The secret behind Steve Jobs’ connecting the dots

You might have heard Steve Jobs’ connecting the dots speech in 2005. If you have, did you ever use the concept to come up with new ideas or solutions? Connecting the dots is the concept behind Steve’s successful innovations. It is intriguing to find out what it really means.

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. 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

How does “connecting the dots” work in practice? The not-so-good news is in order to successfully connect the dots, it requires a lot of works in a learning and self-improvement process. You have to acquire new knowledge all the time. More often than not, you might not know what to do with the knowledge you acquire. However, you still accumulate knowledge (dots), like saving money in a bank account.

Steve Jobs do not settle

In doing so, you are creating dots everywhere in your brain. When you encounter a problem – business or personal – you will start finding a solution. When you set a focus to solve a problem, the connection of the relevant dots in your brain starts to work. It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle. Only one piece of information could connect all the dots and give you the solution you want.

I used to search for a new promotion idea many months ago. I ran out of ideas at the time. Until I watch an unrelated TedTalk video in the morning, I heard one keyword that helped me connect all the dots. It helped me come up with a new promotion later that day.

The good and the bad news is there is no short cut in successfully connecting the dots. Consistently acquiring new knowledge requires great discipline. You have to build it as a part of your daily habits. You can start by setting up a goal to, for example, learn something new every day. You can start today.


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