Thursday, February 22, 2024





Here is a glimpse into some thoughts I’ve been walking through lately – almost every day.

It’s my deep dive into Engineered Guerrilla Serendipity by Unleashing the Power of Chance Encounters

Serendipity refers to the phenomenon of stumbling upon fortunate discoveries while not actively seeking them. It's the wonderful surprise of finding something valuable or pleasurable when you least expect it. (It’s real - I once found a $10 bill on the sidewalk. I took it straight to the supermarket and bought groceries).

Classic Examples

Scientific breakthroughs: The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming, the invention of the Post-it Note, or the development of X-rays all these resulted from serendipitous events.

Personal connections: Finding a lifelong friend at a random social gathering or meeting a business partner through a chance encounter at the chamber of commerce.

Creative insights: Experiencing a sudden burst of inspiration for a new project or solution while engaged in an unrelated activity.

Engineered Serendipity is the intentional design of environments or systems to increase the likelihood of sagacious serendipitous encounters. It involves creating the conditions that foster unexpected connections and exploration. Brain storming sessions are most commonly used.

Guerrilla Serendipity means serendipitous encounters evoked through mundane daily activities that don’t cost money.  G=ABC (Guerrilla=Anything But Cash).

Engineered Guerrilla Serendipity (EGS) isn't just a fancy term for stumbling upon a twenty-dollar bill on the sidewalk. It's a deliberate dance with chance: a calculated nudge towards unexpected connections and fortunate collisions of ideas. While the concept holds huge potential, navigating its intricacies requires both strategic finesse and playful spontaneity.

There's no map with a "you are here" dot leading straight to Serendipity.

Encountering serendipity is like a winding path, one that unfolds as you explore, embrace detours, and savor the surprise turns.  Realistically we don't manufacture happy accidents; but we can certainly nudge ourselves in the right direction. We can attract happy accidents. (Sadly we attract some of our unhappiness too).

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Let's delve into EGS, exploring its strengths, potential pitfalls, and how to maximize its serendipitous spark.

Strengths Rekindled With a Fresh Perspective.  Here is some of what I’m talking.

First step is – acquiring the mindset that serendipity is real. Serendipity is a common daily experience that can be engineered consciously to manifest.

Serendipitor is the person who makes serendipitous encounters happen. They have an irrevocable and irrepressible spirit of optimism. 

Innovation Playground.   EGS throws open the doors to unconventional networking arenas. Forget stuffy conferences and expensive seminars. Think rather of impromptu book clubs hosted in quirky cafes, flash mobs erupting in bustling plazas, or thematic scavenger hunts (Geocache), weaving through vibrant cityscapes. These playful maneuvers not only spark connections but also unleash a torrent of creative energy, fostering collaborations among folks that might never have met in sterile, traditional settings.

Embraced Openness.   Step outside the predictable routines of daily life and injecting a dose of EGS, we crack open the gates to chance encounters. This isn't about blind hope; it's about strategically placing ourselves in fertile grounds for serendipity in blind dates. Joining a pottery class not just to learn how to mold clay, but also to connect with fellow artists, swap creative ideas, and perhaps stumble upon an unexpected artistic collaboration.

Democratizing the Unexpected.   EGS levels the playing field, tossing aside the velvet ropes surrounding traditional networking circles. Financial constraints no longer act as insurmountable barriers.  You need is a dash of wit, a sprinkle of resourcefulness, and willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Suddenly, the shy introverted student can find their voice amidst a lively book club discussion, and the cash-strapped artist can connect with potential patrons at a street art exhibition.  Yes. Stepping out of our comfort zone.

Serendipity thrives on a foundation of intentionality. Identify the types of connections you seek, the unique skills you can to share, and knowledge you wish to acquire. Then, craft your EGS maneuvers with these goals in mind. Join a coding club if you seek tech-savvy collaborators, or volunteer at a local animal shelter or zoo if you long for a furry friend and a supportive community. Join an on-line virtual serendipity club.  If there is none, create one on Facebook.

Authenticity is the Guiding Star.   The line between playful nudges and manipulative ploys can be blurry. Always remember, EGS thrives on frank genuine connections and mutual value exchange with friends. I approach my encounters with an open heart and a willingness to give as much as you receive. I share my knowledge, or offer my time, and celebrate the successes of others. In this spirit of authenticity, serendipity flourishes.

Scaling the Serendipity Summit.  EGS is a personal dance with chance, but its potential impact can ripple outwards. Document your EGS exploits, share your stories, and inspire others to embrace the unexpected.

Create online communities or host face to face gatherings where serendipity seekers can connect and share their fortuitous encounters. By scaling EGS beyond individual endeavors, we can cultivate a culture of open-mindedness and chance encounters, one unexpected connection at a time.

The serendipitors’ spirit conquers any shade of pessimism.

