“Again, 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 (see video)
Where would you ideally like to be right now? Once you know this you can make plans and act to close the gap between where you are and where you’d like to be. Or so we believe. But as Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”
It is sort of a universal axiom that our future is created by what we do in the now. But, nevertheless, it’s apparent that our current decisions are based on what we want and expect our future to be. So what happens when something unexpected “punches us in the mouth”, or when one of those “dots” in life take us of track?
I’ve always loved the word serendipity, it’s a beautiful sounding word that even makes bad luck sound good. Both the “punch in the month” and the “dots” in life are serendipitous. However, who can understand or can take advantage of serendipity? To do so an individual would have to be perceptive enough and imaginative enough to see and recognize the patterns that link together seemingly innocuous happenings in life, and to do that one would have to be capable of extraordinary mental processes.
I think as Steve Jobs put it, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking back” and it seems to me that 2012 was all about looking back.
So if it has been a tough and confusing year for you with many starts, stops, restarts, or non-starts, as well as many ups, downs and disappointments, this little Taoist tale can give you some much need perspective.
There was an old man with a small farm in China many years ago. He had one son, who did most of the work on the farm and a a neighbor, himself old with a son.
One day the old man’s horse ran off, and the neighbor, seeing this, said, “how terrible, your horse has run off, now work on your farm will be so difficult.” To this the old man replied, “maybe good, maybe bad, we’ll see.”
The next day the old man’s horse returned leading a group of wild horses, and the neighbor, seeing this, said, “how wonderful! You have many horses, now you have great wealth and may live easily.” To this the old man replied, “maybe good, maybe bad, we’ll see.”
The next day the old man’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg, and the neighbor, seeing this, said, “how terrible, your son has broken his leg, now your work will be doubled as nurse and farmer.” To this the old man replied, “maybe good, maybe bad, we’ll see.”
The next day the king’s men came to the farms seeking all able men to fight a distant battle, and the neighbor, sobbing as his son marched off, said “how fortunate you are for having an injured son, mine will surely perish.” To this the old man replied, “maybe good, maybe bad, we’ll see.”
Good or bad just depends upon the perspective of time. What we think of as bad today may turn to good tomorrow. And today’s good fortune might become tomorrow’s misery. Only time will tell.
Everyone’s life have been affected by the tumultuous happenings of 2012. Some experienced this very personally, others simply because they are living in a time of worldwide turmoil. But no matter what…given time we’ll be able to look back and connect the dots.