Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Success, Failure and "Connecting the Dots"

by Janet M. Shlaes

Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address is as relevant today as it was in 2005 and his essential wisdom will remain relevant for decades to come. Through the telling of three stories from various points in his life, Steve “connects the dots” in his life for us, demonstrating how we derive meaning from our various life events looking backward; we are rarely able to "connect the dots" in a meaningful manner in the present or via speculating about an unknowable future.
Each of us possess countless stories about our life events, some we consider huge successes and some we might label as failures. In the moment, what we experience as a failure often shifts in meaning via the passage of time and embracing a “connecting the dots” backward perspective. Personally, many situations that I labeled as failures in present-time, ultimately led to some of my greatest successes.
Both perspective and meaning profoundly shift over time. As we learn to trust that things will ultimately work out, something shifts in us that enables a sense of peace and confidence to be released - an internal paradigm shift, so to speak. Steve emphasized the importance of trust, following our curiosity and passion, and identifying and focusing on what we love to do. When we give ourselves permission to trust and follow what we are magnetically drawn to do, the soil of failure often provides the requisite nourishment for our next success.

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