Space to connect the dots

There are so many guides. A framework for everything. HOW TO DO LIFE and BE SUCCESSFUL HAPPY AND ALL THE THINGS, in 10 easy steps. Quick and easy! 

If only it was that simple. Looking at my life from a perspective of Sanna 20 years-old, I’m more successful than I could have hoped for, albeit in another way. I could give you a recipe for how I got here. I can backtrack and organize it into a neat story. Tweetable and all. If you just do this and that, then you can also reach your goals.

It rarely works. Because life is forever messier than we can conceive when we’re entering the world of adulthood. One day you think you have it figured out, the next your girlfriend breaks up with you and all your plans fall apart. Your book reaches the best-seller list, you find out you have a brain tumor. You get everything you dreamed of, and you realize this was not at all what you wanted. There is no escape from uncertainty. Trying to avoid it makes for a boring life, and even then it’ll find you. 

The most useful skill I’ve cultivated is the ability to roll with the punches. I think most successful people have this. One door closes, I sit in chock for a minute, then I get up and find another one. When I was fired from a job once, I started reaching out to my contacts ten minutes later. It’s about constantly learning from what happens and try other ways. Pay attention. Notice what goes on around you. 

Things will happen, but they always happen for a reason. No, I’m not talking mystical driving forces of the universe (please). I’m talking about finding your own reasons. Use a scientific mindset. If you get fired, what can you learn? What happened, leading up to that event? What can you do next time to avoid the same situation? Or, maybe this was not the right job for you, because it would not make sense for you to act differently? You’re not likely to find all the answers, but reflecting on it will help you acquire some useful insights in that brain of yours.

That, and not a new bullet point article, will help you get somewhere. 

I think many of us need more solitude. Meditation helps, but creating more space in your life for reflection will support the internal work you need to do, that’s how you connect the dots. See what got you to this point and where you want to go next. We all have our unique paths. And while we can learn from others stories, we need to work on our own. It can be as easy as taking regular walks, without listening to a podcast. Try airplane mode every once in a while. Go completely offline for a weekend. 

It doesn't matter how, but strive for a state of mind where you're inspired by your own thoughts. It will pay off.