Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. Steve Jobs

By Maxime Lagacé

Maxime is the founder of WisdomQuotes. He has been collecting quotes since 2004. His goal? To help you develop a calm and peaceful mind. Learn more about him on his about page.

stay hungry stay foolish steve jobs wisdom quotes“Stay hungry, stay foolish” is one of my favorite quotes of all time.

The first time I heard it was during Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford back in 2005.

I didn’t know much about Steve at that time besides being the co-founder of Apple.

I also found he was worth more than 250$ million by the time he was 25.

Then he died from cancer in 2011.

After I dove into his life story, I found a truly inspiring and deep character.

I recommend his excellent biography by Walter Isaacson.

So, what does Steve mean by “Stay hungry, stay foolish”?

What’s the story behind it?

How can you use this quote in your own life?

Let’s find out!

What does “Stay hungry, stay foolish” mean?

“Stay hungry, stay foolish” means you should always learn, move forward, avoid taking things personally and be indifferent when things don’t go as planned.

Now, let’s dig a little deeper to uncover what this quote means in detail.

Stay hungry

Staying hungry means you keep your motivation high.

It means you adapt fast, learn new things continually, and want to do your best.

You want to reach your full potential.

It means you follow your heart and go toward what truly interests you.

You stay curious and you’re not satisfied with the status quo (like Steve famously said in his “Think Different” campaign).

You don’t discourage yourself during hard times and you fight back.

You’re patient with results but impatient with actions.

Stay foolish

Staying foolish means you don’t live in the past.

Even if you’ve been hurt, keep your head up and continue on your path.

You don’t sweat the small stuff.

You don’t mind if dogs bark.

You’re a little stubborn, a little crazy.

And you’re comfortable with it.

You know lots of things in life don’t make sense but you don’t care.

You know you don’t control most things in life but you don’t care.

You simply do your best, and you don’t mind the rest.


What’s the story behind “Stay hungry, stay foolish”?

Steve Jobs wasn’t the first one to use these words.

He discovered them in a book called the Whole Earth Catalogue.

Steve Jobs referred to this counterculture magazine as one of the bibles of his generation.

On the back cover of the last edition in 1974, the farewell message was “Stay hungry, stay foolish”.

Those words were also the last message Jobs wanted to tell in his commencement speech.

whole earth catalogue stay hungry stay foolish

Commencement Speech At Stanford, “Stay hungry, stay foolish”

Steve Jobs told us to “Stay hungry, stay foolish” in his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005.

You can hear the words at 14:09 in the video.


How can you use “Stay hungry, stay foolish” in your life?

Utility #1: For Your Self-Talk

One way you can use this quote is as a mantra.

Or self-talk if you prefer.

It’s like using positive affirmations for better mental states you want to reach.

How does it work?

When you wake up, repeat to yourself 5-10 times “Stay hungry, stay foolish”.

Or “Today I will stay hungry. Today I will stay foolish”.

Same thing when you go to bed.

You can also put a little variant saying “How can I stay hungry today?”, “How can I stay foolish today?”.

Asking yourself questions is a great way to activate the subconscious mind and bring change to your life.

As Thomas Edison said,

Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.

Utility #2: For Your Motivation

The part “Stay hungry” acts like fuel for your motivation.

If you’re like me, you know life is rarely easy.

You know life will throw challenges, bad news, and curve balls when you least expect it.

What’s the best way to deal with this?

By taking responsibility, finding solutions, and moving forward.

By staying hungry.

Keep in mind pessimists destroy things.

Optimists create things.

Be an optimist.

Utility #3: For Your Inner Peace

With the part “Stay Foolish” you’ll be like a warrior.

A warrior doesn’t care about

  • looking like an idiot
  • the results
  • the critics
  • the past
  • failures


A warrior cares about only one thing:

the process.

Does he control results? No.

Does he control the process? Yes.

That’s why it’s wise to always focus your energy on what you can control.

For more on that, check out our stoic quotes.

In sum,

by staying hungry and staying foolish you’ll be unstoppable.

You’ll be steady and unfazed by life’s challenges.

You’ll have fun improving things.

You’ll have big dreams.

You’ll make your mark.

In your way.


There’s a lot of wisdom in those 4 words, “stay hungry, stay foolish”.

If a person like Steve Jobs said them, it’s worth paying attention to.

After all, he’s one of the most influential entrepreneurs of all time.

He created one of the most successful companies, Apple, the smartphone, the tablet, and the personal computer.

His net worth was more than $250 million by the time he was 25.

He also revolutionized the movie industry with Pixar.

Jony Ive, Apple’s famous designer, called him the most focused person he’s ever met.

Perhaps that was due to his meditation practice.

Or perhaps to the words he was telling himself.

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”

Further Readings

Do you like this quote? What’s your view on “Stay hungry, stay foolish”? How do you plan to use it in your own life? 

And remember: words can transform your life, if you find the right ones.

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Author Bio

maxime lagace

Maxime Lagacé started collecting quotes in 2004 after he lost his girlfriend in a car accident.

In search of meaning, he dived in the self-improvement world, psychology and trail running.

Books, blogs, quotes and nature became his guide.

He started journaling, reflecting, writing his thoughts, feelings and quotes.

His goal was to understand his pain, his depression, his fears, his lack of motivation and inspiration.

He finished his software engineering degree in 2007 at the École de Technologie Supérieure de Montréal.

A few years later, he started his first website to share his love of quotes.

Maxime is a father of two, husband, and INFJ.

Other notable interests of Maxime are health (mental and physical), meditation, bananas, SEO, human potential, and education.

You can find him on X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube.

Last update

March 10, 2022

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