People often say “Have a Nice Day”, as if will just happen. I try to always say, “Make it a Great Day!” To “have” a nice day means hope it works out while “Make” it a nice day means put effort into influencing the days events. I guess I take my guidance from Captain Picard who often remarked, “Make it so”. It was these thoughts that relate to how we can “Create Serendipity” or the occurrence of beneficial events or happenings.
One of my favorite saying is,”Situations turn out best for those who make of the best the way things turn out.” In other words things happen, like my accident that left me paralyzed and brain damaged, but I made the best of it and recovered – did I have a choice? To me serendipity doesn’t just happen, if we prepare, we can beneficially influence what happens in our lives. We can’t know what will happen but being more skilled and capable provides us with the ability to adapt and use our resources to make it so.
We can’t control many things in life but going with the flow is giving in to the will of others. Most of us, myself included, want to have a positive impact on the world and to have a better life. Better to me doesn’t mean just more comfortable, but more meaningful. Making meaning is not always comfortable because it means pushing boundaries and challenging values and beliefs of ones own and of others. The value of this is that when we live in line with our values and do what we think is important, happiness is a byproduct or side effect without it being our direct intention. In this way we can have meaningful, beneficial results, and desirable side effects.
When we seek happiness, it generally evades us like a soap bar we try to grab in the shower as Kashdan explained in “The Upside of Your Dark Side“. A great read that I recommend because it highlights the value of being a whole person and the benefits of what many have portrayed as negative emotions. Evolution has its reasons.
After our house fire April 2014, I carelessly said to my wife, we will be better because of this. She didn’t see it and became very upset with me (probably not the right thing to say at that time). But still that was my perspective. I like it when things work out. After a lot of work and effort and times of distress, which is probably where my wife was focused, I am happy to say, our family and our house are now better than they were. Here is the original story I posted about the fire.
The idea to develop the idea of serendipity was sparked by a Fast Company article, 4 Habits fo Lucky People and the reading of 2 Steve Jobs books – Steve Jobs and Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader. Both of the Jobs’s books made it clear that both Apple & Pixar’s success didn’t just happen, he helped cause it to happen. In the case of Apple, they were on the brink of bankruptcy when he took over in 1997. In other words, he influenced serendipity and beneficial events or occurrences happened – it seems he caused them to happen…
I turned this idea into a presentation, “Serendipitous Wellness: Can We Cause it to Happen?” for the 2015 National Wellness Conference. This presentation was about how we can cause a better life and how. The link below will provide you the PDF of the presentation.
It seems that serendipity happens when we generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Evidence seems to suggest that selfish, selfless, synergy or the practice of paneugenesis is how to cause serendipity!
Contact me if you have questions or want to talk about how to make it happen for yourself and or your organization. I look forward to talking with you and also hearing about how you cause serendipity.
Craig Becker, PhD