Can’t get there alone : Day 31 of 31

One of the Myers-Briggs personality types is INTP.

INTP’s connect dots automatically.

They can’t help looking for things to help the world make sense. Here’s a summary from a place that explains that kind of thing:

The task of the INTP’s mind is to fit each encountered idea or experience into a larger structure. Their central goal is to understand and seek truth.

They like to understand the structures and processes that govern the world and mold them with their own ideas and designs. They like to understand many things at deep levels.

You’re probably some other personality type. You’re not driven to connect the dots.

But you still want your life, your world, your hopes and dreams to make sense.

I’m an INTP, so since I’m going to be covering this corner of the pool anyway, you’re welcome to hang out here.

From now on I may not always describe it as ‘connecting the dots.’ I may not always take you in the kitchen like we did some here during the 31 Days. It might be more subtle. I may just catch the fish and cook the meal and present it.

If you like that kind of thing I hope we can become friends.

You’ve been assigned your own corner of the pool. I’m sure the way God has made you will end up helping me just like I want to help you. Thanks in advance.


This is the last of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreamsYou can visit the Nester to choose from over 1,200 more 31 Dayers.

Nothing to see here. Move along : Day 30 of 31

This is just a video about the making of the T-Mobile dance commercial.

Fun. Entertaining.

Just a dot.

Could there be other dots that connect and take this dot to another level? And then when the dots connect could they reinforce each other and give each other deeper meaning for your life?

HaHaHa! Of course not. It’s just a video.

But let’s try anyway.

I’ll start. The quotes are from the video.


Someone made this big old world and he made it for a reason. Then something bad happens in the world and people are dying but don’t know it. So as part of his reason he sends his son to the world to rescue people before it’s too late.

He’s working his reason out continually, but most people don’t see it. It’s not obvious on the surface of things.

It’s so big you can’t take it all in.

The people he rescues become pretty grateful. They don’t even know they need rescued until it happens. When they realize this, it fills them with joy. But the son isn’t done. He wants to use the grateful, joyful ones to rescue more people.

Your job is to pick someone up along the way.

Their joy and gratitude is to be something the people who need rescuing will find irresistible. People will be attracted and want to join in, without realizing it’s all a setup, part of an agenda to give them the same joy and gratitude.

But it’s all covert.

It’s like there’s a whole production going on behind the scenes of the world. Like it’s all choreographed, not for robots but for joyful, grateful people. And the choreographer is watching with excitement, unseen.

The real magic exists in you being able to convince members of the general public to join in and do what you’re doing

But sometimes the grateful, joyful people forget. They get all caught up in their own world–a wonderful world!–and forget their real assignment.

You’re so caught up in the dance that you’re not turning your head and saying to someone, “C’mon! Join in!”

Well, like I said, probably no other dots here. Just a fun video.

OR you COULD consider it your graduate class in dot connecting. Whatever. Enjoy.

(If you’re reading in email click HERE to go to the website for the video. It’s 4:24 and a joy.)

So what jumps out at you in the video?


Day 30 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreams

Not so fast : Day 29 of 31

One late summer morning, you watch the sun rise over the ocean.

You think back to when Adam was created. You remember he was created as a fully grown up man. So there had to be a morning that was the first morning for him to see a sunrise.

“It came right out of the ocean!” you hear him say. “The sun comes from the ocean!”

Certainly appears that way. You could explain it to him, but he’d swear up and down (if Adam swore) that he sees it with his own eyes and he’d point right at it with you standing next to him and say, “SEE!!?” And of course he’d be right. You see it too.

He’s an eyewitness. He knows what he sees. He’s describing it accurately.

Later (he lived a long time) he’ll probably learn that it only looks like the sun comes up out of the ocean.

And later for you . . .

at a time when you’re sure you understand some big or little thing in your world, when you’re totally convinced because you’ve seen it with your own eyes, you’ll remember that with your own eyes you also know that the sun rises out of the ocean.

And you’ll calm down a bit and be patient and cut yourself some slack and loosen your grip on your conviction a bit. You’ll do the same, too, with others who bug you with convictions you don’t have.

