Serendipity is my new favorite English word. It’s when good fortune comes your way in an unexpected manner. A happy accident. It is always pleasant, always unanticipated. Now, because of the undeterministic nature of serendipity you migh think that there’s nothing to do to facilitate it, but you’d be wrong. In my experience, there are three things you can do to foster serendipity.
Say yes to (almost) everything
I’m sure you’re a busy person building the next big thing, with no time to spare. I am too. But if someone should approach you asking for help, say yes. Oftentimes it’s just a little favor that won’t take too much of your time, but it’s worthwhile. You do a good deed, strenghten your relationship, you may learn something new and the person will definitely spread good word about you. It’s good karma; what goes around, comes around.
It’s all about being helpful, creating value. Of course, there are limits to this rule. It’s up to you where you draw the line. Either way, be diplomatic when saying no.
Serendipity usually comes from strangers. Find a way to meet new people. Attend conferences, give talks. Go to jellies, work from a coworking center. Be open and friendly and meet as many people as you are comfortable with. Talk to strangers. I found talking to people doing something completely different than I is a great source of inspiration.
You can also connect with people online. Follow more people on Twitter, participate on Quora or any other online community. These are all great ways to accomodate serendipity.
Keep a blog
Jason L. Baptiste published a great piece recently titled Why every enterpreneur should write. Jason notes that through writing you’ll meet smart people; I’ve already mentioned why that is important. He also points out writing is a accelerator of serendipity. Having a blog is a way to constantly talk to and “meet” people. You may never know who’s reading. Even if serendipity won’t happen thanks to your writing (I doubt that), your chances are significantly higher with a blog.
The best thing about all this? You can start right now.