Understanding how to connect the dots can radically transform your life, make you live with more courage and a more meaningful life.
Many times, our lives don’t go according to our plans. We plan to go from A to B and somehow find ourselves being distracted to C, D and F. It makes planning feel like a scam doesn’t it, or makes life really out of our control and nothing we should really bother about. Except…
Except that when you form the habit of looking back in life to connect the dots, you are likely to find out, that it all makes sense. You see, all things work together for good is not a cliche, it’s actually an observation you are also likely to make when you connect the dots.
You see, we don’t really have the power to make sense of our lives by looking forward, but we can derive sense and learn plenty of lessons from life by looking backward at all our failures and successes, connecting the dots, and realizing the sovereign power of an invisible God steering your life in the direction of your purpose and destiny. Our foresight is limited, but our hindsight is vast.
Let me share two examples
1. Steve Jobs – By looking back at his life, he could connect the dots of his life and discover that what would make him who he is, and primarily start that by dropping out of school, already started from before he was born. For Steve Jobs the founder of Apple, as a fetus his mother, a young unwed graduate had planned before giving birth to him to give him up for adoption to parents who were graduates because the primary condition was that the child must go to college. As fate would have it, the new parents decided last minute that they wanted a girl child. Another couple was called in the middle of the night if they wanted to take the child that had suddenly become available. They answered in the affirmative, but there was a major roadblock along the way – they were not graduates and Steve Jobs’ birth mother refused to sign the adoption papers until they committed that they would do all in their power to send Steve to college when the time was right. Fast forward into the future, they did send him to college, but 6 months later, not seeing the sense in costing his parents so much money to study what he couldn’t figure out how it connected to his purpose compelled him to drop out and then drop in as a free student into classes he enjoyed for another 18 months. Steve Jobs wasn’t really destined to go through college, right? Interestingly several of the opportunities that created his unique story relate to discoveries made from quitting school and dropping into particular classes.
2. Adeolu Akinyemi – While Steve Jobs may seem far away and disconnected from many people’s realities, mine is a smaller story that can connect with more people. Now, this is not the story of my life, just a season of 5 years. I remember vividly being interviewed for my first Job as Recruiting and training manager for Procter and Gamble West Africa about 20 years ago. When I paused later in the day to review the interview, it was a connect-the-dot moment for me. Back in school, I had functioned in a number of disjointed seemingly unnecessary roles. I was an Assistant Hall Pastor, Chairman of Exploit makers, I was initiator and coordinator for a non-denominational drama project – Akere, I Bible Study Secretary, President of Departmental Association, etc. All these interests were just interests, no proactive calculation on how they would be valuable. On the day I started my interviews however, all the dots came together. I realized that some invisible hands had leveraged my interest to steer me in readiness for future opportunities.
If we connect the dots for our pasts and can make sense of them. We will realize that by following our hearts and moving fearlessly in the direction of our passions and interests, we will be succumbing to our destined greatness. Sometimes we will fail, and sometimes we will succeed, but all that we will do in our lives will be dots that form an amazing and instructive picture when we are finally able to put them together.
How do I learn to put these dots together? What value is knowing God and being led by Him in all of these? These are going to be very interesting thoughts to ponder. Do you have any questions of your own you want to ask? Let’s discuss.
As this year comes to a close, take out some time, connect the dots, and let it instruct you for the future.