in Life

Everything Happens For A Reason

Everything Happens For A Reason

I always believe in this mantra — Everything happens for a reason.

I use this mantra usually when things turn out badly or in a way I didn’t expect.

When bad things happen, I would tell myself that it happened for a reason and I should take them in my stride and have faith that they would lead me to somewhere better.

Here’s 2 story to elaborate my point:

Steve Jobs and Typography

Steve Jobs famously said during his commencement address at Stanford in 2005,

“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.”

The story behind this quote was that because he dropped out of college, he didn’t have to take normal classes. He could attend any class that he was interested in, so he took a calligraphy class as he was mesmerised by the beautiful calligraphy around his campus.

He never expected that it would be of any practical use in his life; but it did. He put what he learnt about typography into good use 10 years later, when Apple was designing the first Macintosh computer.

If he didn’t drop out of school, he would not have attended the calligraphy class.

If he didn’t attend that calligraphy class, he would not have learnt about typography.

If he didn’t learn about typography, he would not have designed multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts into the first Macintosh.

And he believed that since Windows copied the Mac, if he and his team didn’t design typography into the first Macintosh, it is likely that no personal computers would have the beautiful typography they have today.

Dropping out of school might seem bad at that point in time but it turned out to benefit Steve Jobs later in his life.


Peter Thiel and PayPal

If that was not convincing enough, here’s another story. This story is about Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, whose net worth is US$2.2 billion as of January 2015.

When he was studying in the Stanford Law School, he was competing for the highest prize regarded by law students — a Supreme Court clerkship. Only few dozen graduates out of tens of thousands get the opportunity each year.

He made it to an interview with the Justices and felt that he would be set for life if he got the clerkship.

But he didn’t. He was devastated by the outcome.

10 years after he graduated from the law school, he and his team took PayPal to public and sold it to eBay for US$1.5 billion. It’s not just how much he made eventually but also how PayPal revolutionised internet money transfer.

In his book, Zero to One, he acknowledged that,

“winning that ultimate competition [getting the clerkship] would have changed my life for the worse.”

He went on to say that, “Had I actually clerked on the Supreme Court, I probably would have spent my entire career taking depositions or drafting other people’s business deals instead of creating anything new. It’s hard to say how much would be different, but the opportunity costs were enormous.”

If he had gotten the clerkship, PayPal might not exist today.


In our lifetime, many things might not turn out as we expected; but have faith that they would lead you to somewhere better.

When my application was rejected by Buffer, I was sad. But I got over it quickly as I trust that it happened for a reason. It has lead me to challenge myself to write a blog post everyday. Who knows what this might lead me to? ☺

Everything happens for a reason.


Steve Job’s story is based on his commencement address at Stanford in 2005. Peter Thiel’s story is extracted from his book, Zero to One.

(This is my 12th blog post of my 30in30 challenge — 30 blog posts in 30 days. Through this challenge, I hope to feel comfortable and more confident with writing and become better at writing.)