“Mommie, there’s a snake! There’s a snake out in the garden”, cries the little girl frantically.
The mother is alarmed but also very skeptical - spotting a snake in their neighborhood is very unlikely. They both walk cautiously to the site where the little girl has seen the ‘snake’.
The girl points at the ground and repeats, “Snake!”
Her mother is confused because there's nothing there. On closer inspection, she looks at the ground and sees an earthworm crawling on the ground.
The girl's mother laughs at the misunderstanding and the threat is instantly dismissed.
One can't fault the little girl for mistaking an earthworm for a snake. Both earthworm and snakes crawl on the ground and if you've only ever seen pictures of both, and you're very young, chances are, they don't look too different.
You'd never expect that a huge snake first started out as an egg.
In our own lives, it’s easy to know where we are today and even who we are today but it is difficult to estimate who we can grow to become.
We know what we are, but know not what we may be — Shakespeare
We do not know what we may be…
Because the possibilities are limitless.
Unlike the little girls presumption that the little earthworm would grow to be a snake, life cycles of human potential operate very differently.
There’s nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly — R.Buckminster Fuller
It's the same thing when it comes to goals and achieving them.
Progress isn't always going to be linear or manifest in the form that you'd envisioned. Sometimes temporary setbacks may make it seem like we've lost our way in the short run.
However, this may just be an important step in the life cycle of becoming a fully formed version of yourself. The beauty is that the life cycle is different for each person and the very things that feel like acute suffering or huge setbacks are the things that help reveal our best selves to us.
We're all walking this tightrope of life even though we're very different from each other.
Part of the anxiety may stem from the fact that so many of our peers are further along the tightrope than we are.
Maybe some people in front of us have already learnt to fly and gotten off the rope.
Maybe others have even jumped off the rope and into the cold water below. As scary as that seemed to them at first, perhaps they have now discovered that they’re ‘in their element’ in the water.
There’s no way to predict with certainty what awaits us and how we will end up evolving. It’s the great mystery of life. And the only way to unravel it is to fully engage with it and embrace whatever comes our way — even the horrible mistakes that torment us and seem to set us back. They’re all necessary and the people that are in separate journeys have had those soul crushing moments too.
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. 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 — Steve Jobs
There’s merit in connecting your own dots instead of comparing your progress to anyone else’s.
Your own masterpiece is waiting to be completed. Changing your life’s work just to keep up with others or to match their journey or even their current state may not always be right for you. You may intuitively know what you need but the noise of what everyone else is doing can drown out your own voice.
Make room for some quiet time to hear yourself out. Turn down the volume of external ‘information’.
Trust in your uniqueness. Trust the process and get to work — one dot at a time.