In Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, he stated:
“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 that something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever–because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.”
It’s true, that will make all the difference.
Looking back on my life, I’m able to connect the dots. A decision to participate in an exchange program in Hawai’i altered the course of my life. After that, Hawaii was in my blood; I went back to New York, but I couldn’t shake it. I turned down a tenure-track position in a high school on Long Island to take a substantial pay cut and move 6,000 miles away from my friends and family. Logic certainly didn’t fuel that decision, intuition did.
We teach our children facts and convey knowledge to them, but do we teach them how to look inwardly and trust their gut? I’m forever grateful to my American Literature professor at University of Maryland for introducing me to Thoreau. Walden changed my life.
“I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves.”
It was these words that incited my unorthodox choices. It was these words that I fell back on when logic clouded my judgement. And when I think back to all of the life-changing educational experiences I’ve had in school, I could probably count them on my fingers, and I was in school for over 18 years. Are those impressive stats?
Does our educational system encourage our students to develop and trust their sense of intuition? Do we spur them on to discover and follow their passions? Most importantly, do we leave them with impressionable educational moments that will influence their paths in life? We need to galvanize students to make sense of their stories and string together their experiences into meaningful constellations.
After all, how different would our world be if Steve Jobs didn’t trust his intuition? How different would your life be if you didn’t trust yours?
Watch Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech here.
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