I was surprised at how much I thought about Steve Jobs yesterday.
In his 2005 Stanford Commencement address[here in the Archinect Blog Blog], Jobs talks about connecting the dots.
I have a lot of very successful friends in other fields, and one thing that strikes me about many of them is their laser focus. They've got it figured out: I will go to this degree program, after which I will work for this company, be promoted to this position, get to this higher position by 30. They say things like 'Success is having a well-organized plan,' and I think of my own scattered ambitions and wonder 'Am I doing this right?'
Which brings me back to dots. Steve Jobs' point was that you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. If you are curious, if you follow your intuition and your gut down different pathways, if you look at possibilities with learning as your goal, you are collecting dots. A dot in music, a dot in economics, a dot in storytelling, a dot in typography, a dot in management. If you pepper your experience with interesting and worthwhile dots, they will connect later.
I did this drawing to try and imagine what this personal experiential network might look like after a long rich life of dot-collecting-and-connecting. Dense connections in one or several areas, oblique connections across seemingly unrelated things, and some dots that still haven't been connected yet.
I am a good dot collector; I am not the best planner. I am curious and open, and not always great at focusing. So Steve's words give me confidence in the way that I am finding my way: living now to collect as many interesting, peculiar, educational experiences as I can, because they will connect later anyways.
We live in uncertain times. Let's use the uncertainty to redefine the way we are valued and the way we measure ourselves, to create the context for the change we want to make.