Engineered Guerrilla Serendipity is a way of life. It’s a playful rebellion against the predictable routine.  It’s a potent tool for forging meaningful connections and igniting unexpected possibilities.



Why EGS Rocks.

Playground for Innovation. Ditch the boring routines and explore the world of unexpected connections. Imagine brainstorming with fellow artists at a community knitting class. How about a public speaking club?  I was a member of one for 12 years. You won’t believe the number of friends I made there. Worldwide friends. EGS throws open the doors to creativity and collaboration, all without breaking the bank.

Chance Encounters, Mastered. EGS isn't about aimlessly waiting for lady luck to smile. It's about strategically walking in the serendipity path. Love books? Join a quirky book club and swap stories with fellow bibliophiles. Passionate about sustainability? Volunteer at a local community garden and meet eco-warriors like yourself. The possibilities are endless!

Say that again - The enlightened Serendipitor is Member of the Social Serendipity Club

EGS is open to All, Cash Is Not Required.    EGS is the ultimate equalizer. No fancy suits, no hefty price tags required. Just bring your wit, your touch of resourcefulness, and a willingness to embrace the unexpected. Suddenly, the shy bookworm can find their voice in a lively discussion, and the broke artist can connect with potential patrons at a free art exhibition.

Wait.  There's More We Can Do.

Don't Just Throw Spaghetti at the Wall.  Prepare yourself by thinking about what you hope to gain from these encounters. Craving tech connections? Hit up that computers hardware builders club. Volunteer at the local volunteer clinic. (I do). Intentionality is the key to making EGS work its magic.  Go to your local library. Pull out the first book on the top shelf next to the window…. What does it tell you? Write and post a book review on Good Reads.

You got your blog. You publish. Your name is indexed on Google. Now launch a second blog. I syndicate six different blogs on six different platforms.

Be Real, Not Phony.  EGS thrives on genuine connections. Ditch the forced networking smiles and let your inner weirdo show. Share your knowledge, offer your time, and celebrate the wins of others. When we're real, serendipity follows us. 

Still not convinced? Go on a blind date.
Still not convinced? Miriam Farbstein was a divorced mother of three. She went on a blind date in NY. The man she dated happened to own a casino house in Las Vegas. What a serendipitous encounter.  Today she ranks the 42th richest woman in the world. Her name is now Miriam Adelson. There are more like her. Read about them in my other blog post titled Financial Serendipity.

How about Julia Koch. She went on a blind date on January 1991. Today her net worth is estimated at $59 billion.

Serendipity is Magnanimous.  It’s Generous.  Share the gospel of serendipity. Spread it.  Don't hoard your EGS stories like a squirrel with acorns! Share your adventures, document your encounters, post them on your blogs and inspire others to embrace the unexpected. Create online communities, host offline gatherings, and let the serendipity wave roll.

Remember, the most extraordinary and fortunate encounters often happen when you least expect them. Now go forth and embrace the guerrilla serendipity within!

Read that last sentence again.

Share your stories. Here is one of my adventurous flights with a bush pilot running (almost) into the frozen granite wall of Mount McKinley.

The frozen granite wall view from a bush pilot passenger seat.

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*   Serendipity

- It's like finding a hidden gem in a thrift store or bumping into your bestie at a random cafe—those happy surprises that make life feel like a movie montage.

- Imagine this: you're strolling through a park, minding your own business, and BAM! You spot a four-leaf clover.  That's serendipity, baby!

- It's the universe winking at you, saying, "Hey, I've got your back."


*   Engineered Serendipity

Ethan Zuckerman, a director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, defines engineered serendipity as the idea “…that we can help people come across unexpected but helpful connections at a better than random rate. And in some ways, it’s based on trying to reassess this notion of serendipitous as lucky — to think of serendipitous as smart.”

- This is when you get kinda sneaky and generate opportunities for the magical encounters to happen.

- Set up a party for your friends with the goal of sparking unexpected connections and conversations.

- Design a playground for chance encounters, where the unexpected is always welcome and appreciated.

- Never, Never eat alone. Always share your bread.

- Attend public square demonstrations, political rallies, charitable fund raising events, 

- The best of romance – Whahoo.  Think of those dating apps – harmony, match, tinder, grindr  all of them match you based on your love of hiking, poetry, romance, pizza, tacos, sex and  those co-working spaces that bring together entrepreneurs and artists under one roof.

Become a lifelong Student.    Every day is an opportunity to discover something new. Read widely, delve into podcasts on diverse topics, and attend lectures or workshops that pique your interest.


Curiosity is the fuel that propels you towards uncharted territories, where serendipity thrives.

Ask "why" and "how" relentlessly.  Don't settle for surface-level understanding. Question everything, from everyday occurrences to complex ideas. This childlike inquisitiveness can unlock hidden connections and lead you down fascinating rabbit holes, often revealing unexpected treasures.

