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Accept Happy Accidents

April 7, 2010
by Scott Levitt ·  

Scott’s Thoughts: The Art of Letting Go
Prepare yourself to accept happy accidents…

“Dare to be naive.” –Buckminster Fuller

If you look back on some of your greatest successes, you’ll probably find that “pure chance” played a role somewhere along the way. Maybe you met a friend of a friend at a kid’s soccer game who turned out to refer you new clients. Perhaps you stopped to help someone with a flat tire and it lead to a lifelong business relationship.

On those days, did you set out thinking, “Today I’ll make a game-changing discovery”? Probably not. It just happened.

We talk a lot about setting goals, creating a plan, and working towards our goals. Without a doubt, this is a crucial component to attaining our objectives in life. But if we’re overdetermined to only accept activities which obviously contribute to our end goals, we’re going to miss out on a lot of those “good luck” opportunities.

You might know someone in your office who is continuously struggling. They work hard, but their struggle is so intense and consuming that they project waves of negativity and anxiety. Privately, they measure every single opportunity against a strict, “what’s in it for me?” attitude. Control means everything to them. (These are the same sorts of people that end up plowing their car into snow banks by overcorrecting, by the way.) If you perform this type of rigid cost/benefit analysis on every opportunity presented to you, you’re going to miss out on the happy accidents that can be surprise contributors to your success.

Creative pathways to meeting our goals start in unexpected places. This month, try to be more open to activities you might normally reject. Invest a little time in the unknown– experiment with a few “time wasting” activities. Try something with the open attitude kids have. Don’t expect results, but be attuned to that which peaks your interest and those people who you feel a natural rapport.

Remember: You can’t be pleasantly surprised if you’re straining to predict the future.

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