I first came across the word Serendipity about 3 decades ago in the Chambers Dictionary and fell in love with the word after reading its etymology – here is an excerpt from Oxford dictionary blog:
It was invented by the writer and politician Horace Walpole in 1754 as an allusion to Serendip, an old name for Sri Lanka. Walpole was a prolific letter writer, and he explained to one of his main correspondents that he had based the word on the title of a fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip, the heroes of which ‘were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of ’.
Incidentally, the original Persian name for Sri Lanka (and in earlier times Ceylon) was Sarandib, a corruption of the Sanskrit Sinhaladvipa which literally meant ‘the island where lions dwell’. Sinhalese, or Sinhala, is still the name of one of Sri Lanka’s national languages, the other being Tamil.
Yesterday, I was having yet another discussion with a friend on why Serendipity is a “critical factor” in our lives. Serendipity is important because there are treasures hidden in unexplored places, unknown people and unread books. If you are used to taking regular “well traveled” routes then you are almost surely missing out on “happy accidents”. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan, calls them “free lotteries” and advises “maximizing serendipity” in our lives by being open to new experiences.
I suggest a step ahead – let us be proactive and aggressive in inviting Serendipity in our lives – by learning how to flow freely in life – more about it in the next post on this topic.