Steve Jobs: Connect The Dots

Steve Jobs: Connect The Dots

This image, originally posted to Flickr, was reviewed on 11 October 2008 by the administrator or reviewer MBisanz, who confirmed that it was available on Flickr under the stated license on that date. Wikipedia Commons.

What are your words of wisdom? What do you place at the foot of your email, after your signature?

I hadn’t found words that resonated until I received Robert Rasmussen’s regular email to his certified Facilitators in LEGO Serious Play. It was about Steve Jobs’ Connect the Dots speech.

Aside: For those of you under a certain age, Steve Jobs was an American inventor, designer and entrepreneur. He was the co-founder, chief executive and chairman of Apple computer.

The speech was given to Stanford University’s graduating class of 2005. You can find the whole text of the speech here. I’ll extract references as I need. Here are the key words for this post.

“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. “

The speech shares three stories of his past:


Steve Jobs never graduated from college. He started at Reed College, but after a semester, realized how much it was costing his parents (who could little afford it). He continued on, sitting in on classes that interested him.

“Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating. “

He continued to share that this enabled him, 10 years later, to design beautiful typography into the Macintosh computer.

There’s another story in the same speech where Steve Jobs connects the dots.


Steve Jobs started Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak along with co-founder Ronald Wayne. (more about Ronald Wayne in another post).

When you run a public company, you are subject to the rulings of the board, and Steve Jobs and Apple’s Board of Directors found themselves on opposite sides. He was only 30, and the company he had started no longer wanted his involvement in its leadership.

Not having Apple to tend to, however, gave him the opportunity to start something new.

He said ” The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. “

He started companies NeXT and Pixar.

NeXT was eventually purchased by Apple Computers and Steve Jobs returned to Apple in an advisory role. NeXT’s operating system was leveraged to yield the macOS, later “adapted into the embedded multimedia platforms of iOS, watchOS and tvOS – the basis of iPhone and iPad.”

Steve connected the dots again ” I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. “


Steve describes the words of wisdom he found when he was 17.

“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”

Every morning he asked himself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

If the answer was no for too long, change was needed. Much of the speech was devoted to his experiences with cancer, which eventually overcame him.

He advises “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

These words of wisdom resonate with me. I am happy to share them with you.