connecting the dots
In 2008 Louis CK did an interview where he explained his transition from being a bad comedian to having his entertainment success with his own sitcom, and touring internationally. There were a few contributing factors, like having children and thus having money making purpose. But what stuck with me is how he said “just do something.” Instead of just waiting around for his big break, that he was convinced he had already ‘earned’ and was entitled to him, he started making tangible changes to achieve his comedic dreams.
We are a generation of true passion finders, discover-ers, and seekers (What I like to call, the twenty-something tumbleweed). We wish to self actualize at 24. An admirable and purposeful mission, however it leaves a lot of us lost for a good part of out twenties and possibly thirties . And once you start the journey, it’s hard to stop.
It could be nice if we were born knowing what direction our life would take. But we’re not. And we can’t just cross our fingers and hope that tomorrow we’ll wake up knowing. So I’m of the thought, just like the wise Louis CK says (how often do you hear that?), just do something.
Start somewhere. Make small steps, in one direction. Rather than blindly standing still.
Keep listening to your gut, because your head is likely tugging you a million different directions. Yes – No – Maybe So.
You likely have an idea, a very teeny tiny inkling of an idea, of where to start. Listen to that and be drawn to it. Take that first step and devote your time and energy to it. And of course, the hardest part, be patient. Because it wont make sense now.
It’s always in hindsight that we are able to connect the dots. Oh, I took this job which introduced me to this topic, which landed me this other job, which changed this opinion, which allowed me to write that book, create that app and change the world. Or something like that. But it all started with something, that connected into everything.
Any great leader, entrepreneur, or artist, has a constellation of connections that couldn’t have been predicted. J.K. Rowling is one of the most successful authors of our time. Though, she wasn’t always this way. As a single mother, below the poverty line, she didn’t snap her fingers and become a best selling author. Nor did she predict she would be. Those titles were earned and connected along the way. And they can only be connected looking back. J.K.Rowling was stuck on a train for 4 hours, when she thought of the idea of a boy going to a wizardry school. It wasn’t until 7 years later, and through the inspiration of her life’s experiences, that her final draft was printed. And years later that she became a producer. It reads as a connected narrative now, but at the time it was just something.
When you sit in a job interview, whether you are the interviewer or interviewee, you’ll notice that everyone is able to tell their work and life experience the same way; in an eloquent series of steps. Even though we know our life wasn’t like that. We create a linear story that takes us from school, to job A, to city, to job B, to wherever. Looking back these choices all make sense and led us to new opportunities, new people, new ideas, new dots. But it’s because we did something. Probably not the best or ideal something. But we experienced something, and that led us to the next dot in our not so linear life.
But ask any of these people, honestly, where they will be in the future? They won’t have an eloquent or accurate series of steps to lay out before you. Most of these twenty-something passion seekers, really won’t know. They can’t possibly know. Because until the day we leave this lovely earth, and maybe there after, the dots will continue to connect.
And the beautiful thing is, what you set out to do, and where you end up, will be different. It will connect. But it’ll still be different.
As for those outliers, the life-changers, those that haven’t quite connected. They will too, in hindsight.