In his incredibly fascinating book Loonshots, Safi Bahcall discusses how serendipity plays a role in most big inventions. Whilst that might make life seem largely accidental, it turns out we can actually create our own luck. Christian Busch, the author of the book – Serendpity Mindset, in this piece in the Psyche talks about a process that we can adopt to benefit from unexpected events in our life. “In my research into what makes individuals and organisations fit for the future, one insight has come up again and again: many of the world’s leading minds have developed a capacity, often unconscious, to turn the unexpected into positive outcomes. Developing this ‘serendipity mindset’, as I call it, is both a philosophy of life and a capability that you can shape and nurture in yourself.
…My research suggests that serendipity has three core characteristics. It starts with a serendipity trigger – the moment when you encounter something unusual or unexpected. Next, you need to connect the dots – that is, observe the trigger and link it to something seemingly unrelated, thus realising the potential value within the chance event (sometimes referred to as a Eureka moment). Finally, sagacity and tenacity are required to follow through and create an unexpected positive outcome.
…the terms ‘unexpected’, ‘extraordinary’ and ‘unlikely’ are misleading because accidents or coincidences happen all the time. But we must be able to see the opportunity in the moment.
Although being alert to the unexpected is vital for creating smart luck, there is another key factor: preparation. This is partly about removing the barriers to serendipity, both mental (your mindset) and physical (the spaces you live and interact in), such as: overloaded schedules; senseless meetings; and the inefficiencies throughout your day that rob you of time, curiosity and a sense of joy. You can prepare by strengthening your mental readiness to connect with opportunity, and creating an environment that enables the use of your skills and available resources to act on the moment. An unprepared mind often discards unusual encounters, thereby missing the opportunities for smart luck. But this is a learned behaviour. Preparation is about developing the capacity to accelerate and harness the positive coincidences that show up in life.”
Christian ends the piece with some tangible “What to do’s” to build our own luck.
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