Sunday Sparks Issue 6: Serendipity, Creating Online, and Planting Seeds for Tomorrow
Gooooood evening and Happy Sunday!
We're headed into the second week of February—a great time to check in with yourself and make sure you're sticking with your resolutions. One thing I noticed in the middle of last week was that we have a perfectly rectangular calendar for this month:
This happens once every 200 years! Hopefully, this is an additional motivation for you to get out your calendar and create an X-effect for yourself.
Here are some finds that inspired me last week:
We often think of luck as a thing that happens to us in a predetermined, uncontrollable way. This article argues that luck can be manufactured and people can increase the amount of serendipity in their lives.
By cultivating a "serendipity mindset" and challenging how you see the world, you can expose yourself to more lucky events. Some concrete practices laid out in the article to build your serendipity muscle:
Declutter your life: Clean up the minutiae so that they no longer take up space in your daily life, leaving you to focus your cognitive, emotional, and physical attention on more important things.
Employ serendipity practices:
- The serendipity hook challenge: whenever you meet someone new, cast serendipity hooks—concrete examples of your hobbies, interests, and ideas—which will maximize the chance you and the other person will find common ground
- Reframe challenges, mistakes, and setbacks as opportunities
Carve out me-time: spend time every day on things that interest you and plant seeds for future you.
Get in the habit of journaling:
Set a timer for two minutes, then list out in two columns the parts of your day that led to positive outcomes and the parts of the day that did not. As you break down your day into these segments, examine the parts that worked really well for you, and the ones that were inefficient, stressful, or unfulfilling. You might begin to notice some patterns that stand out, for good or bad."
I'm currently trying to get better at journaling and reflecting on my day.
Although the pandemic created an overall negative situation for almost everybody, cultivating a serendipity mindset will help you navigate the stresses of the chaos. Now, I do acknowledge that this remark is coming from a place of extreme privilege, but I believe that following the practices laid out in this article will help increase your luck surface area. As the author says:
It is about seeing bridges where others see gaps and then taking initiative and action(s) to create smart luck. Serendipity is a guiding force in great scientific discoveries but it’s also present in our everyday lives, in the smallest of moments as well as the greatest life-changing events.
One of the most predictable ways to increase your luck surface area is to show your work. Despite how clickbaity this title sounds, the video is a great motivator to document your work and share your experiences consistently on the internet. It eases a lot of the concerns I (still) have on sharing my ideas online. While the "How to be lucky" article gives you ways of increasing serendipity in your immediate surrounding, this video explains how you can scale your serendipity mindset to a global level. As Ali describes, having a body of work you created online creates a "serendipity vehicle" that increases the amount of luck that can happen in your life.
Also in this video, Austin Kleon talks about how by practicing your creating muscles, you find out what you have to say. For me, while Sunday Sparks is a great way to share what's on my mind with you (❤️), it has also helped me discover and clarify what I'm thinking about.
Ali also talks about how creating online leads to a "butterfly effect". Shipping something small today will give you the confidence to do something big in the future. The seeds you plant today will bloom in the future and you will be thankful for today-you when the day comes.
In this article, Austin Kleon shows the diaries he has maintained for 4 years and describes why he's doing it with this story:
Despite all the chaotic events around us, we still have a chance to make something beautiful. As he says,
What seeds are you planting now that will flower long after this pandemic, this administration… maybe even this life?
I’m hopeful and I’m happy, today, but I still have the same mission:
Stay alive, get weird, and plant your seeds.
If you want to see inside Austin's notebook, check out his Instagram. It's visual ASMR.
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If you have any thoughts about this issue, I would love to hear them! Reply to this email or find me on Twitter!
Lastly, I want to leave with a question—What's something you're doing (or hoping to do) today for future you?
Until we meet again,