pencil-connecting-the-dots-1141430In 2006 in his commencement speech to the Stanford graduates, Steve Jobs reflected on his life as an adopted child, and how it related to his going to college and ultimately dropping out.  It was really an intriguing reflection on how after dropping out of school, he had the ability to “drop back in,” and take the classes that he found intriguing, since he was no longer forced to take courses that were tied to his major.

During that time, he decided to take a course in calligraphy.  This would obviously have no future benefit to him in any way, he surmised, but he loved the beauty of the letters, and his college actually was known for having calligraphy as the writing style for most of the signage around the campus.  Steve learned about different styles of writing, Sans Serif, spacing between letters and how that could emphasize what the letters were conveying, and the underlying bonus was that he loved what he was learning.

Jumping ahead to 1984 and the release of the Macintosh, one of the greatest factors that separated the Mac from all the other machines that were out there, was it’s use of beautiful fonts and scripts, that had never been available in computers before.  It inspired people’s imaginations, and the entire world of personal computing was changed in an instant.

When Steve was taking those calligraphy courses at Reed, he couldn’t imagine what purpose they could serve for him in the future, but looking back, the benefits were crystal clear.  Sometimes we try and see what our actions can do for us in the future, but it’s never as clear as looking back. Steve called this, “connecting the dots,” and addressed the fact that if you do the things you love and are passionate about, you’ll always be able to reflect in the future on the things that you did in the past, that got you to where you are today.

In sales, even if you have amazing vision, it’s sometimes difficult to see that our efforts today can lead to something even greater than we dreamed.  The reward is that if we do the things we love, and tie that into working in the way that we know we must, we’ll be able to reflect back and know that all the effort was worth it.  Steve Jobs didn’t have an easy time of it.  He was fired from the company he created, had failures with some of the products he was most passionate about, but kept the course and achieved a greatness beyond his time on earth. He pursued what he loved, and he connected the dots.