Dots, not dashes

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.

Steve Jobs

When things around us seem deeply uncertain, and none of us understands what happens next, our best option is to become a dot.

A dot is a perspective, an opinion, an insight or an idea, grounded in generosity, freely shared without expecting a result—a piece of a jigsaw when we cannot see the picture on the lid.

Each of us sees the world differently, right down to the level of reading this. We have a choice; we can believe we are right and put everybody else straight, or we can contribute our view to a collective pot and together try to make sense of it.

This option is a challenge. We have created a society that prioritises easy answers over difficult questions and difficult questions over quiet observation. Providing answers, whether or not they are helpful, feeds our ego. Questions can be used aggressively to dominate, or reflectively to support. The difference is huge.

Observation is a solo activity, but by far the most important. Observation determines the nature of the questions we ask, and the questions we ask are the path to the answers that matter.

The noise of everyday life makes quiet observation difficult. People around us demand efficiency, action and results and the idea of just watching what is going on and considering it can be heresy. Observation is an act of of courage

I read somewhere during the last week that the opposite of courage is not cowardice; it’s compliance. That rings true. Compliance is an easy out – it makes mistakes someone else’s problem, not ours. Not speaking up is an act of cowardice. Harsh, but true in an age when stories manufactured to weaken or position us confront us daily.

We have a choice. We can be a dash, carry on complying, and put the responsibility for our actions, whether that is where we congregate or travel to, elsewhere. Or we can look to become a dot – an generous opinion, view, or activity that, when we look back, made connecting to us worthwhile.

Choose dot. Be worth connecting to.

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