How to Confidently Connect The Dots For Any Life Situation

How to Confidently Connect The Dots For Any Life Situation

Someone put a trolley and a suitcase together and got a suitcase with wheels.

Connecting the dots can be one of the best leverages you can build in any area of life, work or play today.

The problem is you can’t connect the dots looking forward.

You can do that only in hindsight. Till then, you are just winging it hoping things somehow connect in the future.

How does that help?

You can’t just look into your history. You have to find the patterns that’ll define what you do next.

Finding those patterns is connecting the dots.

If you study what got you here today, it will help you chart your future.

Here are three simple skills you can adopt to help you.

Reverse Engineer

Pick something apart.

The best way to see how things are connected is to start at the end and travel backwards from there.

I did that with how my life had shaped up a few years ago. This action significantly changed my future.

In 2018, I was tied to a job, happy to get monthly payments and see a tiny increase in salary every year.

I travelled for a month in the Caucasus, giving in to my curiosity and roaming the cities on foot. Once I was back, I knew what I was missing. Planning my job exit in the next six months became a priority.

Today I love being independent of a location or a salary. This future was unimaginable back then.

It was scary, but I built a life around what I loved to do. What gave me the confidence to take the leap?

It came from my past.

In college, I chose humanities when enrolling to study the formal sciences was a popular option.

A humanities education boosted my curiosity, built an appreciation of diversity and developed my skill as an observer. It helped me confidently connect the dots.

All the subjects were so interconnected — economics with politics with psychology. The overlaps and connections were endless, and we were encouraged to make them.

I knew I could make a career out of this skill as a researcher, writer, editor, traveller or travel planner.

Go for it, I told myself.

When you reach a stage in your life, look back and see what got you there, it is invariably a series of dots that you connected to make it happen.

Make Interactions Diverse

Last year I suffered a personal blow to my dream project — to take over and operate a loss-making gym business. For the longest time, I felt stupid about trusting the wrong person. A person I called a friend for 11 years scammed me.

I went into a shell, ashamed to be seen as a failure. How did I let it come to this? What dots did I fail to connect?

Seventeen months later, I was done wallowing and wanted to find other opportunities to build on.

I stopped looking to the future for answers and turned to my past instead.

As a reader, I always enjoyed reading across genres, letting curiosity lead me to my next book.

I transferred the same to social interactions.

Asking questions on the internet attracts opportunities into your life you never knew. It lets you meet new people who can be anyone — strugglers, millionaires, artists, writers or entrepreneurs.

Everyone has a story I was eager to learn about. Any one of them could change the trajectory of my life with new ideas and prospects.

Soon enough, I landed a gig to write a grant application for an NGO. It made me feel useful again.

A pattern of connected dots emerged when I see it now. The more connections I made, the more ideas flowed.

It encouraged me to trust people again, and today I have built three different businesses. If I had not moved on, I would have been stuck with building a gym with a toxic person.

We all encounter transitions in our lives when we struggle to make sense of the dots of our past.

There comes a point when we need to decide. Do I remain in disarray, or can I arrange the dots into some semblance of order?

Only we can write the next chapter in our story to move forward.

Write Stories

I am a more patient writer today but wasn’t one for a long time. As a student, I made my point tersely rather than elaborately. I was impatient to get my thoughts down and be done with it.

In recent years, I started writing stories from imagination to build my writing skills and patience. A story requires you to develop the characters, plan the action, build the characters and arrive at an end. 

It is a drawn-out process. 

When you start, you probably won’t have an outline, only a vague idea.

Your characters are a reflection of you in some way, when they learn, you learn. Writing a story forces, you to connect the dots better or risk losing your reader.

Stories work as a double skill engine — they makes you better at your craft and let you explore your imagination unfettered. 

To finish a tale, you must connect unrelated ideas without structure or form to create a plot. Until then, it remains a draft.

Every time you go back to it you are able to link the narrative better. Your mind has sifted through hundreds of possible connections, scenarios and outcomes.

You may not choose to publish your story, but give it a try. You may end up surprising yourself.


Imagine yourself as a vast constellation of ideas, thoughts, experiences and knowledge. 

Connecting the dots involves the ability to draw meaningful lines between them, get insights, and form solutions that might not be immediately apparent.

The dots in our story represent the values we’ve built over time. They are a part of our decisions, bound together with events we can no longer change.

But they can change our future, lest we wander and suffer.

When you come to a point where the next seems hazy, and your mind holds you back with guilt or regret of the past, find the lessons that your value network has preserved.

Then take the leap.

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