Be Curious and Serendipity Will Find You


Two days ago, I was riding my bike from one meeting to another in a different part of town. It was a beautiful day in San Francisco. The sun was shining brightly without a cloud in the sky, and I was feeling happy. While biking through town, I spotted a bike in front of me. I see many bikers everyday – San Francisco is simply full of bike riders. This biker was different though – he had a skateboard in his bike basket. I was itching with curiosity. You see, in my own nerdiness, I’m always on the lookout for the unusual and odd combinations. Why did he need two modes of transportation? Why have a skateboard at all?

Serendipity strikes randomly, but you can help push it along.  Tweet this

So I caught up to him and struck up a conversation. “You’ve set yourself up really well,” I said to him, “Once you drop the bike, you can continue on with your skateboard!” He laughed and said, “Yes, and look at the wheels of the skateboard! They match the color of the bike’s frame.” True enough, the turquoise wheels matched the frame nicely. It turns out that he had rented the bike and this was a mere coincidence, but we bonded over the light-hearted humor.

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As we continued to talk, I discovered that he was local. The reason he was out on the bike was that it was part of his job. He works for a start-up called Zirx in San Francisco that takes the cars of customers and parks them. This is valet parking basically anywhere you happen to be. Thus, he had rented the bike from a distant location and was on his way back to the main station. He made it clear that he had both a skateboard and a bike so that he could get around San Francisco once he got to work and started parking cars around the city.

At that moment, I told him that I’d heard about his company and had always wanted to try it. He offered me a code so that my first parking assignment was free.   I signed up when I got home and got 15 dollars worth of free parking.

You’re probably wondering why Patrick is writing about such a small thing. Fifteen dollars might not feel like much. This was just a brilliant but simple case of serendipity striking for me. If I’d let the chance to talk to him pass me by, I’d never have gotten that opportunity. I’d never have made fifteen dollars.

When I see something interesting or unique about someone, I always approach that person and say something about what piqued my curiosity.   I aim to do this at least once a day, but my goal is to do this whenever I notice something. Curiosity is one of the most powerful words in NRM, and this habit is one of the best habits to train curiosity. Many times, nothing comes of it, but every once in a while, serendipity strikes, just like in this rather small experience that I shared with you.

Here’s my point: Serendipity does not discriminate between small and great. Today, I gained 15 dollars’ worth of parking. Tomorrow, the fifty thousand dollar client might get uncovered through serendipity. The beauty of serendipity is that it is not possible to know when we’ll get a small benefit or a big one. The only way to find out is to give serendipity a chance. If you do that often enough, it is just a matter of time before very good things happen.

The beauty of serendipity is that we don’t know when we’ll get a small benefit or a big one.  Tweet this

Here is where I challenge you: Aim to have a conversation every day with someone you would otherwise not have had conversed with. But when you notice something intriguing, simply make a comment. Even if all you get out of it is a laugh and fun conversation, it can still make your day. So, find one person every day that you don’t know and strike up a conversation with them.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


About the Author:

Patrick Ewers is the founder and CEO of Mindmaven, an executive coaching firm and educational platform focused on helping startup CEOs, executives and their team members achieve their fullest potential and generate game-changing opportunities by better leveraging the most valuable relationships in their network.