Connecting the Dots

In his 2005 Commencement address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs (1955-2011), co-founder of Apple Inc., made this statement:

“If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later.”

Steve Jobs understood that we recognize purpose best in hindsight. Certain experiences become meaningful only as the future unfolds. With the passage of time, at least partial answers to the “why” questions regarding painful life circumstances can emerge.

Consider an athlete like Bethany Hamilton, a surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack. She inspires others today because she first overcame hardship in her own life. Her pain became her platform for ministry.

Of course, not all pain we experience may be as dramatic as a shark attack. Sometimes pain comes through lost relationships or career setbacks. Only with time do you learn how your loss altered the course of your life. Years later, you may find that your geographical location, your present employment, and the birth of your children all exist as they are because your life was redirected through a loss. Everything you love about the present may have come into your life through an unwelcomed ending long ago.

The English romantic painter, John Constable (1776-1837), who is known for his beautiful landscape paintings, once remarked,

“I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, – light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful.”

In many ways, your life is like a painting. When you look at your life from the right perspective, you find beauty. Each experience, both joyous and burdensome, creates a portrait of a life with purpose.

Questions to ponder: Do you believe that your present setback could become a future asset? When you connect the dots in your life, do you see mere coincidences or a greater purpose?

Key Concepts to Tweet

  • Certain experiences become meaningful only as the future unfolds.  Buffer
  • When you look at your life from the right perspective, you find beauty.  Buffer

Finding Answers Together


Near the end of a typical Harvard commencement ceremony, the University President confers degrees on the candidates from the various schools. Doctoral candidates belonging to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are welcomed “to the ancient and universal company of scholars,” a traditional phrase that accurately describes the life of an academic researcher. The University President admits the seniors of the undergraduate class to “the fellowship of educated men and women.” The ceremony concludes with bells ringing from church towers across Cambridge, with at least fourteen churches participating.


The Harvard Commencement ceremony recognizes that good scholarship happens in a community. The research of today links with the work of the brilliant minds of the past. This process connects with Christian thinking expressed in the Bible in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” The community of scholars refines and corrects the thinking of any one researcher.


By asking questions of other scholars and learning from each other, researchers advance knowledge. Perhaps the scientific community offers a good model for those embarking on a journey of faith, seeking answers to the questions that science does not answer.


We do better in life when we join together with others. We make better scientific progress working together than we ever could accomplish alone. I believe that we also experience enhanced personal growth when we connect with others to find meaning in life and to seek ways to make a positive impact on our world.


My hope is that this blog community will become a place where we can find answers together, accomplishing more than we ever would on our own.



Key Concepts to Tweet

  • The research of today links with the work of the brilliant minds of the past.  Buffer
  • The process of discovery rarely happens in isolation.  Buffer
  • We do better in life when we join together with others.  Buffer
Discovery Purpose

The Power of a Good Question

I believe in the power of a good question. Questions promote discovery. Every scientific experiment starts with a question that leads to a hypothesis.

Why is the sky blue?

What causes uncontrolled growth in tumor cells?

How do plants convert sunlight into energy?

In life, questions can clarify your goals and sharpen your sense of purpose.

What do I do well?

How can I live life to the fullest?

Who matters the most to me?

Questions also reveal truth and cut through unnecessary complexity.

Do you love me?

Why wasn’t I invited?

What happened to all the cookies?

This new blog, Question Your Doubts, is all about asking questions. Questions to promote discovery. Questions to clarify your life goals. Questions to ignite a sense of purpose. Questions to reveal truth. Questions to strength your faith, your confidence, and your relationships. Thanks for visiting!