You Can’t Connect The Dots Looking Forward
“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. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the differences.”
— Steve Jobs
Hindsight is 20-20. We all know that. But how often do we sit there wishing we could predict the future? Maybe we question ourselves when calamity strikes. Maybe we do that while in deep reflection of our past. Or, it could be something that’s constantly on our minds. Yet, no matter when we do it, there’s real truth in the saying that you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You just can’t. You can only connect them looking backwards.
So how do we push forward without knowing what the future holds for us? How do we keep our heads up and retain our sanity when everything around us seems to be falling apart and crumbling to pieces? I know that I’ve asked myself these questions during times of great sorrow. During times of sheer pain, I was filled with millions of questions and what-if scenarios swirling around in my mind. The truth is that I had no idea what the future held for me. I just didn’t.
But there’s also this flame of hope that’s lit inside of us. For some of us, it burns so brightly with the faith or the spiritual oneness that binds us all, that it carries us through the tough times. Sometimes, that’s what we need. We need the deep-rooted faith that things will turn out better. Because, you know what? They always do. Even when pain strikes and we can’t understand it in the moment, there’s always a reason why things happen.
Oftentimes, we can’t find that reason when we’re struggling and suffocating with the pain of something that drowns us. We just can’t. It’s hard to see the proverbial forest through the trees while you’re getting pricked and prodded by every single thistle along the way. You just can’t. But in time, you do. And you will. There is real power in that. Letting go and relinquishing control of our lives and the people around us is very hard. Especially for people who can’t stand to lose control.
Why You Can’t Connect The Dots
We were put here on this earth to thrive. Not just survive. But oftentimes we’re just in survival mode. We’re so worried about what’s going to happen in the next month or week or day or even hour, that we’re stifled with fear. When that happens, we can’t move forward. We can’t progress. Nor can we change. We’re stuck. Frozen still. And that’s a place where fear and paranoia and anxiety and stress reign free.
However, when you let go and you relinquish your necessity to control every last person and aspect of your life, and you just trust in the abundance that surrounds you, some remarkable things happen. That’s where the real magic occurs. It’s when all the scarcity and negative mindset falls to the wayside and extraordinary things begin to occur in your life. But getting there isn’t easy. You won’t be able to connect those dots going forward. Only backwards. So trust in your faith to guide you.
Look, I know the feeling. I remember a time when my life fell apart and I didn’t know what to do. It’s as if I had lost all meaning in everything. It was the lowest point I had ever been at in my life. The lowest by far. And I just wanted the pain to stop. That’s all I could think about. But somehow, one way or another, from somewhere unknown to me still to this day, this burning desire arose from the inside and just grew and snowballed.
I remember sitting in front of the laptop and just writing as if it were flowing out of me. Words poured out like a raging waterfall, cascading violently in this crescendo that was deafening. Although the room was silent, the words filled my mind and I plucked them from this stream of consciousness as if I were fishing for trout at the baes of a lake that lead to white waters cruising towards that very water fall.
I trusted in that voice. It moved me forward. I knew I couldn’t predict the future. I knew that. But I could do something in the present. I could do something useful to add value to the world. I had no idea where it would lead. No one ever does. But I gathered all my faculties and I persisted. I pushed harder than I had ever pushed before in my life. It was the most extraordinary thing I have ever witnessed.
But that’s the power of the human spirit. We are relentless. Think about the progress we’ve made in the past century alone. We’ve made more progress in those 100 years than we have in all of mankind’s 200,000 years or so in modern existence. Along that route there were plenty of failures and heartaches. Tremendous and catastrophic events that were unfathomable and inexplicable at the time also occurred as our civilization evolved. But we persisted.
Never Fear Failure
So many of us are so stifled by fear, unable to connect those proverbial dots going forward, that we don’t live our lives. We forget to be present and enjoy what’s here and now. Instead, we regret the past and fret the future. That’s no way to live. You can’t live in a state of fear your whole life. In fact, you need to break through that fear. Everything you’ve ever wanted is there to take, but it lies just outside your comfort zone. That’s it.
The truth is that it doesn’t matter what other people think about us. Their opinions don’t matter. Why? Because no one is perfect. We’re all fallible. That’s the beauty of mankind. We were given free will to make the mistakes and experience the failures so that we can grow and mature and reach deeper understandings. The biggest progress happens after failure. In fact, Henry Ford once said that “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Failure should be beckoned. Welcomed, even. Don’t shy away from it. So much growth occurs there. That doesn’t mean you have to fail to succeed. You could easily go out there and read about the failures of others and learn from those mistakes before they happen. Remember, you can’t completely avoid failure. So don’t let that stop you from trying to do something that you’re passionate about.
As you know, the author of this quote, Steve Jobs, struggled with his own bouts of failure. He was adopted, dropped out of college, and didn’t know what to do with his life for years. But he trusted in his heart. Although he couldn’t connect those dots looking forward, it didn’t stop him from following his passion and doing what he loved. That’s sound advice from one of the most intuitive and successful entrepreneurs to have ever graced this earth.
How To Stay Positive
This quote really reminds me of something very powerful. The truth is that there is real veracity in our thoughts. What you think, you shall become. So why get negative? Why focus that laser beam you call a mind on negative things? Did you know that our thoughts are so powerful that they can dictate our outcome in life? If you focus the mind on guilt or resentment or anger, you’ll never move forward.
Thus, you’ll always be worried about every step you take, unsure of where to go from here. Instead, trust that voice inside your mind. Not in a crazy way. I’m talking about the voice buried deep in your subconscious. The voice that we all have. There is a rhyme and a reason for what happened to you. You might not understand it now. But there is. I assure you that there is. And, in time, all will be revealed.
So, you can’t stray too far. It’s okay to be sad or worried or feel guilt for a moment. But that’s it. Don’t allow it to fester. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for in life. Fill your heart with sincere gratitude and watch as things turn around, slowly but surely over time. Don’t expect massive change overnight. It doesn’t work that way. Rome wasn’t built in a day. As cliche as that sounds, it’s so true.
Focus on the here and now. Be present. Stay positive. Work hard. Focus the mind on good things. Be grateful. Be loving. Care about others. Give to those who need it. Not money. Your time. Time is way more valuable than money. Once the time is gone it can never be replaced. Money, on the other hand, can be spent and earned and saved and pilfered all the same. Not time. You only get this moment once. That’s it. Then it’s gone.
Remember, the past is the past. Let it stay there. Don’t brood. Instead, let things go. If you hang onto that negative energy, it will deplete you. Instead, fill your heart with love. Forgive. You don’t have to forget. But let it go. Remember that hindsight is 20-20. You can’t understand things now, but some day, maybe years from now, you’ll understand it. I can assure you of that. For now, you might have to experience some pain. And that’s okay, because it’ll force you to grow.
That’s the beauty of life. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, there will be violent weather. But instead of waiting for the storm to pass, learn how to dance in the rain. That’s where the real beauty and magic happens in life. You were meant to live this life, not to spend it in the past. You can’t change it. And you can’t connect the dots going into the future. You just can’t predict what will happen. So don’t try to.