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Connecting The Dots: 1,694,984 YouTube Hits And Still Madly Counting!

April 6th, 2008 by Wai Loong (10 Comments)

One of the best thing about Facebook is to be able to tap into inspirational ideas and stories from friends all over the world. And Facebook is one of those great tool that wield that power.

Occasionally, I have some invites from people whom I don’t even know, asking me to add them as friends. I don’t normally add people onto my private network, and I do not attempt to hide information from people that I invite into my world. Once you are on my boat, you have access to almost all the information to my private (online) world.

And that my friend, is a great privilege I bestow on all my trusted friends.

For this reason, I’m very selective on who I want to add as friend (for your information, Facebook does impose a maximum limit of 5,000 friends in a profile, but I guess I may not reach that limit anytime soon!). So if you happen to be on my network, please do not abuse your rights!

There is a code of ethics on Facebook that very few people comply to. It’s not a fixed rule but I guess it’s an unofficial one. I usually ask for permission by dropping a note or mail to the person I want to be added.

Isn’t that sound and basic courtesy?

Unfortunately, few people practice that and I don’t blame anyone. It’s a kind of ethics that folks should learn in life, as much as many other real world problems such as spiritual and financial development.

So where does this blabbering from me got to do with the dots?

I’m about to get to that soon…

A few weeks ago, I got a friend invite on Facebook by Benjamin Marc Wee, the author of the current best selling money making guide, “Secrets of Ebay Millionaires“.

I didn’t know Benjamin back then and I thought it was another some random nuisance addition.

Fortunately, I have this good practice of keeping all invites in my history for a couple of weeks before I permanently remove them from my invites.

This buys me time to sort out my thoughts and do enough detective work to see if the invite is genuine (you wouldn’t want to reject a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs without finding why do you?).

Long story short, I was convinced that the person is genuine after studying his limited profile page and I gave the green light.

1 week later, I received a video clip from him (thanks to great Facebook application such as FunWall and SuperWall) what I thought to will make you cry when you see the video later (you’ll need the latest Adobe MacroMedia Flash plugin for your web browser to see YouTube video clips).

And if you’re not on Facebook, then you’re truly missing out a big chunk of what’s revolutionary from social networking Web 2.0 technologies. By the way, if you think Facebook is just another MySpace or Friendster social networking tool, then I’m sure you’ll be surprised at all the privacy settings it has to offer.
Are you connecting your dots?

Don’t worry if you don’t know what I’m talking about – yet.

Benjamin shared with all his friends, a video clip, what I believe should shake some sense into all of us if you’re struggling in your career, or are just starting out looking for a job or starting your own private business.

It was filmed on the day of a commencement address by Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple Inc and Pixar Animation Inc) for the graduating cohord of Standford University, year 2005.

Without further delay, allow me to present the life touching video clip here:

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

(Transcript available at Standford University archive – see resource links)

The 3 Stories from Steve Jobs:

Story #1. Connecting The Dots

Were you moved by his speech?

You bet I did!

Let’s recap on the key points Steve pointed out…

As a college drop out, this society would have deem one as a failure. And that is very true in the eyes of society, especially in Asia and in Singapore.

I disagree with that flawed thinking, and that many of my friends still clinging on to.

I don’t blame them, for they see the future no further than a piece of quality certification, graduates as a product of industry.

Sadly, many intelligent and highly educated beings still cling on the idea of endless pursue of certification for better career security. I don’t pretend that such dogma has a deep heritage since our ancestors who came in with the vague idea that scholars are powerful people – if they’re entrusted by the Emperors.

Career security as noted by Steve, is the endless pursue of one being trusting that the dots shall connect somehow, through the strong belief and passion in everything one does. Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Having spent a fortune on college education and drop out, is that the best decision? Not to be labeled as insane to say that as a priceless decision! Well, at least Steve did!

Life is a complex journey, and the destinations are many and are uncertain.

What if Steve did not drop out?

What if Steve have never attended the calligraphy class?

A free mind indeed allows a great man to contemplate clearly and to pursue what is being fascinating and of no practical commercial value to one’s career.

It’s about passion.

Who in the world would love things like serif and san serif typefaces, vary spaces between what makes typography great?

Honestly, I am one of those people.

Long before Microsoft Windows 3.1 became popular, I had Microsoft DOS and I too, was fascinated about fonts , typefaces, windows, scrollbars and the art of graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Those were the days when few individuals even dream about writing computer programs with Turbo C, creating windows and widgets and memory management from scratch!

We had no library APIs and integrated environments that programmers so conveniently pull up these days.

Steve’s amazing work manifested 10 years later, where he designed into the Macintosh, beautiful and multiple typefaces that even rival Microsoft copied religiously.

We all have the fortune of reading and writing blogs… without even giving Steve a special thanks for bringing all these technologies to this world of computers.

Let’s pause for a moment…

But was it possible for him to see the dots in connection?

Steve said it best:

Again, 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 in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

– Steve Jobs

Believe what’s possible, as what quantum mechanics discovered, that it’ll connect us somehow down the road with confidence.

And that my friend, is the hope we all desire, we all buy in, deep down inside us.

Story #2. Love and Loss

Are you a big screw up in life yet?

Forgive me for saying that, but most of us are not screwed up in life. As least I am and I can testify with that.

But is that not a danger? How can anyone not screwed up in life be at risk?

The answer is our comfort zones. Someone one day or through our own ignorance, shall come around and really screw up our very lives. We all won’t grow while staying in our own zones of comfort. It one of those universal truth about ignorance that even Siddhartha Gautama has taught us some 2,500 years ago.

