Some say it finds you!
Fortunate happenstance perhaps…good things coming by chance..happy accidents…
What is serendipity and where can I get some of that potent elixir?
Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Life is a fast paced, whirlwind of a trip with plot twists and turns, unexpected snippets of senselessness tempered with semi-predictable outcomes. I say semi-predictable because I am of the philosophy that we make our own destiny and that destiny certainly make us. We can prepare for and harness both what we can and cannot control to our best advantage.
It was Norman Vincent Peale who inspired us all in his wildly popular “The Power of Positive Thinking”
I have read this classic at least a decade ago. And it inspired me. Many truths are contained within the pages of books. Peale explains in this book that our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate.” I have taken this advice to heart…or mind, so to speak. What we see and what we believe creates our reality. Appreciation is key and what we think about what we already have taints whatever we encounter. I never was always so positive as I am now. I’ve spent a great part of my life as a sarcastic cynic who believed that if I never believed in anything or anyone that I would never be let down. I was ever wary, I had “seen it all” I expected the negative and had no problem finding it.
I realized that if I wanted to change my life I would have to change myself and my outlook. And I decided to believe in all this, what I thought at the time was crazy mumbo jumbo because I really had nothing to lose.
We can recite platitudes, embracing their meaning but not truly believing in them. A lot of this stuff makes for excellent sound bites. We can sound cool and enlightened to our friends. I known people like this who seemed to have something to prove by reciting every guru and free thinking wise person from Buddha to John Lennon. Words can inspire but it’s what we do with that inspiration..
Serendipity is such a word. It is inspiring, yes….
I realize what I am saying may be construed as sounding too Pollyannaish or too easy. Real life is not like that. I know firsthand how damn ironically unfair it can be. I have found myself many times awestruck at life’s ironic unfairness. I could venture to say that a sense of humor helps but sometimes in life nothing seems to work and all the good thoughts and positive actions in the world cannot change that…
Ever have one of those days that start out horrid and end up atrocious? No matter how well intentioned and positive you are, you can’t win them all, no one can. That seems like a worthless platitude that doesn’t make anyone feel better. Truly it is only ourselves that can allow us to feel better.
Through our actions and reactions to events and nonevents we scatter seeds. Some get rooted deep in the ground long forgotten and some of those can seemingly out of nowhere erupt out of the ground and grow into something wonderful. It comes as such a surprise one can almost trip over it’s fantasticalness.
Serendipity isn’t what we find. It is not simply some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We can engineer serendipity by making something out of what we find, knowing this and then expecting to find it in the first place.
I could venture to say that positive thinking borders on the magical but it is not magic.
I think we can and do encourage serendipity by the choices we make, by our attitudes and by the way we treat others. Put good out there in the world and with patience it will come back on you. Never stop believing, never stop putting your best possible foot forward.
I have seen people with good intentions try positive thinking and abandon it far too early expecting instant results. It doesn’t work that way.
Life runs in cycles, it ebbs and flows, no matter positive you are bad shit is going to happen to you. Conversely, so is the good shit, the trick is to learn from the bad and don’t take the good for granted…or too seriously. Goods things often take more than the power of positive thinking, no matter how powerful. Hard work, perseverance and time with a pinch of luck makes the cake and when that’s topped with creamy optimism, the combination tastes like sweet success.
“Cultivate the art of maximizing serendipitous opportunities.”
― Gina Greenlee
“Success is three parts hard work and one part serendipity; this serendipity is a direct result of the other three parts of hard work.”
― Ken Poirot
“The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”
― Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking
Engineering Serendipity (Nytimes.com)
10 Awesome Accidental Discoveries (popularmechanics.com)