Connecting The Dots

The days between X‑Mas and New Year’s Eve are some­what spe­cial for me: for­mal­ly, I decide not to work, and most part of the day that’s true. But since I have been an entre­pre­neur all my life, there’s no dis­tinct line between busi­ness and non-business, these days pro­vide the time for reflec­tions — how was the past year? — and for thoughts about goals and instru­ments for the approach­ing next year. 

Most­ly, a few hours strolling around a lake (what a great expe­ri­ence at Lake Starn­berg today — just look at the fea­tured image) are enough to get things straight in my mind, be it busi­ness relat­ed or pri­vate stuff. While some of my friends and peers come up with per­son­al ‘themes’ that pro­vide the frame­work and guid­ance for their activ­i­ties in the new year — here a nice exam­ple by Maria Sipka — some time ago I chose a dif­fer­ent strat­e­gy for myself: I try to con­nect the dots.

Per­haps ‘strat­e­gy’ is not the appro­pri­ate term, it has rather become a way of life for me. Inspired by some great philo­soph­i­cal and spir­i­tu­al minds, I start­ed to look out for sit­u­a­tions, events, peo­ple and feel­ings that some­how fit togeth­er. With fit­ting togeth­er I mean a cer­tain con­nec­tion between these oth­er­wise com­plete­ly inde­pen­dent ele­ments of my envi­ron­ment. Some­times, this con­nec­tion lis laid out quite clear­ly, some­times I need some more time to see it. When look­ing out for these con­nec­tions I’m aware of the very human con­fir­ma­tion bias; i.e. con­nect­ed ele­ments do not nec­es­sar­i­ly rep­re­sent desired out­comes. It’s more about per­ceiv­ing cor­re­la­tions, if you want the data per­spec­tive.

From strat­e­gy to con­nect­ed dots
When I start­ed to look for dots to be con­nect­ed my goal was to use that for my per­son­al life. How amazed I was when I real­ized that this also works in busi­ness. Instead of pon­der­ing on busi­ness strate­gies and mod­els, the answers to ques­tions such as: How to define this busi­ness ver­ti­cal or build this prod­uct?, Wth whom to part­ner? or How to frame this pro­pos­al? come quite nat­u­ral­ly by being aware of the envi­ron­ment and doing what seems to make the most sense in a given sit­u­a­tion. Some­times, these answers don’t appear on the spot, e.g. in a meet­ing. Then, it’s a good idea not to decide on that topic but let it go and switch to a dif­fer­ent topic and to move this ques­tion to the next day or week. Often, the need­ed infor­ma­tion or answers come up short­ly after­wards, in sit­u­a­tions total­ly unre­lat­ed to the orig­i­nal topic, such as lying in bed, show­er­ing or run­ning in the for­est.

As easy or almost magic all this might sound, there’s a catch. You, or at least I myself, won’t see dots to be con­nect­ed with­out being intense­ly con­nect­ed to my envi­ron­ment and being mind­ful, respec­tive­ly. I know that for sure since I have tried it out. In times I tried to do the trick with being lazy and wait­ing for things to hap­pen, noth­ing hap­pened. Or, in other words, I was­n’t able to see any dots I could con­nect. On the other hand, as soon I focus on each moment, get­ting the most of each sit­u­a­tion and add what­ev­er I can to the sit­u­a­tion, the dots appear again. Being mind­ful some­times does­n’t come easy — there are sit­u­a­tions when body and soul just want to go the easy way. But, lit­tle is more reward­ing than real­iz­ing the rewards of being atten­tive and sen­si­tive.

The funny aspect of con­nect­ing the dots is this: nobody will believe you that you might base all of your busi­ness (or pri­vate) deci­sions on that kind of seem­ing­ly eso­teric stuff such as wait­ing for things to hap­pen. Most peo­ple wu=ill assume that you use other strate­gies or tech­niques since they them­selves would never trust in an intu­itive behav­ior like that. But that does­n’t mat­ter at all. If you con­nect the dots you will feel the eas­i­ness of that way of life and you won’t loose it again. That’s at least what hap­pened to me. For me, there’s no other theme for 2017 than to con­nect the dots.

One Reply to “Connecting The Dots”

  1. […] is a per­fect (math­e­mat­i­cal) descrip­tion of my per­son­al world­view that I lime to describe with ‘Con­nect­ing The Dots’: for me, human beings aren’t inven­tors, but rather dis­cov­er­ers. We don’t invent things, but […]

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