Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Most people experience serendipity on a daily basis. IANS

Archimedes’ discovery of the relationship of weight, volume, and density of materials, Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, Samuel Morse devising the Morse code, Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone, and Charles Good year devising the process of vulcanizing rubber all occurred during serendipitous moments they recognized and seized.

It lies within all of us to act similarly to improve the quality of our lives, particularly in these hard times, says Neil J. Farber, a Professor Emeritus of Clinical Medicine at the University of California-San Diego, and a docent (teacher) at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, in a new book, “Serendipity: Utilizing Everyday Unexpected Events to Improve Your Life and Career” (Boyle & Dalton).


Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.

“There is no formula for achieving a serendipitous event, but there are skills needed to recognize an unexpected event when it occurs, and the means by which one can turn it into something meaningful. The skills needed to recognize the event are those of mindfulness (recognizing all of the things that are around you), observational skills, curiosity, and the ability to make connections,” Farber told IANS in an interview.

“Once the event is recognized as such, one needs to analyze whether it is something that will be fruitful in some way to the individual and/or society, and then be able to gather the things one needs to achieve the result one desires,” he added.


Making Correlations defines the ability set required to understand serendipity. Pixabay

After an introduction in which he gives some examples of serendipity, including the invention of the microwave oven by Percy Spencer working at Raytheon in 1946, when a chocolate bar he had in his pocket melted when he was checking on vacuum tubes being used to increase the sensitivity of radar using higher energy sources, Farber goes on to discuss in 11 chapters the various inventions and breakthroughs that have thus occurred when the protagonists recognized and seized the moment.

1. The Big Bang, the discovery of radioactivity, and of a vaccine against smallpox were “monumental events of the one in a million type” achieved collectively with the lining up of chance events by Belgian physicist Georges Lemaitre, Marie Curie, and Edward Jenner respectively.

2. Everyday Serendipity occurs on a regular basis to most people and although perhaps not generating fame or fortune, it can often be very helpful in one’s life or career.

3. Get Your Thinking Cap On deals with what some have called pseudo-serendipity — events that occur when someone suggests or leads someone into an idea or area of discovery, with the other being an individual working on an idea or problem for a prolonged period of time and finally serendipitously coming up with a solution.

4. Being Open to It deals with the skills necessary in order to recognize a serendipitous event when it occurs.

5. Curiosity Doesn’t Always Kill The Cat deals with the importance of both epistemic (a deeper kind of curiosity that leads to research or investigation) for the recognition of a serendipitous event, and also empathic curiosity (useful for anyone dealing with services such as health service careers, attorneys, salespeople, etc.) in an attempt to better understand individuals.


Self-awareness, analytical abilities, imagination, and the ability to draw correlations are also skills that can be learned by practice. Pixabay

6. Making Connections describes the needed skill set for making connections in order to recognize serendipity and explores the neuro-anatomy for those connections.

7. Putting It Together details how the four skills – keeping an open mind, observational skills, curiosity, and making connections – often need to be put together to be able to adequately recognize the serendipitous event and what it may mean.

8. Getting the Skills discusses how to acquire by practice self-awareness, observational skills, curiosity, and ability to make connections to be able to recognize serendipity when it occurs.

9. Roll Up Your Sleeves. Up to this point, the book deals with the exploration part of innovation. It now deals with exploitation, i.e., working with the discovery to make something of it.

10. Know When To Fold ‘Em. Although one always hopes that one’s serendipitous discovery will be widely taken up by society, it is not always the case. Often, some innovation doesn’t take off because of inherent difficulties with something else coming along that is significantly better or cheaper.


These four qualities, open mind, analytical skills, imagination, and making connections, are often required to identify the serendipitous case. Pixabay

11. What Do I Do With It? Once one has an idea or innovation that has been brought to the public, the decision becomes whether to continue with the idea/product or whether to sell. The decision, of course, is a personal one, but some factors to consider are whether the product is popular and profitable or not, and how much interest/time wants to invest in it.

Afterword: “My suggestion to readers is that I have given them the necessary tools to recognize and utilize serendipitous events, and their call to action is to find their own voice,” Farber writes.

“This (past) year has been one of the most challenging that we have ever gone through. We all need something to renew our emotional and financial stability. I believe that this book can be one small part of our recovery, and I am delighted to be part of that,” Farber writes.

ALSO READ: Regardless Of Ethnic Influences, Jewish Food Adheres To A Strict Dietary Code

“Most people go through life believing that unexpected, fortuitous events that often bring fame and fortune happen to only a lucky few individuals. The truth is that unexpected events frequently happen to all of us. They may not bring tremendous fame or fortune, but they can be recognized and utilized to significantly improve one’s professional and personal life,” Farber reiterates

“You have to have a mindset that allows you to think that such events can happen,” he explained, adding that by practicing self-awareness and cultivating keen visual and auditory observational skills, we are more likely to spot even the most subtle of serendipitous happenings.

So, go ahead and seize the moment! (IANS/KB)


Popular

Max Pixel

When it comes to burgers, its not just the patty that makes it all worthwhile... one can't forget the cheese or the crunchy lettuce either.

When it comes to burgers, its not just the patty that makes it all worthwhile... one can't forget the cheese or the crunchy lettuce either. In India, McDonald's ensures their burgers use the freshest produce, which means that don't use any ordinary lettuce. The iceberg variety was first introduced in India by McDonald's, as early as the 90s, at a time when not many people were familiar with lettuce and used cabbage instead. Lettuce is a key ingredient known for its crunch, its odourless and is ideal for salads, sandwiches and burgers.

The fast food giant collaborated with local Indian suppliers and pioneered the local production of iceberg lettuce in the country. Their lettuce undergoes 30 quality and food safety checks. After harvesting, the lettuce is pre-cooled to a temperate of below 40C at the farm gate to maintain its freshness. It is then transported in refrigerated vehicles to the world-class processing plant where it is shredded to a measured length and width and then washed and cleaned thoroughly before being vacuum-packed.

burger with lettuce and tomatoes The fast food giant collaborated with local Indian suppliers and pioneered the local production of iceberg lettuce in the country | Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
by devakinanda ji

Bhārata bhumi is conducive for the practice of one or all the paths enjoined by the Vedas

By Devakinanda Ji

Derived from the Sanskrit word muc ("to free"), the term moksha literally means freedom from samsara, release from the cycle of rebirth impelled by the law of karma. The transcendent state attained as a result of being released from the cycle of rebirth.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikimedia Commons

The five rockets are in the project report stage and would come into operation in the future, said N Sudheer Kumar, Director, Capacity Building Programme Office (CBPO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The Indian space agency is working on a fleet of medium to heavy lift rockets with a carrying capacity ranging from 4.9 ton to 16.3 ton, said a senior official. The five rockets are in the project report stage and would come into operation in the future, said N Sudheer Kumar, Director, Capacity Building Programme Office (CBPO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He was speaking at the International Space Conference and Exhibition, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in virtual mode recently. When that happens ISRO can not only launch its own communication satellites but also enter the global communication satellite launch market.

Kumar also said ISRO is working on upgrading Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk III (GSLV-Mk III) which can carry up to four ton to Geo Transfer Orbit (GTO). Normally rockets eject the communication satellites into GTO. From GTO the satellites will be taken to geostationary orbit by firing their engines. India uses Ariancespace's Ariane rocket to orbit its communication satellites weighing over four ton. According to Kumar, ISRO is also working on upgrading the lifting capacity of GSLV-Mk III to six ton and 7.5 to GTO.

Keep reading... Show less