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The Oxford Dictionary defines the word Serendipity as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”.

This idea has always intrigued me. The notion that experiences will develop in a way that we do not control or have any ability to predict is exciting. There is an element of adventure in this idea that I love.

Let’s take the story of Google. In 1995, students Larry Page and Sergey Brin were working on an idea for a search engine that would help people find things on the internet. Do you think these guys had any idea at that time that Google would become one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world 20 years later? Heck, they came this close to selling the company in 1999 for $750,000 but the buyer backed out. Good thing for Page and Brin since Google is now worth $1 Trillion!

If that is not Serendipity, I don’t know what is.

I am not saying don’t make plans and set goals because it is important to have a vision for where you want to be in the future. Sergey Brin’s goal in 1996, embedded in the source code of a project he was working on, was “a large office, good pay and very little work”. Serendipitously, and through lots of hard work and dedication, that all worked out pretty well for him.

Obviously over the ensuing 25 years many events occurred by chance in a happy and beneficial way for Brin and Page.

So, within all your plans and goals, leave room for the unexpected and be open to avenues you had not thought of pursuing. Assess your situation and your talents and your environment and position yourself for success, whatever that might look like to you.

And if you are ever in New York City stop in for an ice cream at Serendipity. I guarantee it will be a happy and beneficial event.

Enjoy the adventure,

Doug Dougherty


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