What is serendipity?
According to Wikipedia, it is one of the hardest words in the English language to accurately define, though it is commonly used and present in many cultures’ languages.
Have you ever gotten into a new idea, project or interest and suddenly, you find that you seem to bump into seemingly random conversations that have to do with your interest?
I find serendipity in my life all the time.
When I am mentally focused on a new interest, book titles in bookstores, having to do with my interest, seem to jump off of the shelf at me. I will randomly glance at a newspaper and the print in the middle of an article in the middle of the page will jump out and it will have to do with my interest.
Here is the thing about serendipity…our interests are around us all of the time. However, if we are not looking for them, we do not see them.
Christ said, “Seek and ye shall find”. I interpret this to mean that if you look, you will see.
Achieving our goals in life, our desires, our passions, is indeed possible. But first, we must look, we must see, we must seek to find.
In order to seek, it helps to have an idea of what to look for. Joseph Campbell came up with a great solution and here it is: “Follow your bliss”. What does this mean? It means to follow your joy or that which gives you happiness. I have found this to be true and Campbell often speaks about such in his writings…when you follow your bliss, doors open that were not there before. It is as though the universe shifts to help you realize your desires.
Sound crazy? Ethereal? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”, says Hamlet to his skeptical friend at the beginning of the play.
Goethe understood serendipity and illustrates his understanding in this beautiful and inspiring quote:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideal and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
Have a joy that you have yet to follow with a full sense of commitment and an earnest sense of purpose? “Begin it now”.
Jim Hart is the founder of The Hart Technique and The International Theatre Academy Norway.