connecting the dots.

26 Aug

part of growing up is realizing that we have an uncharted path waiting ahead of us. for those of us lucky enough to have this freedom, we have infinite options for the direction that we can choose to take our life. we spend a vast majority of our first quarter-century learning, being guided by teachers and parents, ushered from one focused learning environment to the next until we come to the final phase of university.

and then what?

of course the guidance doesn’t end, and instead of teachers we find mentors in our wise coworkers, in relationships, and through the life-long experiences of our parents (who we now listen to!).  but still, the well-worn path which we’ve traveled for so long has ended.

this realization can be unsettling at the least. but it needn’t be that. as we travel down a new road–one less developed, less explored, and maybe a bit rocky at times, we find that navigating our twenties & young adulthood might not always be a cakewalk. but it is an adventure. an adventure we are lucky to have.

a dear friend recently sent me a commencement address delivered by steve jobs which focuses on exactly this topic.  jobs shares extremely relevant,  eloquent, and honest advice derived from his own life experiences.

below are my favorite snippets, but i suggest reading the entire address.

           on not trying to anticipate how the future is supposed to look:

…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.

on learning to turn our failures into a new beginning:

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

on never settling:

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

on death as a change agent for truly living life:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

incredible advice from an extraordinary man. i hope you enjoyed his words as much as i did. 

4 Responses to “connecting the dots.”

  1. Catherine August 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Wow. What a great post, Eileen. “Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”

    • leaner by the lake August 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

      great quote!!!! thanks for sharing…and for reading. its wonderful to keep in contact with you through this :)

  2. mishapsandadventures September 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Love this post! And I love that you are trying new ventures. Not sure how long you are in London or on to other places but can’t wait to see more of what you experience while you are there. I was working at a record label years ago that downsized and I was let go. I had some of the same feelings you posted and frustrations of why I wasted so much of my spare time for that company. So instead of keeping the pitty party going too long, I packed my things and headed to travel for the summer. Some days were lonely but I am beyond thankful I took on the adventure and have many great memories to share from it.

    • leaner by the lake September 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      thank you so much for reading! i’m in london for 3 weeks–actually on business. i’m finally in the right spot with all my work stuff and i’m getting to work on some really neat stuff while i’m here. it’s been a whirlwind thus far! this weekend i’m planning to take lots more picture and venture to some museums and markets. like you say, sometimes i get lonely but other times the peace of being alone and with my own thoughts is really rewarding. i’m much more in tune with my own thoughts and feelings. appreciate you sharing your story. sounds like you’re happy now, which is what matters in the long run.
      have a great day!!

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