Can You Connect The Dots?

I was speaking with Allen Price, Risk Management Executive, the other day and he shared one of his secrets to success.  He says that early in his career he learned the importance of being able to connect the dots.

I spent some time pondering exactly what that meant, not only in its stated context but also how it could apply to me.

I surmised the following…

There are certain people who think on the surface.  They see things exactly as they are, no more and no less.  They don’t spend time trying to figure out what something means or digging deeper into an issue.  It is what it is.

There are others constantly searching for meaning.  They want to know how this relates to that and they are not afraid to come up with their own conclusions rather than being force fed popular opinion.

This line of thinking led me to a few of my own success secrets…

  • Politics… if you really want to know what is going with public and economic policy, you have to be able to connect the dots.  Every decision being made is because of something else.  There are no independent actions or events in politics.  Although something may seem simple on the surface, there are other events driving the end results.  Often the media only pubicizes the end results without taking the time to dig into the story to figure out why a thing happened.
  • Relationships… You have to be able to connect the dots between how a person grew up and their dating habits before they met you.  I am sure there are plenty of incidents of a person not behaving within those patterns but I assure you they are few and far between.  Most humans are creatures of habit and no matter how unique and different we try to be, we can be predictable within our individually identified patterns.  I always say, “don’t expect a person to be anyone other than who they are” but you have to figure out who that person is and then you can begin to connect the dots.
  • Business… Having a successful business involves having successful relationships with a variety of people and sometimes being able to connect the dots between people, projects and information can result in additional opportunities.  This ability will allow you pave a road versus traveling a more traditional path.
One of the biggest fears that most people have is making a mistake.  We hate to be wrong so it is easier to agree with the conclusions that other people come up with because we assume that their theories have been tested and are more accurate than ours.  This could and could not be true.  The point is you need to trust yourself to be able to able to draw your own conclusions when you connect the dots.  Learn to process information and decide how that information relates to the other things that you know and continue building on that knowledge.  Caution: sometimes you will be wrong so just back up, learn from the mistake and move to the next dot.
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