I did not predict or plan the best experiences in my life. Here is how I explain this to friends.
Smart people get frustrated when they want more from life and are not sure how to get it.
The opportunities they want are not finite (like graduate school acceptance or a job at Goldman Sachs). They want opportunities best described by feelings (like freedom or purpose).
I call these “invisible opportunities“. We know they exist, but we can’t see them easily.
Unlike graduate school acceptance, there’s no clear path for invisible opportunities. Invisible opportunities feel distant and out of our control.
Frustration is a reasonable reaction. But look closer – much of our lives is the result of events unpredictable and out of our control. Think of things like when, where, and to whom you were born (most of us are already lucky).
Accepting we’re not in total control shouldn’t make us nihilists. It should change the way we pursue what we want when a path isn’t obvious.
You’ve seen others find invisible opportunities. Copying them exactly will not make you happy. You cannot create a fulfilled life by following someone else’s recipe. Because what you want is not their outcome – it’s the joy of their journey.
Once, when I was at a crossroads, I read the following quote in The Alchemist:
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Is that true? Is wanting something enough to change the world to make it happen?
It could be. We could call the universe conspiring to help us luck. I prefer to call it “the art of serendipity“.
Serendipity isn’t the universe changing – it’s us changing. Changing the way we interact with our universe and help ourselves.
We can create our own serendipity by taking small steps. Reaching out to strangers; learning new things; taking chances. The sum of these small steps makes invisible opportunities appear. Those invisible opportunities tend to be the best experiences of life.
Small steps create incredible journeys, even when it’s not obvious where you’re going.