According to the internet, we have Horace Walpole to thank for the addition of the word “serendipity” to the English lexicon. He first used the word in a letter to Horace Mann penned on January 28, 1754, noting that he derived the term from a “silly fairy tale.” Said fairytale centered around three Persian princes who sailed off to an island called Serendip in pursuit of riches and made a series of fascinating and unexpected discoveries on their journey. Today, we know Serendip as the island of Sri Lanka, and many use the word serendipity to refer to delightful encounters that come about through happenstance.
With time, some have come to conflate serendipity with luck, which I think is a mistake. Where luck must rely on some mystical power from a source over which we have no control, the power to create the conditions for serendipity is within our own hands. Entrepreneurs, especially, should master the art of creating serendipity. Each day we have the opportunity for enriching, delightful encounters that we couldn’t have planned. These interactions are often what spark our creativity and challenge our thinking in ways that open new possibilities for our businessess. We'll miss out, though, if we're not intentional.
Here are three ways to create your own serendipity, and they're all FREE:
1. Smile at strangers.
I say this with a few caveats, recognizing that we do live in a scary world where not everyone will wish us well. Still, we must do unexpected things to have unexpected results. Maybe we’ve gotten into the habit of looking unapproachable because we want to block any unwanted or unwelcome attention. Trust me, I’m with you. I can mean mug with the best of them. It’s possible, though, that by looking unapproachable, we’re also shutting down conversation from polite strangers, who could be potential clients or collaborators. Be reasonable and use discernment and consider if you could be more approachable by simply