Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, once said “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.” This is one of the easiest quotes to understand, but one of the hardest to actually accomplish. Learning to trust yourself and the way the universe works is a very big secret to an amazing life. Knowing this will help your life immensely can be easy to grasp intellectually, but very tricky to act on emotionally. The fact that it can be extremely difficult does not make it any less true.
Another more relatable example can be found in a country song by the artist Garth Brooks. In this song a young man has a crush on a particular girl. He prays every night that the girl will fall in love with him and they will live happily ever after. She doesn’t. Sounds like a typical country song so far, right? What happens in a later verse I always enjoyed. He ends up falling in love with another woman and they have a wonderful family. He and his wife run into this crush he had so many years ago. He looks at her and realizes that she is not everything he imagined when he was young. He then looks over at his wife and realizes the amazing woman he would have missed out on had he been granted his wish of having the first lady fall in love with him. He is then very thankful for his seemingly “Unanswered prayer”.
Giving yourself over to the flow of life while maintaining a positive attitude will go a long way to creating a positive life. The secret is discovering how to do this. One way is to imagine how we may benefit from or be able to use the challenge we are currently facing. Didn’t get that job that we just know would have made our lives so much better? Perhaps there is an even better opportunity just ahead that we would have missed if we were comfortably engaged in the employment of the afore mentioned job. I recall a lot of jobs, events and circumstances that I wish would have went differently. I often wish I still had my radio program. I wish I would have moved to a warmer climate. Still, I look at my life now and think of what I would have missed had that happened. I would not be with the amazing and beautiful lady who wrote the forward to my latest book, Living the Dream. I would not have met some of the wonderful people I have from bartending, DJing and working at the post office. That is not to say if I were offered a six-figure radio gig in San Diego that Margie and I may not be looking for moving companies, but that is for another day.
To some of you this may sound like a lot of positive Pollyanna, but it is actually a great secret to an amazing life. Trusting that the dots will somehow connect looking backwards will keep us from getting down with the obstacles we are currently facing. The everything happens for a reason mentality can go a long way in reducing our stress. One of the ways that I put this to work is to ponder what reason that may be. If I am faced with a great challenge or seeming setback in my life I sit down and literally say something like this to myself; “I know everything happens for a reason, but what the hell reason can this be?” Not only do a shake my head and have a little chuckle at the expense of myself and the challenge that I am currently in, but my brain begins to consider possible answers to that question.
Here is a little inside secret. When we ask our mind a question, our subconscious mind will not rest until it comes up with an answer. It is our job to ask the question in such a way as to come up with a positive answer. Instead of the usual “Why me?” which our mind could come up with many not so inspiring answers to, try wording it more positively. “I know everything happens for a reason. What possible positive reason could this challenge be happening for?” or simply, “How are these dots going to connect in a positive way for me in the future?” Even if your first answer is “I have no idea in hell how they will connect, but I know they will.” That is a great first step. Begin practicing this with the next challenge you face and know that your life will begin to change for the better. We may never know why something may have occurred, but our subconscious minds will continue to work in the background searching for positive explanations. Fostering this trust in our lives and the purpose of the universe will reduce our stress and help us lead a more amazing life.