This is a story of how a man changed my life from the depth of his grave.
On The Matter of Destiny
It all started during a car ride back home.
However, it was not like many other car rides I've been through in my life.
My heart was beating, yet my soul was absent.
Just an hour before, I found out that I failed to qualify for the coveted five positions in the Indonesian team for the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC).
The moment was short, but the journey was long.
Three whole years of my high school career was built up for that moment — a chance to win something big for a change.
"I'm sorry, but no," said life.
Those words mark the end of my journey, but not the end of my story.
You see, later that week, the faith of the YouTube algorithm's brought me to a video that was more than a decade old.
It was Steve Jobs' 2005 commencement address at Stanford.
Out of all the words he said, one part stood out to me.
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. 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.
It didn't stand out because it felt right. It was quite the opposite.
I have lived my life based on a strong principle of logic and reason; the word "trust" was a word that was too hard for me to chew.
Surrendering my life to "destiny" and trusting that it will connect all my challenges to form something beautiful felt too naive to me.
The Dot Where It All Connects
I have always thought life as it was unforgiving and ruthless. It will attack you when you show a sign of weakness and vulnerability. I couldn't possibly imagine being able to come up with a bright side of failing to achieve my greatest goal in high school.
I tried to connect the dots looking forward, and I failed, miserably.
Then life does its magic.
After interning at NuMoney during my holiday, I received a job offer to work full time as a software engineer before stepping my foot in college.
Exactly one week before I fly to California to pursue my studies, I withdrew my admission. The rest is history.
That moment paved the path for me to learn valuable life lessons that were clearly beyond my grasp just a few months before that. I have not a single regret.
When I failed to be selected for WSDC, life stopped me from achieving the moment that I've built up for my entire high school career. However, it was preparing me for the moment that I have built up for my whole life without me realizing.
- Had I not conquered my fear of computers that I had as a child, I couldn't possibly learn to code.
- Had I not spend my after-school time building plugins for Minecraft servers, I couldn't possibly have any real experience in programming.
- Had I not failed the WSDC selection, I wouldn't have interned at NuMoney to land the full-time job offer.
- Had I not believed in life to take the gap year, I would have been stuck in college regretting my decisions.
It all lines up gracefully; It was a work of pure art that was clearly beyond my comprehension.
I was finally able to connect all my dots - looking backward.
From the depth of his grave, Steve Jobs has changed my life.
A Message For The Weary Soul
If I could write a message to myself a year ago, this would be it.
For those who thought all hope was lost.
For those who believed that there is no way out.
For those going through failures, depression, break-ups, and all the bad things in life.
Remember, no matter how smart you think you are, there will be some moments where you can't figure out where life wants to take you.
You can't change what already happened. All you can do is move forward and believe that life will guide you to a place where all the dots will finally connect.
That place might not be close; it can be years and even decades away. However, it will only get closer if you move forward. So forward, you shall go.
When you reach that place, remember to look backward and connect all your scattered dots. Only then you will see that everything happened for a reason.
When you finally see the light, remember this letter.
Guide a person in their darkest time to find the light that you have found.
Let the cycle repeat and that is how you changed someone's life.