“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. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs
I don’t know what the future has in store for me.
Oh, I may think I know my future in the shorter term but even those plans can be changed in instant. You know how true that is for yourself as well. How many times have you been surprised by life? How many of your greatest joys, and most difficult sorrows, came completely by surprise?
You Can’t Connect the Dots Looking Forward
I love what Steve Jobs said about the impossibility of “connecting dots looking forward:” It can’t be done. Every strategy, every plan, and every desire is a moving target because the future consists of the unknown. For that reason, personally, I put my trust in the goodness and wisdom of God. For you it might be something else, but at the end of the day it you will have to trust in something.
This thought first came to me in 1990, after 6 years of being a minister. In June of that year, I told my wife and closest confidants that in one year I would no longer be a minister. I had no idea what I would do next. I just knew it would not be what I was doing currently in my job. And I fully trusted that some opportunity would come around.
So what happened? It was not until the following March that I received a phone call from a friend who informed me that Chevron was looking for external trainers. I had a decade of business management and years of public speaking behind me. I was a perfect candidate. Before one year had passed I had a new job. But it was a complete surprise. I trusted that God would provide some thing and he did.
Results of Letting Go and Trusting
That was followed by the birth of a son, then jobs as a baseball coach, a trainer of business people, a facilitator of strategic planning, an Executive Business Coach, an online presence with blog and podcast, and now the vice president of an NGO, Wells of Life. None of those emerged by means of a long-range plan, but instead by what felt like happenstance. The dots could never have been connected before the events, although they easily connected afterward. One event led directly to the next, in spite of my inept forecasting.
There is a saying in the Book of Proverbs, “The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” It requires trust that something worthy will appear before me and then I have a choice whether nor not to pursue it.
The One Thing You Can Plan For
As a life planner I have come to believe that I really can plan on only one thing. The one thing I can plan is my character and internal attributes; kindness, care, integrity, and faith in something greater than myself. And what remains with my physical jobs or duties is where the art of trusting comes into play.
Quoting Steve Jobs again, “This approach [trust] has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” It also makes for a most exciting life, because there is no way I could ever have come up with my activities that have made up my life—a life worth living. Life is one surprise after another, intermingled with everyday consistency of acceptance and love.
And so I wonder: How has trust in something bigger than yourself impacted your life? Please write me in the comments section and let me know. I am most curious.
NOTE: You may want to listen to a podcast on this subject with Taryn Voget titled “Let Go and Trust Life.”
The Future Consists of Trusting
Something Will Come Next
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