The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, is known for being an outspoken person with the ability to lead the minds of thousands of followers. With that in mind, the CEO was invited to deliver a virtual commencement for the 2020 graduating class of Ohio’s State College/University. The CEO started the event by apologizing for not being able to be present physically with the graduates to celebrate the special event. But Tim Cook also mentioned that they need to be strong, and together they can soon overcome the current challenge and go back to their lives.
The Ohio State officials had announced strict restrictions on any public gatherings of more than 50 people at a place. And hence the schools of Ohio decided to hold a virtual commencement to comply with the new restrictions to aid in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
The CEO drew the focus of all the students to a century-old event, which is the 1918 epidemic. Tim Cook pointed out the leaders of that time and how they accomplished in coming out of it. He mentioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt and how he led his people to not fall and lose hope, the aviator Amelia Earhart and about her adventures. He also mentioned the famous poet T.S. Eliot and how he spread positivity and hope from his poetry amongst the people. The 1918 flu epidemic truly had taken the country down, but they emerged stronger than before.
Tim Cook encouraged the students by saying that the times may be difficult, and there may be moments when it can be difficult to look at the bigger picture. But he asks them to wear the situation of the current times as a badge of honor and emerge stronger.
The CEO, in his words, stated, “Those who meet times of historical challenge with their eyes and hearts open — forever restless and forever striving — are also those who leave the greatest impact on the lives of others.”
He further added, “In every age, life has a frustrating way of reminding us that we are not the sole authors of our story. We must share credit, whether we’d like to or not, with a difficult and selfish collaborator called our circumstances.”
The CEO did not only talk about the pandemic, but he also shared some of his personal experiences. Like how lucky and blessed he felt when he was allowed to work in Apple in the year of 1998, alongside Steve Jobs. He also talked about the heartbreaking moment he had when he came to know about the death of his close friend and colleague Steve Jobs. In his statement about the death of Jobs,
Tim Cook stated, “But fate comes like a thief in the night. The loneliness I felt when we lost Steve was proof that there is nothing more eternal, or more powerful, than the impact we have on others”.
He further continued by saying that, “Those of us who can look back on this time and remember inconveniences and even boredom can count themselves lucky. Many more will know real hardship and fear. Others still will be cut to the bone. And while we turn to our loved ones and friends for comfort, think hard about those whose impact on your life is more distant, but no less meaningful.”
The CEO was seen reminiscing his old fond memories and the lessons that he had learnt from life about friendship, hardship, and love. The words by the CEO were truly inspiring and has ignited the spirit of leadership amongst most of the students watching his address the virtual commencement.
He talked about how people need to keep the balance between their work-life as well as personal life, without letting the pandemic take over their mental wellbeing. The CEO was mostly seen, encouraging the students to learn new skills at home and use it for a better purpose in life. The pandemic has been an eye-opener for many.