You’ll do that because you know there could be more to the story that you haven’t yet considered.

And when you do all that, you’ll be connecting the dots.

Ever been convinced you connected all the dots but then more showed up later and embarrassed you?


Day 29 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreams

Connect or miss out : Day 28 of 31

If you feel a dream hiding inside you but you don’t know what it is, 2013 could be the year you get clarity and go after it. I have a free ebook for you, Fuzzy Hope: Courage and a kick to track down the dream you feel but can’t see. To get it, sign up for free updates using the form on the upper right. 


A FEW YEARS AGO Joshua Bell gave a concert in a Washington, DC subway station during rush hour.

Joshua had just won the Avery Fisher prize as the best classical musician in America. He was a two-time Grammy winner. In the subway he played some of the most elegant, beautiful music ever composed, and he played it on one of the most valuable musical instruments ever made–a $3 million Stradivarius violin.

It was free.

He was ignored.

One-thousand and ninety-seven people passed by. Seven stopped to listen.

He’s playing Carnegie Hall this week. The cheap seats are $96. Two $160 tickets are left.

How could people ignore him at the free concert?

No one connected the dots.

The subway concert was an unpublicized, anonymous performance. Joshua wore blue jeans and a ballcap. The audience was totally random, not classical music lovers. If you’re in your own world on your way to catch a train you have no reason to care.

He may be the most awesome violin player in the world, but to you he’s just a disconnected dot.

But you’d feel different if a friend ran up and grabbed your arm and gushed,

You’re not going to believe this! This world famous Grammy winner is playing a $3 million violin and he’s wearing jeans and a ballcap and playing for change in the subway! C’mon, let’s go see!

I’ll bet you’d get excited. You’d catch your friend’s passion and the whole idea would seem pretty cool. Now you got a reason to care. Now you got some context, some perspective. Now you’ve got to see this.

You connected the dots.

You could have missed out on some fun. Sometimes you miss bigger things.

When did you miss out–or almost miss out–on something significant because you failed to connect the dots?

If you’re reading this in email click HERE to go to the blog to see the video of Joshua in the subway. It’s less than 3 minutes.


Day 28 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreams

The moon and loving life : Day 27 of 31

I had to hold my phone over my head and shoot blind above the top of the fence to take a picture of the backyard of the house where Carl Sandburg lived when he wrote ‘Chicago.’

Why did I want to do that?

To connect the dots between Sandburg and me.

And why would I want to connect those dots?

Because he did things like connect the dots between the moon and loving life and rustlings. You wouldn’t think those things go together.

They do.

He lived in that house when he wrote this:

It’s been mystically wonderful lately, that backyard, with a half moon thru the poplars to the south in a haze, and rustlings…on the ground and in the trees, a sort of grand ‘Hush-hush, child.’

And as the moon slanted in last night and the incessant rustlings went on softly, I thought that if we are restless and fail to love life big enough, it’s because we have been away too much from the moon and the elemental rustlings.

— Carl Sandburg, 1912

Relaxed pondering is good for getting perspective.

Who inspires you to see more than just the view from your backyard?


Day 27 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreams

Your hopes and dreams are a dot : Day 26 of 31

You’re not here to live a disconnected, depressed, non-contributing, helpless, excuse-filled, humdrum life.

Inside you is the drive to create, contribute, connect, and leave a mark.

You sense this. You know it’s true.

That doesn’t mean you want to climb Mt. Everest. Or maybe it does.

You may want to be married. You may want to raise kids. You may want a job or a promotion. If you want these things you want to be successful at them.

Or you may want things to stay the same and NEVER CHANGE — and that’s a hope and dream, too.

Your hopes and dreams might take the form of an event, a circumstance, or money.

Or healing.
Or restoration.
A person.
A relationship.

A size.

An amount.
An accomplishment.
A feeling.
A lifestyle.
A legacy.
A place.
A vague “times will be better.”
Or a career.
A role.
A title.

Whatever your hopes and dreams, they cannot remain an unconnected dot. Impossible.

If you want to climb Mt. Everest you won’t just walk there and start climbing. You’ll prepare, hire sherpas, raise money, rehearse, and develop a taste for garlic, GORP, and spam.

You know you’ll confront a million frustrations and things that don’t make sense. You know you could wear out and give up. To get there you must understand yourself, and other people, and the world of mountain climbing.

So you’ll team up with someone experienced, who possesses deep discernment of each of these things and how they relate. Someone who smells like garlic.

Because you know your hopes and dreams depend on connecting the dots.

Think of one hope or dream you have. What do you need to understand about yourself, your world, God, and other people in order for it to happen? What needs to connect?  


Day 26 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreamsYou can visit the Nester to choose from over 1,200 more 31 Dayers.

God is a dot : Day 25 of 31

I either use a whole lot of words or very few for this. I decided on few.

I can get understanding of all the other dots, and connect them all I want, but if they stay disconnected from the God dot, my life does not make enough sense.

When I watch this (or just listen), all the other dots quiet down and start getting along much better.

It’s not high quality, it’s not hip and happening, it’s not a sound bite. Yet the longer it goes, the deeper you listen.

(Give the video about twenty seconds to get going. And if you’re reading in an email click HERE to go to the blog to see it)


This is Day 25 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreams

People are a dot : Day 24 of 31

The People Dot is a lot like the You Dot.

It’s the other side of the You Dot where you know and care about everything going on inside you, but you can’t see inside the other person. So you guess what’s inside the other person, and for some reason we usually guess the worst. Or we just judge by the outside and forget they even have an inside. Okay, maybe that’s just me.

However, it’s not that hard to know what’s going on inside the other person.

It’s the same kind of thing going on inside you

Whenever you realize that, you’re connecting the dots.

That can change all your relationships.

God made our lives to be richer when we connect with what’s inside other people.

If you have a best friend you’re experiencing that richness. You connect with your friend’s insides.

And that means our lives are poorer when we’re disconnected from other people.

Tommy was my brother-in-law. He died about 25 years ago. He was a gentle, generous man to my wife, the little sister of his wife.

Tommy was a car salesman all the years I knew him. I had heard he was a boxer in a previous life, but I never asked him about it. I guess it wasn’t interesting to me at the time. I had my own stuff going on, with kids, being unemployed, and all that beer I had to drink.

I didn’t care to connect the dots

Recently, we had a big family get-together for a few hours and Tommy’s wife and daughters were there. As we were leaving they brought out a scrapbook the girls created for their mom.

It was filled with clippings and stories and photos of Tommy’s boxing career. Photos with Jack Dempsey. Tommy was a little guy, a Golden Gloves amateur. He lost only 4 of his first 36 fights. He won the California State Featherweight title. He fought in Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden, and the Cotton Bowl.

His family has a gold badge giving them lifetime admission to any Golden Gloves event.

I never knew

I’d love to ask Tommy about that fight with Ricardo Moreno. It was Moreno’s first fight in America, and 6,000 of his fans from Mexico filled the stadium. Another 2,000 were turned away.

What was it like to have everyone booing you and rooting against you, screaming for another guy to clobber you? What was it like in the dressing room after you lost?

And when you were knocked out in the first round of your last fight, did you know at the time it was your last? Why’d you retire? You were only 24.

I’ll never know

You don’t have forever to ask questions, to be curious, to care. Things change fast, and when they do it’s permanent. Your chance to make a first-hand connection with someone’s heart, life, and story, evaporates. Instead of a flesh-and-blood, eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with a scene from your family movie, you get to stare at flat yellow clippings in a scrapbook. If there is a scrapbook. Your loss.

Who makes your life richer because you connect the dots with their insides and not just their outside?


Day 24 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreamsYou can visit the Nester to choose from over 1,200 more 31 Dayers.

Your world is a dot : Day 23 of 31

Your world is your home, family, neighborhood, work, church, and school.

It’s the stores where you shop, the government you pay taxes to, and your favorite websites and TV channels. It’s movies, songs, sports, and politics.

