Connect the dots

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

Recently I had a world-shifting epiphany. I am an artist. I am a creator. I reconnected with a dear friend of mine and the excitement of my newly found calling poured over my every sentence. I kept referring to everything from the perspective of an artist. “I feel like I need to work more on my art, I feel my art is getting better, I feel like I’m growing as an artist”.

My friend paused, and wisely said, “But how are you doing as a person”.  It flipped my perspective upside down. I forgot I was a human being first. I put the chicken before the egg. I had forgotten that I am Jesse first. I am a human being first. 

This grew an orchard of perspectives in my mind, but the one I want to talk about is how life doesn’t always make sense from eye level. At many points in life, we all feel lost, behind, and unsure of the future. This is where faith comes in, we have to believe that it will all make sense if we follow our internal compass. If we swim with the waves, not against them. 

I was not born an artist. Perhaps the seed was placed in my soul by a muse at birth. However, my life experiences are what made the seed blossom into a rainbow tree. 

Let’s trace the dots, together. 

I was born in Nigeria, one of the most culturally diverse and populated countries in the world. At the back end of the 90s, the time I was born was culturally rich and dense. The Internet was lacing its boots for a sprint. Old and new influences sweetly locked hands in a graceful waltz for me to witness. 

My family and I immigrated to Ireland in 2003. A small but significant global and cultural presence for its size. I had to adapt, I was thrust into a different culture, a different world. Making me adaptable like wet clay from a tender age. 

I consumed a lot of visual art and drank copious amounts of music. Ireland didn’t have many artists or creators I was aware of or could connect to, so I gravitated to art from different cultures. This stretched my mind, turning me into a never-before-seen concoction of different cultural flavours. 

At age 12, my profoundly prudent mother placed me in boy scouts. Although I didn’t love hiking or tying knots, I did have an affinity for travel. Travelling without my family from a young prepared me for future adventures. Since then, I’ve lived in Paris, Nigeria, Germany and the Netherlands, and have been able to travel to other places. Pumping my mind like a balloon with new connections and perspectives. A fundamental ingredient for creative individuals is openness.  

Fast forward a decade of trying and failing, venturing to different countries, and falling on my face. I finally feel like I’m realising who I’m meant to be. Every single experience I’ve had, whether sweet or ugly has made me, me. Has allowed me to connect the dots. 

The most important thing I want to leave you with is that if you feel unsure of where life is taking you. Do not drown in uncertainty. Understand that this is a blessing in disguise. Try more things, fail more, and get out of your comfort zone. Society and family will try and pressure us into always having an answer about where we are and what we want to do next. This is the opposite of what makes the most realised and fulfilled people so full of colour. Exploration and discovery. Embrace the unknown, and understand that no one can predict the future. Follow your enteral compass, and the dots will align. 

Nothing interesting begins with knowing, it begins with not knowing

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