I don’t know all of the things that are going on in the world, nor do I really want to know all of them. I am content to know that there are good things going on around me and to see that I am loved. I can see things in my life working together and I can set so much into motion that I can orchestrate from beginning to end. And yet, it is the things that I don’t know about and have no control over that seem to affect my life most and create the most fulfilling experiences.
When I speak of Serendipity, I am talking about those people and events that happen TO you. They do not happen because of you or through your efforts, they are events that happen TO you, for better or worse. Given that definition, is there really any way to orchestrate serendipity?
Is there any way to hear from the people that could give you a new job if you just knew to ask? Is there any way to receive e-mail and phone calls from people you don’t know and immediately engage them in conversations about your mutual passions (not tit-for-tat opportunities)? Is there any way to join the known and the unknown on a consistent basis through channels of your own choosing?
You see, the friends I have made since College are almost entirely serendipitous. I do not work with them. I do not live near them. I do not have an overly social nature that would allow for accidental meeting or memorable repartee. Starting relationships is not an easy act, and it would be nice if I could point to something that makes finding best friends and business opportunities easy and constant.
And yet, I can point to ways of finding people and businesses. I can figure out the equation for getting more followers on twitter or having a bigger blog readership. I can decode exactly what it takes to receive massive amounts of e-mail about things you think a lot about.
But, I can’t figure out how to create a serendipitous experience for the things that I really care about. I can’t figure out how to find people that I would love to really create things with or become life-long friends with. I am at a loss for how all of the stuff I put out on my blog and Twitter feed effectively creates traction for passionate connections that are not self-serving and unreciprocated. I want a filter for those who are would want to be “all in” with me.
I understand that it is very hard to know who those people are right away, and yet I think that the filter could be created. I feel as though there has to be a way to test a connection for how strong it is and how important it will become. There has to be a test that could be applied to all of our serendipitous actions (comments on blogs, tweets and retweets from people we don’t know, new friends on Facebook, etc.).
It might go something like this:
- Will you challenge me to be better?
- Will you create something new every day?
- Will you share everything that is worth sharing?
- Will you tell me stories?
I guess that is the kind of Serendipity I am looking for, but perhaps that too high of a bar to set. Perhaps, I will just have to go through the manual process of vetting people and ideas and not jump directly to being “all in” with those who already know that they fit the above criteria. Perhaps it is good thing that serendipity only takes us so far.
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I'm sure you could make the argument those four questions existed within you a priori. I'd then argue you were wrong, and we'd be off to the races.
Meeting the wrong people is also key. Making friends with the wrong people, sharing the same space with them for a period of time, and then realizing they don't make it through the filter, is also important. Knowing the meaning of being lonely (thank you, Backstreet Boys), has helped me to appreciate the importance of latching on to those people when I find them.
If the majority of the 6.8 billion are extras, we're going to have to learn to appreciate the journey over the destination.
This weekend, I'm heading to Ohio to speak to 300 people about things I'm passionate about. While it's possible, I'm going to fall on the highly unlikely side of this happening if I hadn't decided to move to FL seven years ago and then make thousands of smaller and larger decisions between now and then. I've been working my way toward serendipity for years. Every once in a while, I hit it.
I have taken what you have said and digested it.
This is how it will work for me in the near future:
I will take any meeting I can get. I will take phone calls from people I
don't know. I will start up conversations with people who I do not believe
are the “right people” because I know that they are connected to others who
may be. I will be the one who does the connecting of the dots because no one
will do it for me.
You are right.
The only way to find the right people is to vett as many of the wrong people
as I can. This isn't about collecting information or connections. It is
about trying to start as many conversations as possible and see which ones
will continue on in the long term. I guess what it somes down to is this: I
need better people in my life. I am lonely now for people who are truly
invested in what I want to accomplish. I have felt this value, but it will
not sustain me. I need to start working toward building the kind of network
that I have always dreamed of. This is one way I will do it. Thank you.
I have taken what you have said and digested it.rnrnThis is how it will work for me in the near future:rnrnI will take any meeting I can get. I will take phone calls from people Irndon’t know. I will start up conversations with people who I do not believernare the “right people” because I know that they are connected to others whornmay be. I will be the one who does the connecting of the dots because no onernwill do it for me.rnrnYou are right.rnrnThe only way to find the right people is to vett as many of the wrong peoplernas I can. This isn’t about collecting information or connections. It isrnabout trying to start as many conversations as possible and see which onesrnwill continue on in the long term. I guess what it somes down to is this: Irnneed better people in my life. I am lonely now for people who are trulyrninvested in what I want to accomplish. I have felt this value, but it willrnnot sustain me. I need to start working toward building the kind of networkrnthat I have always dreamed of. This is one way I will do it. Thank you.