Watch the TedTalk, what do you learn about what actions we can take to develop a serendipity mindset to spot more opportunities around us?
Record your observations and turn them into tips or techniques.
I want to talk about a way of thinking that has helped me become far happier, and will maybe help you too. I call this everyday serendipity. And it integrates three of the most important skills that you need for leading a happy life, resilience, optimism and appreciation. And when you use these three skills together, you can greatly improve the quality of your life, and discover what you need while you’re often looking for what you think you want. Now, when we think of serendipity, we think of happy accidents. And there’s no finer example, than the 16 year old john lennon meeting, the 15 year old Paul McCartney had a garden fate in 1957, what incredible good fortune that these two musical geniuses should be living in Liverpool at the same time, and come together and go on to form the Beatles. But I want to turn from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones to explain the type of serendipity but I’m talking about today, which is serendipity not as an event. But it’s a mindset that you can apply to all areas of your life. And in the words of our classic song, you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime you find you get what you need. And everyday serendipity is getting what you need, when you don’t necessarily get what you want or what you think you want. And everyday serendipity is a mindset that really reveals the extraordinary hidden treasures that are available to us all the time in our life.
And so quote, the great poet Rumi, it’s important to live life as if everything is rigged in your favour. Now, this always intrigued me this phrase was I don’t necessarily believe in everything is rigged in our favour. But what a way to look at your life as a process of looking for finding and following the clues. Because when you approach life with that way, you naturally look for what’s more positive, and what’s more serendipitous, but it’s also a way of thinking about the world that allows you to reinterpret your disasters in your life. Because what if what you think was a terrible event and a terrible experience turns out to be a very important experience, and one of the most valuable of your life. And I really learned about this firsthand, in my own life when I was like my very lowest point. It all started out very well in December 2006, I flew to Southern California and first class in my family, I’d achieved everything I ever wanted in life. I had a very successful business, I just been teaching and Oxford University, and just published my first book, we went to live in a wonderful home and exclusive community. And I had enough money never to work again, I spent my day walking on the beach, playing tennis, and reading by the pool. And then it all went disastrously wrong. Go forward five years to April 2011. And I was flying back to England, and economy class this time, and with my life shattered around me. I’ve been through a divorce, lost most of my money. And this free free businesses I started in the US had all failed. Now at first, I felt very sorry for myself. I indulged in self pity, and creative story, but I was a victim of circumstances of a recession of other people, and the world was conspiring against me.
But when somebody put a very intriguing question to me, they said, What if What happened to me it actually been good for me, what the fair is a different meanings. What happened, excuse me. On purpose idea, I started to change the whole way I thought about my, what I believe was a personal crisis. And I started to see that losing the life for my aforetime wanted, had led me to life and I actually needed, it took me a long time to figure it out. But when I did figure it out, everything started to make perfect sense. Because I realised, but I’ve been living my life on a lie, I built a persona that was based on everything going right of always getting what I wanted. But when this persona was stripped away, it revealed something far more substantial, something far more significant, because I had to lose my persona to discover my true self. And my true self had everything that I needed to be happy now. And this was a real epiphany for more for me, because I spent so much of my time in my life, trying to always follow my desires always to be more and more successful, and that’s a completely unsustainable way to live.
So I had to lose everything to really clarify and understand what was most important in my life. And I became far less successful at making money, but far more successful at making a life. And I learned to live a far more simple life. So I spend my time now walking, reading, writing, and reading, tating and I don’t fixate on trying to improve my material position, and I try and stay in one place and really enjoy what I have. Because sometimes your world has to be really shaken up for you to understand what’s most important. And sometimes what seems like a disaster can turn out to be a triumph in disguise, and make complete sense from a wiser and wider perspective. Especially with the benefit of hindsight. It’s all about how you see what’s happening to you. In words, for decades, you can turn the worst times into the best of times and words of Proust, the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. And I learned to develop new eyes and see the world very differently. And for the first time really enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
And no one wants to turn to my favourite movie Groundhog Day, because it’s the perfect story of everyday serendipity. It’s about the personal transformation of Phil conners play by Bill Murray, who believes he’s the unluckiest person in the world, only to discover that he is the luckiest person in the world, stuck in a town he hates on an ever repeating freezing day. He’s stuck for eternity with people who can’t stand and he feels completely desperate, his life seems to have no meaning. Then he’s given a completely different interpretation of his situation by his producer, read so play by Andy McDowell, who says to him, maybe it’s not a curse, it just depends on how you look at it. spurred on by this insight, he goes on to transform the worst day of his life into the best day of his life.
He learns to love the very same people town and rituals, but he had previously despised and he finds true happiness in the place, he least expects it. And this is the essence of everyday serendipity is uncovering the hidden treasures that are always available to all of us if we just stop and look for them. And if we stopped wanting more all the time, and just learn to appreciate what we have, we find that happiness is fair for us over time. And for me, probably the most valuable lesson in life is that the key to happiness is not keep on trying to change your circumstances, but to enjoy more of what you have, and that you can make every day serendipitous when you choose to change your mindset and bear three particular techniques that you can use today to improve the quality of your life. So next time you don’t get what you want, you’re rejected by a friend, an exam goes wrong, or you don’t get the promotion you wanted. apply these three steps. And the first steps is to be resilient. Take responsibility for responding to what happens to you, you can always choose a more elegant and more powerful response to setbacks. Bad things are gonna happen. But we don’t always know what they mean when they do happen. To quote Kipling, we should treat triumph and disaster and treat these two impostors just the same.
Because it’s the story we tell ourselves, we can tell ourselves that we’re a victim, or we can choose to take a problem and turn it to our advantage and grow through being more resilience. And this is one of the most powerful lessons we can learn. The next way to practice everyday serendipity is to be more optimistic, and is to look at what’s good in our life, rather than always fixating on what’s wrong. So every day keep on asking this question, what is good about this, and if you ask us throughout the day, you’ll be amazed at the results. Maybe that power cup that’s so irritating leads you to have an intimate and inspiring conversation with an old friend, maybe not getting the job you really wanted leads you to making, meeting the love of your life, the job you do get, and maybe being ill for several weeks forces you to reevaluate, take stock, and transform your life. And you only would have gotten there by going through these misfortunes. Everything is a learning opportunity if you have the right mindset. And we know from countless studies in positive psychology that were more optimistic who are not only are you more happy, but you improve your emotional and your physical well being.
And the final most important skill is to be appreciative and this is the most important one. Because when we learn to really appreciate what we have, we contribute more to our happiness than any other skill. And don’t just wait for happy accidents go out and actively seek them. Because they’re out there all the time. We just need to look up from our smartphones, look up from our laptops and see that our lives are already magnificent. Just stop to consider the incredible accidents and coincidences that brought you here today. Think of your parents meeting and giving birth Juba think comfortable obvious about happening and their parents doing the same and parents before them go back 1000s of generations. I know we’ve all your heart and mind. But whatever happens to in life, your life is already serendipitous beyond measure. And the key is to restore the balance from spending a lot of time focusing on what you don’t have, and really focusing on being grateful, because psychologists now know that gratitude is the absolute heart and key to happiness.
So when you wake up in the morning, really focused on the fact that your life is already serendipitous, what is more miraculous than the priceless gift of life, and having another day on planet Earth? Every day, try and remember the great words of Einstein are only two ways to live your life. One is fun, nothing is a miracle and the other is foe, everything is a miracle. Spend each day counting every blessing, savouring every moment, every breath, because your life truly is miraculous. Thank you.