Collect experiences like souvenirs.   Seek out unique adventures, whether it's attending a local festival, taking a solo trip, or trying a new hobby.

Travel.  Each experience, even if seemingly unrelated, adds a brushstroke to the canvas of your life, creating the potential for serendipitous intersections down the line.

I imagine curiosity as my personal serendipity magnet. The more curious I’m the stronger it gets, pulling unexpected opportunities and connections your way. Here's how:

I’m a knowledge sponge.  I dive into anything that sparks my interest, whether it's a weird science documentary, an AI class, or chatting up a stranger with a cool hat. You never know where hidden gems are waiting to be discovered.


I try to be a social butterfly.   Curiosity makes me more approachable, like a human "talk to me" sign. I strike up conversations with strangers, explore online communities, and attend events.

Mark Victor Hansen published - Ask  that book is, as usual for him - a bestseller….   Curiosity is basically a million unanswered questions. Ask them all! You'll see things from new angles, spot hidden connections, and uncover possibilities you never even thought of.

I don't ignore the "hmm...”   Life throws curveballs, sometimes disguised as coincidences. When something catches your eye, even if it seems random, pay attention! It might lead to an amazing discovery or a life-changing connection.

I trust my gut feeling. Sometimes curiosity whispers things that seem illogical. But hey, who needs logic when you can have awesome adventures? Follow your hunches and see where they take you – you might surprise yourself!

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Remember, serendipity is all about being open to the unexpected. So crank up your curiosity, put on your explorer hat, and get ready for some amazing surprises!

Serendipity shows up in all places and all amounts, at all times. Earlier last month I was waiting to board a flight to ORD.  The regional jet was oversold and overweight. The captain required two volunteers to give up their seats. Do that in return for compensation from United.  I volunteered cause I’d sometime to spare. I bought this ticket by using my frequent flyer miles (gratuity by JP Morgan Chase credit card). The bottom line; the next day I arrived to Chicago on a free ride and was paid for it $1000.  I can use it for a first class free flight to LVNV. If I want…

I Know and I Practice the Power of Connections

I recommend that you be connector, not just a collector.

Actively build bridges between people you know. Introduce colleagues with shared interests, connect friends from different social circles, or simply spark conversations between strangers. You never know what connections might blossom, leading to unforeseen collaborations, opportunities, or even friendships.

Practice the art of "weak ties".  Don't underestimate the power of casual acquaintances. Sometimes, serendipity strikes through unexpected encounters with people you might not consider close friends. Be open to conversations with the barista, the person next to you on the bus, or the vendor at the market. You might be surprised by the insights and connections that emerge from these seemingly fleeting interactions.

Never Eat Alone. Never.  Always offer to share your bread with another.

Join communities that ignite you.   Surround yourself with folks who share and augment your passions, whether it's a book club, a volunteer organization, or an online forum. These communities act as fertile ground for cross-pollination of ideas, fostering serendipitous collaborations and discoveries that wouldn't have happened in isolation.

Cultivate the Serendipity Mindset

Befriend chance encounters.

Never. Never dismiss social coincidences as mere luck.  Figure out this question: does the random encounter mean something to you? What does it mean?

Pay attention to recurring themes, seemingly unplanned meetings; or unusual incidents. They might be nudges from the universe, pointing you towards unexplored paths or hidden opportunities.

Celebrate imperfection.   Let go of the need for rigid planning and control. Embrace the messiness of life, the unexpected detours, and the unplanned moments. Often, the most serendipitous discoveries happen when we surrender to the flow and allow ourselves to be surprised.

Keep a Serendipity Journal.       Huh?

Jot down interesting encounters, ideas, or observations throughout your day. Reviewing these entries later can reveal hidden patterns, connections, or serendipitous threads you might have missed initially. It's like creating a treasure map of your own unique journey, highlighting the unexpected gems that life throws your way.

Serendipity is an ongoing adventure, not a destination.

Get used to that!

As you cultivate curiosity, embrace human connections, and adopt a serendipity  mindset, you'll find that the map unfolds itself, revealing delightful surprises and guiding you towards a life filled with wonder and unexpected joy. So, put on your explorer's hat, embrace the unknown, and get ready to be surprised by the magic of serendipity!

The Common Denominator of everything said from the top down to this line – We sell ourselves wherever we are. We are always on sale to the world.

Bottom One Liners to Take Home

- Hug the unexpected moments, because they lead to things amazing.

- It’s cool to create little chaos in your life and watch what happens.

- After all, life's a lot more fun when you make room for surprises.

- Serendipity is an ongoing adventure, not a destination.

Mitad El Mundo. Quito Ecuador.

Do you know what are the Lender Combinations?

Join me next time for Serendipity Adventures on one of my six blogs.

Read my book The Master Attractor.


Tags: #engineeredguerrillaserendipity  #serendipitylane  #enlightenedserendipitor  #guerrillaserendipity #lendercombinations  

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