Many people think that serendipity is a happy accident, coincidence, good fortune.
But Finland’s #serendipitor Ilkka Kakko tells us that serendipity is an attitude of mind: “the quality of mind that allows us to find better things than we were originally looking for.” An attitude of mind that allows us to spot opportunities, even when we are not seeking them.
The list of innovations that have come from serendipity is long: penicillin, graphene, bitcoin, post-it notes, teflon, …
So how do we deliberately create serendipity? Well, one way is to create an environment that intensifies the likelihood of chance encounters: somewhere where it is easy to bounce ideas off a person with a different perspective, or to overhear conversations that apparently have nothing to do with us. Co-working environments, for example, provide this. (See also the recently piece on the way Finland is redesigning its education system.) A new Internet platform discussed in the video is setting out to enable the same chance encounters.
Another way to facilitate serendipity is to focus not on making more connections but on creating places of silence and solitude that allow time for reflection so that insights can happen. Taking exercise in nature is one way to achieve this.
For me this gets closer to the core root of serendipity, the attitude of mind.
The early chapters of The Churning’s inner leadership focus on this area. Chapter 1 describes techniques to help us centre and ground, deepening our connection with ourselves and allowing intuitive serendipitous connections to emerge. This includes taking exercise in nature. Chapter 2 contains a technique explicitly aimed at freeing up our intuition to point out connections that our conscious mind has overlooked, and a second tool that allows us to identify and remove the obstacles to serendipity that our minds sometimes put in our way. And Chapter 3 is about training ourselves to take what seem to be apparent problems and view them instead as opportunities. (There are three types.)
Serendipity means looking at what others see as a problem and seeing instead an opportunity. The Churning provides tools for achieving this, and also implementing the results.