Chances are you’ve seen this Stanford address by Steve Jobs. It’s attracted over 3 million views. I was just alerted to a bit in it where he talks about a philosophy he has for life turning out. For how his life turned out.
Jobs dropped out of uni after six months, but hung around campus, bummed about, ate Hare Krishna food. But he’d listen in on a calligraphy class…because it looked beautiful and interesting. Which, I think, is classic scanner (as per yesterday’s post) behaviour. He learned about the different fonts – serif and san serif (as per yesterday’s post, I, too, am obsessed by typography, among other things).
“If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, “ Jobs explained, “the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionately spaced ones. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”
And this is his philosophy,
“Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, 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.”
Which could be seen as cheap spiritual-speak. But it’s not. It’s how it works. I often get asked how I got to be editor of Cosmo or host of MasterChef of whatever. I can trace back and connect dots. But at the time, I didn’t see the dots.