Thursday, October 26, 2006

Are you serendipitous?

What a strange word "serendipitous". It comes from the word Serendipity.
Serendipity (from serendib) is like

"while searching for something, discovering something else"

Something like "casual discovery".

But discovered the butterflies?

One of the nicest examples is that of the discovery of the telephone by Graham Bell.

The Telephone

Bell's mother and wife where deaf.
In an approach to create a multiple telegraph for teaching the deaf, he discovered not the "multiple telegraph", but the telephone.

Another nice example is that of the discovery of the yellow "Post-it Notes":

Post-It Notes

In the 1960's at 3M, developers were trying to find a powerful glue.
The chemist assigned to the project, Spence Silver, often experimented with variations in formulas--one resulting in a substance that would only weakly stick and could be easily pulled apart.
He worked on it for ten years but despite improvements in its stickiness, it went undeveloped.

In 1974 Arthur Fry, one of Silver's co-workers, was trying to make a bookmark stick in his church songbook and in a flash of recognition discovered the application:

Post-It Notes

Silver later stated, "If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this."

Serendipity asks for an "open mind".
It demands an attitude that at the same time - while you're absolutely focused on an subject en doing your outmost best to find or create something new - you recognize an other possibility and have the skills to completely "let go" the subject you where searching for.
This special "state of mind" helps us joyful true our lifes.

Let's try to get serendipitous !

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