How To Connect The Dots Of Your Future

Rebecca Mayville

Start first by disagreeing with Steve Jobs! Never did I think I’d be so bold as to disagree with the late, great, Steve Jobs, but …

Start first by disagreeing with Steve Jobs!

RM - Steve Jobs blogNever did I think I’d be so bold as to disagree with the late, great, Steve Jobs, but in keeping with my resolution of 2015 to be braver, I figured I might as well come out with guns blazing. Ten years ago, Steve Jobs inspired the 2005 Stanford graduates with this quote during his commencement address: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards”. It’s with the matter of direction that my disagreement with Mr. Jobs lies. I believe it is entirely possible to connect the dots looking forward – in fact, here at CornerStone Dynamics, we call it creating a Visual Vision Statement.

Allow me to connect the dots of my argument for you:

Dot #1:

Connecting the dots moving forward, does in fact start with looking backwards. And to either side. And up, down and everywhere. But it especially involves looking inward. By examining your past (and present) behaviours, beliefs, values and actions, you will start to see a pattern – aka dots connecting. Based on this intelligence that you have gathered about the things you hold most dear – both personally and professionally – you can start to chart your dots for future action. Your vision for the future is therefore built on being able to see the connected dots of your past clearly. From here you can either continue to follow the pattern of previous dots or start a dot course correct.

Dot #2:

If you read on in Mr. Jobs’ quote, it says “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.” Like he says, I do trust in my gut.  I trust destiny and life and karma and a whole bunch of other things. But I don’t trust these things to shape my future. It is not karma that is going to connect the dots for me – it is my beliefs, my values and my priorities that will determine what my life looks like. Trusting yourself is the key to ensuring you follow the connection of your dots.

Dot #3:

There is even more to the connecting dots passage in the commencement speech (because those things are long!) and it says: “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 difference.” Here Mr. Jobs purports that the confidence you need in your future, and the direction it will take is dependent on the assurance that the dots will connect. As if to say that all dots must connect so just go about your business. But it’s your life and you want your dots to connect how you want them to, and that is why when you place the dots specifically where they are supposed to be – by designing your Visual Vision Statement – your confidence comes from the vision itself. The well-worn path that Mr. Jobs speaks of might just be the path of those that don’t possess the control and confidence to make their own path – the well-worn path is therefore made by those that let fate decide where to lead them. Don’t follow fate.

If I had read the quote by Steve Jobs just over a year ago I may have agreed with him. In fact, I know I would have. Here was a man who had created the very device I was reading the quote on! Of course he had to know what he was talking about. But a funny thing happened over this past year. I found that I didn’t need to find my inspiration for the future in the words of others, even Steve Jobs. I could create the words I would live by. I could connect those words into sentences that would inspire me daily. And I could shape those sentences into images that would serve as my visual inspiration daily. I had the power to connect my own dots. Since completing my own Visual Vision Statement (one of the many gifts I have received as an employee here at CSD (to get your copy of The Visual Vision Doodle Book check out at our store) just over a month ago, I have been emboldened with a sense that anything is possible in my future, because I designed (not iDesigned) it like that.


Do you want to live by your own words, sentences, images?  Join me with the confidence to connect your own dots! Thanks for reading, don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.

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Rebecca Mayville was an associate at CornerStone Dynamics Inc.

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