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. - Steve Jobs
After a high-energy, frantic pace over the last couple of months (apologies to those who enjoy my musings, I’ve been light in content these days), I found myself reflecting on the nature of the “dots” in our Life - the significant events in our Lives that shape who we are, the results we produce and the legacy that we leave behind.
Many who strive for success believe that those who have found it have followed a Life journey that looks like this:
Others will tell you that the journey looks more like this:
In truth the journey theoretically looks more like the following, where the dots in our Lives and the dots of the Lives of others overlap for a duration that varies from brief to a Lifetime, with the overlap changing each person’s Life in known or unknown ways in regards to scale, duration and results:
In reality, the Life journey looks more like the following, with the “dots” of many people overlapping ours, enhancing or impeding our Lives as other people collaborate or interfere with us:
So what are the odds of two dots connecting?
I sat down the other day with someone and calculated, based on their Life experiences and mine, factoring in significant Life events such as surviving life-threatening illnesses, serious accidents and the like, that the odds of both of us surviving long enough to meet each other and being in the same place at the same moment to actually meet each other were approximately 1 in 38,500,000.
When I reflected upon that statistic, I compared the result to these observations:
- I need to buy more Canadian lottery tickets, with the odds of winning the big prize being approximately 1 in 14,000,000.
- I need to stay indoors during thunderstorms as the odds of being struck by lightning in a lifetime is only 1 in 3,000.
I could say that I need to stay away from airplanes, with the odds of dying in a plane crash being 1 in 11,000,000 but I have survived 4 airplane incidents in my lifetime so I will ignore that statistic.
The Bottom Line
While not every connection has the outrageous odds against that I calculated above, if the odds are slim that you will come into someone else’s Life (or that they will come into yours), I would think that such reality places an extremely high value on the coalescing of two people’s “dots” whether the “dots” overlap for a moment or for a Lifetime, since the result potential, good or bad, is not likely to be produced in exactly that form ever again.
If the potential for a unique lesson or result is that rare, I would think that such rare odds of meeting should serve as a reminder to each of us that each interaction has unlimited potential in value if we are open to seeing it, embracing it and exploring it.
And finally, I think if you have lost sight of the value of a relationship, you should dust off your old high school mathematics textbook and recalculate the odds that the relationship exists and having done so, rethink what this means in your Life.
What do you think?
In service and servanthood,
PS For those who prefer my very serious strategy, biz, Poli Sci and #1206 musings, I will return to them soon. You’re not forgotten.