In Dots I Trust

May 09, 2020

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.

— Steve Jobs

This is a part from the commencement speech Steve Jobs gave to Stanford university students in 2005. It’s a wonderful description of something I strongly believe: Everything makes sense if you try to understand it thoroughly. I connected dots (and still do) almost on a daily basis. It has often given me some comfort in difficult times when I was filled with doubt or other challenges to overcome. It can also be a very powerful motivator.

As Jobs said, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future. This requires practice and execution. It’s essential to create dots by making decisions and taking action. If it’s done in a mindful way or it’s based on trust, looking backwards and make the connections will be a joyful experience. Otherwise, the dots are made for us and in times we’re not happy or facing challenges, we tend to blame external factors or others for our misery.

Connecting dots is giving responses to your “self”. That’s how I understand “self-responsibility”. Taking self-responsibility is therefore equal with creating dots. It’s about building the ability to give responses in the future.