inventing yourself, of reinventing yourself is about to begin in earnest. It's about finding your values and committing to live by them. 

Tim Cook taking a picture of the 2015 class on his iPhone. [Screenshot]


Your values matter. They are your North Star. And work takes on new meaning when you feel you are pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, it's just a job, and life is too short for that.

The North Star that serves as your guide. [Shutterstock]


The sidelines are not where you want to live your life. The world needs you in the arena.

Take risks and dive in head first. [Shutterstock]


…There is opportunity to do work that is infused with moral purpose. You don't have to choose between doing good and doing well. It's a false choice, today more than ever.

Finding fulfillment at work is not a pipe dream. [Shutterstock]


History rarely yields to one person, but think, and never forget, what happens when it does. That can be you. That should be you. That must be you.

Watch the full speech here: