A Message from CEO Carla Knorowski, Ph.D.:
On Steve Jobs once said, “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.”
Jobs wasn’t talking about the kindergarten version of connect the dots, wherein the pre-ordained path is numerically spelled out, the only challenge is knowing which number precedes or follows the other and then drawing a line between them. The kindergarten version of connect the dots is easy; the adult version is not for the faint of heart. The former is for children or adults lacking vision and imagination, courage and trust. Oh yes, and faith.
Lincoln probably would have agreed with Jobs. Nothing in our nation’s history mapped out how and where Lincoln should draw his lines—connect his dots. He never planned to have state after state secede from the Union. He never planned to have a revolving door of generals pass through the ranks, before he found his leader in Ulysses S. Grant. He never planned for a lot of the challenges which came his way, but it didn’t stop him from believing in and striving toward his two big goals, keeping our United States united, and ending the scourge of slavery. At the time he was experiencing many of his challenges, he couldn’t readily know how to connect the dots, but he trusted his gut. He trusted they would eventually connect. In the end, they did. And we all know that one of the greatest joys of connecting the dots is that in the end, a glorious picture is revealed. For Lincoln, his dots revealed a reunited nation and the 13th Amendment.
As Jobs pointed out, we only see the full picture the dots reveal once they have all been connected. Imagine if history only looked at Lincoln based on a handful of dots—the dots which represented his failed store in New Salem; his losing senatorial bid; or the Battle of Chancellorsville? We might project him a failure. But like Lincoln, we dot connectors know better. History judges individuals and institutions on all the dots, not just a few.
Like Lincoln and Jobs, every day, we at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, our colleagues at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and our generous supporters and friends work together connecting dots. We do so to preserve Mr. Lincoln’s legacy. Whether it is for our Permanent Home Campaign to secure the collection, projects and programs, field trips and the like, we continue to draw the lines, connecting dot to dot to reveal more of the picture. We don’t know what the future will bring; what that picture will be, but we must at all times, have faith, trust, and courage that once revealed, it will be glorious. With you, generous friends and benefactors, we cannot fail, without you, we cannot succeed. Thank you for all you do.