A huge part of the beauty of life is its randomness.
When you wake up in the morning, are you ever even close to 100% of exactly what is going to happen in your day? Probably not – and if you are, then you should read on.
Life is incredibly dynamic – so dynamic, so unpredictable, that we can never know exactly whatâ€™s going to happen in a given day before it happens. Sure, we have schedules that dictate when and where weâ€™ll be for large parts of our days, but our schedules donâ€™t tell us what will actually happen while weâ€™re at our doctorâ€™s appointment, having coffee with a friend, or sitting at home alone. Maybe your doctor will tell you that you have a debilitating disease, maybe your friend will tell you that they are thinking of starting a business based on a really cool idea and they want you to help, and maybe youâ€™ll come up with a really cool idea of your own while youâ€™re watching the football game on TV.
When you wake up in the morning, you have no idea of what will actually happen. You donâ€™t know the potential that your day holds.
Iâ€™m telling you that, much as we have tons of potential as human beings, your days have infinite potential. Anything can happen on any given day. Anything. You just have to be open to the possibilities.
You might meet your future wife or husband today on the bus or at a bookstore (though that bookstore wonâ€™t be Borders since theyâ€™re bankrupt). You might find the inspiration to quit your job and build a business of your own around your talent/passion. You might have a conversation with a friend that changes your life forever. You just donâ€™t know.
We Naturally Limit Chance
Why donâ€™t more of these cool things happen in our lives?
Simple. Youâ€™ve spent your whole life avoiding randomness and the force of serendipity because, wellâ€¦ Youâ€™re scared of it. Youâ€™re scared of chaos because it cannot be controlled.
You schedule your entire day to make sure nothing bad happens, by chance – like you losing focus or not getting much done. However, what if, by letting yourself roam free a little bit, you create conditions for something completely awesome (but random) to happen?
We shy away from taking risks because weâ€™re afraid of unintended consequences. But what if those unintended consequences are good? What if, by talking to that cute guy/girl youâ€™re in front of in line at Barnes and Noble, you hit it off really well? What if your crazy business idea actually does well instead of failing like you think it will?
We can speculate about what will happen all we want – but the only way to know is to take the risk, to put ourselves out there, and to make serendipity either reward us or punish us. However, Iâ€™m a believer that fortune favors the bold, and that, if you take risks, large or small, you will be rewarded handsomely in the long run.
Why? Most people spend their lives limiting chance because it creates more stress to deal with risk instead of security. However, if you take risks and let the chips fall where they may, youâ€™ll be a winner no matter what because youâ€™ll have a richer life experience than the person who sits inside all day, munching on Cheetos and watching TV.
Since we naturally limit risk and chance in our lives, there must be a way to take calculated risks in order to help us reap the rewards of serendipityâ€¦ It only makes sense for us to maximize the randomness of our days, because thatâ€™s what makes things special – the unexpected is scarce, and the scarce is the spectacular in our lives.
Luckily, I have a few solutions:
1. Strike up conversations with everyone. Talking to people – no matter where you are – will bring you down new, unpredictable avenues. Iâ€™ve had many conversations that were totally random that have ended up changing my life in a big way. Conversation allows for a flow of ideas – ideas that may change your life (or theirs) for the better. Not to mention that you may end up building relationships with total strangers that you end up talking to at random, just because you were in the right place at the right time.
2. Help people. Whenever you can, however you can, help people out. Do it for free and without the expectation of reciprocation, and see what unexpected rewards fall in your lap. At the very least, youâ€™ll feel good about yourself for doing a good deed – that’s enough of a reward, isn’t it?
3. Do the unexpected. I know this is obvious, but it isnâ€™t so obvious in practice. This means: change up your morning routine just once to see how it feels. Go home from work by a different route. Drink a different type of coffee. Talk to friends you havenâ€™t talked to in months. Go out to new places. Approach your work in a different way. Just do things differently and see what effects they have on your life. If you donâ€™t like them, switch it up againâ€¦ The bottom line here is to keep things fresh, youâ€™re going to have to change it up every once in a while. When things get boring or tedious, thatâ€™s when you have to introduce some change.
Wherever you go, wherever you are, remember this always – anything can happen. Anything. The more you realize this, the more youâ€™ll open yourself up to the possibilities that lie in every moment.
And, once you see the possibilities, youâ€™ll begin to make them realâ€¦ Youâ€™ll begin to see just how wonderful chance can be, and how a life of security is nothing compared to a life with a little bit of risk.