Have you ever thought that the best things, including the discoveries that will mark your life forever, happen by accident?

What is serendipity

Serendipity is an English word that does not have an exact translation in Bulgarian; means the unexpected discovery of interesting and valuable things quite by chance, without having actively sought them out. The word serendipity was first used in the 18th century by the British writer Horace Walpole in a letter to a friend. In it, he told him how the characters from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip" were constantly traveling and making accidental discoveries. But the princes did not sit in some castle, in opulence and comfort, waiting for good things to happen to them or for luck to follow them. They were brave and resourceful, never giving up and persevering in their pursuit of fortune even when things were not going well.

Serendipity is not magic

We are actors with an active role in our lives, and serendipity requires us to pay full attention to what is happening around us, especially to unusual events: apparent confusions, mistakes, and opportunities that are apparently unimportant... Or maybe they are not!

It is well known in the world of science that many great discoveries happen by accident. Perhaps the most famous of these is the discovery of penicillin. Fleming forgot a glass in his laboratory in which he was studying disease-causing organisms, and when he had to clear his workbench three weeks later, he found that something was killing the bacteria in it. Instead of ignoring this discovery, he set about analyzing what had happened.
Serendipity is not magic. What would have happened if Fleming had been so diligent that he hadn't let the test tube sit on the table so long? Or if he had just thrown her away?

"Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you found is better for you than what you thought you were looking for."
Lawrence Block

Open the door to the unexpected

Did someone invite you on a trip and you turned them down? Did your client invite you to visit his lab, but you didn't go because you were too busy? Were you invited to an event or party on Friday night but didn't accept?
Maybe you should say yes more often - you never know where the inspiration that will unlock your ikigai awaits you.

Serendipity helps us discover things we didn't know we didn't know. People tend to run away from the unknown – they feel safer spinning in the circle of their own routine. But if we don't step out of our comfort zone, we'll never discover what we never thought we didn't know.

The key lies in creating favorable conditions to increase the possibility of the unexpected happening. The best way to provoke serendipity is to signal to the world, saying, “Hey, I'm here, it's me. This is what I like and what I do!”.
If you stay at home and watch TV all day, no one will come to you, nothing will happen. If you go out for coffee and don't call anyone, you'll almost certainly end up reading the paper alone in the coffee shop. And again nothing will happen.

Creating serendipity requires dynamism. We need to move and be active. Thus we will provoke situations in which the number of uncontrolled and unplanned things will be large enough for the happy "accident" to happen.


We can divide serendipity-making techniques into three broad categories:
1. To signal the world: to announce that we exist; to say what we think and show what we do.
2. To allow randomness in our lives.
3. To move around the world, as the most important thing is to be at the right time in the right place.

Ideas for sending out signals to the world that help create serendipity:
● Post on social media. Less than 1% of users share posts on the Internet. If you do, you are already superior to the other 99%. Write what you think, comment on the last movie you watched, share photos of interesting places you've been.
● Write an email to the author of a book you liked or send a message through social networks to the director of the last movie you saw. Even if he doesn't answer you, he will surely be happy and grateful! What if he answers you?
● Make a business card - in Japan, for example, it is unthinkable not to have one. Distribute it to all people who can benefit your ikigai. If someone leaves you their card, email them the very next day.
● Offered your help to someone you wouldn't normally help.
● Ask for help with something you don't normally need help with.

Ideas for allowing randomness into your life by increasing the opportunities for unexpected events to occur:
● Invite friends who don't know each other to dinner.
● Make a coffee date with someone you don't know well enough, but feel like you could become good friends.
● Connect two people who don't know each other if you think there might be good chemistry between them.
● Organize a party with an unexpected theme.
● If you hold a leadership position in a company and want to increase serendipity, change the environment so that employees can communicate more with each other. Create a place for them to drink coffee where they can sit comfortably and want to spend more time talking and exchanging ideas.
● Follow interesting people and media on social networks or read web pages about things that are generally not among your main interests. Seemingly unrelated topics increase the possibilities for making creative connections in our minds.
● Read a book you never would have read because of its genre or subject matter.
● Start learning something new. Tap into other knowledge and abilities, learn languages, and engage in different sports. This will expand your options when you are in the right place at the right time.
● Do something you've never done before.

Ideas on how to move around the world and increase your chances of being in the best place at the right time:
● Travel more often. It is best to do it with friends or visit friends who live in other places - they can introduce you to local life.
● When traveling short distances, replace the car or public transport with walking, looking at your surroundings.
● Come up with a different route to get to work.
● Go to a restaurant you've never been to.