We all try to pretend that our own problems of death and failures (or not failure) do not exist.

Imagine you being owning a business like Apple and fired by your own board of directors? What could be worse, if not as bad as it happening at your prime age?

What rejection to most people are devastating. And that’s human nature.

We live in a modern society where ranking and financial success is prevalent and empathy and forgiveness is scarce.

But Steve survived and taught us a very important life lesson:

Identify what you love most and relentlessly pursue it.

Along the way, you may have gains and losses. It’s really nice when there’s gain, but a real pain upon losses. Love the people you love, love the things you do, and everything else is secondary.

Have you found the passion in your life, or the things you love to do?

Not yet?

It’s OK…

Honestly, I’m not quite sure of finding it myself. But I trust from my heart that I’m navigating closely enough in the right direction! At the very least, I’m still currently doing what I fully love!

What about you?

And just to recap, here’s what made Steve’s speech so powerful to me:

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

– Steve Jobs

You may have to start all over, like learn a basic skill, trade or anything from scratch, but that’s okay. If you ever look back 10 years later, what may be your misfortune may be the greatest blessing in disguise for you and me.

Your work will fill most of your life.

Love what you do.

Keep looking and don’t settle. Don’t get dishearted!

#3. Death

If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.

– Steve Jobs

Death is for certain. It’s one of those universal truth of life.

All of us will be dead – it’s just a matter of time. At the face of death, all pride, embarrassment, ego shall fade away. We arrive naked into this world and truly leaving naked too.

When there is nothing left to hide, only our mind and heart will we follow. As Steve best put it, thinking about the problem of death is perhaps the best way to abandon worldly gains and the trap of loss.

What if you and I are diagnosed with of some incurable cancer?

And then what will you and I plan to do?

No one wants to die to go to heaven. Death is perhaps the single best invention of life… and it force you to think of your presence, your existence.

How will it be your last day of your life?

Foolishly, we ignore that very day – everyday.

As I start to think about such issues, it began to dawn on me, how each and everyone of us who have ever lay their feet on this planet earth, the only legacy we have is our words we said and pen, and memories of our existence.

Some people attempt to preserve memories in forms like photographs and videos. The truth what transcends time and space, is really the kind of shift you and I leave onto the hearts of other human beings.

And that time is limited, so don’t waste your life living in dogma.

Everything else is secondary!

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish!

That’s it!

Just three excellent stories for you to rethink and ground your presence!

Regardless of how you fare at this point in life, I pray that Steve’s stories may have somehow shifted you… and even perhaps to assist you in finding that direction in your life!

Lastly, I thank you so much for reading this far and please leave your comments by filling up the post below!

As a side note, I dedicate Celine Dion’s “Power of the Dream” (Live from Atlanta Olympics) to your inspirations and may the powers of her song spur you on to overcome whatever challenges you may face, now in the present and into the cosmos future.

Stay Hungry,
Stay Foolish and
Live a life with passion!

Power Of The Dream – 1996 Atlanta Closing Ceremonies

I just heard this was on youtube. Believe it or not, that young, beautiful soloist is my daughter, Rachel McMullin. My wife and I were in the stadium when she and the other young singers performed. To be honest, I cannot recall a prouder moment in my life than that evening so long ago. Rachel has since graduated from New York University majoring in performing arts and is doing well. She is as beautiful and talented today as she was back in ’96. Thank you, Julius for posting this! “Dad”
– Mr McMullin, 2008

Resource Links:

  1. Original Transcript ‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ By Steve Jobs, Stanford Report, June 14, 2005


I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
‘Oh excuse me please’ was my reply.

He said, ‘Please excuse me too;
I wasn’t watching for you.’

We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
‘Move out of the way,’ I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

While I lay awake in bed,
God’s still ! small voice came to me and said,

‘While dealing with a stranger,
common courtesy you use,
but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,
You’ll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,
you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.’

By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
‘Wake up, little one, wake up,’ I said.

‘Are these the flowers you picked for me?’
He smiled, ‘I found ’em, out by the tree.

I picked ’em because they’re pretty like you.
I knew you’d like ’em, especially the blue.’

I said, ‘Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.’
He said, ‘Oh, Mom, that’s okay.
I love you anyway.’

I said, ‘Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.’

Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company
that we are working for could easily replace us in
a matter of days.
But the family we left behind will feel the loss
for the rest of their lives.

And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more
into work than into our own family,
an unwise investment indeed,
don’t you think?

So what is behind the story?

Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

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10 Responses:

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[…] second half of this article is best supplemented by a MUST read article, “Connecting The Dots: 1,694,984 YouTube Hits And Still Madly Counting!” by Steve Jobs. Do make a point to watch the video and take charge of the directions in your […]

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benjamin marc wee on June 16th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

yes that was me

Wai Loong on June 18th, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hello Benjamin!

Wow! I can’t believe that you found the blog post that I’ve written more than a year ago! I’m truly humbled by your visit!

Perhaps you can share with me how you’ve found this post? 🙂

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About Insights, Inspirations, Tranquility, Peace and Harmony

Ng Wai Loong

Wai Loong is an electronics engineer by profession. He currently resides in Singapore, a thriving hub at the heart of South-East Asia. When he is not so stress out on the computers or laboratory, he enjoys value reading, jogging at his own pace and blogging in his spare time. Other times, he likes to catch up with some close friends over a cup of latte or teh tarik. As a gift from this friend, you are invited to interact freely with him on his personal blog.

PS: May the person reading this blog transforms his/her businesses, finances, relationships and life for ALL to WIN!