They all have their own reasons for doing what they do and being who they are.

And they don’t ask your permission.

They don’t invite you to all their meetings. Usually it was a long journey of hours and months and years for them to get to who they are and what they do.

You don’t ask their permission either.

And you don’t invite them to all your meetings. Yours was a long journey too.

You have opinions of those things in your world, and they have opinions of you. Often it’s not positive. Often it’s cliches and stereotypes. Sometimes it’s even aggressive and confrontational.

There’s a two word phrase for people who have strong opinions on things without having been part of the journey:

“Overnight expert.”

You use it for them when they don’t understand you, and they use it for you. And you both can be right.

This is the disconnected dot of your world.

Christians used to be a dot like that for me. I was an overnight expert on them. Then my wife became a Christian and I met some others. More and more they didn’t fit my stereotypes. More and more I wasn’t such an expert.

I used to have big opinions on the football strategy of my favorite teams. Then I met some people who really understood football. They had been to the meetings for years. My opinions aren’t nearly as strong now.

Ditto for politics, church, the place where you work, and The National Geographic Channel doing reality shows on drugs and cocaine smugglers. I thought NGC was about caring for the planet — what’s with that?

Your world is the place you look at and go, “Why do they do that? They don’t know what they’re doing.”

When your world connects with the world of others, and with people and God, your world changes.

Can you think of a time when a new perspective changed your world?


Day 22 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreams.

You are a dot : Day 22 of 31

You are a dot.

“Well thanks Mr. Self-Esteem-Builder-Up-Man!”

No really, you’re a very nice dot! A wonderful dot! A rockin’ dot!

Okay, maybe not, or maybe you don’t feel that way. I don’t know. And that’s the point.

You are the only one who knows your insides, who knows the things going on in there. At the same time, because you’re so close to it – to YOU – it’s hard to get perspective. You’re the only one who can see your insides! And you can’t see anyone else’s insides!

You compare yourself to other people but that’s impossible because you’re incapable of seeing others the way you see yourself.

But you do it anyway!

And it’s the same for every other person. They do it too.

It’s easy to compare your insides with everyone else’s outsides. That’s all you’ve got. It’s easy for them to do that with you, too. That’s all they’ve got.

I don’t think we should do that.

You compare yourself to others to try to nail down your identity, but there’s not much nailing in that. All that comparing changes day-to-day, which means your identity can change daily. You can go your whole life never knowing who your are.

You really only make sense when you connect the dots, and the dot you have to start with is God.

You are a created thing

You didn’t make yourself up. You’re not your own idea.

Your maker knows how he made you. He knows your strengths, your weaknesses, your pace, your abilities, your potential, your limits. Did you ever think that maybe he did it on purpose? All of it?

He knows the level of your ability to deal with life depending on yourself (your natural ability), and depending on him (your supernatural ability). Did you ever think that he limited your ability so he could make up the difference?

Your life is being engineered

He engineered placing you in your family, with those parents and siblings, or without any of them. And he engineered your school and friends and job and marriage, or the lack of them. He’s overseen, or permitted, all your experiences and circumstances.

He created time, and how it moves, and how much there is. Weeks, days, hours, and minutes are the same for everyone. He knows what’s available to you today for any moment, for any project, for your life. He knows every interruption and glitch.

You have an assignment

You may not know exactly what that assignment is. You may only know looking back later. Or you may have a vision, a calling, a sense of mission that you sense right now. We’re all different.

He knows the assignment he’s given you and what it’s for. He knows everything involved and needed to do it. He knows it’s YOUR assignment, and he gave it fully aware of you and your limitations and the time available.

And oh yeah — he loves you more than you love yourself.

Now that IS a pretty rockin’ dot. But only because of the awesomeness of the dot creator, engineer, assigner, and lover.

And it doesn’t have anything to do with what’s on the inside or outside of anyone else.

How are you feeling right now?


Day 22 of 31 Days of Connecting the Dots: make more sense of your life, your world, your hopes and dreams. You can visit the Nester to choose from over 1,200 more 31 Dayers.