Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Difference Between Serendipity and Luck

Steven Strogatz explains in his book SYNC:
Although the role of serendipity is familiar, what's not so well appreciated is how different serendipity is from luck. Serendipity is not just an apparent aptitude for making fortunate discoveries accidentally, as my dictionary defines it. Serendipitous discoveries are always made by people in a particular frame of mind, people who are focused and alert because they're searching for something. They just happen to find something else.
In his conception, that is why scientists are so likely to make discoveries "by chance." This is something to consider if you are planning to expose yourself to randomness. Maybe it is best to look for one specific thing but be open to encountering something different, and running with that.