Entrepreneurs Like Richard Branson and Mark Cuban Embrace the Serendipity Mindset. You Ought to Too

One day in 1984 Richard Branson was sitting at an airport in Puerto Rico and really wanted to fly to the British Virgin Islands with American Airlines.

Then American canceled the flight.

Frustrated, 28-year-old Branson went to the back of the airport and rented a plane with a credit card. He borrowed a blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines: One Way to the Virgin Islands, $ 39”, walked around the airport … and managed to fill the plane.

When the flight landed in the Virgin Islands, one passenger said, “Sharpen the service a little and you can be in the airline business.”

The next day, Branson called Boeing and asked if they had any used 747s for sale.

Starting an airline hadn’t been on Branson’s radar until he was “lucky” to have his flight canceled.

Research shows that traits such as passion, mental hardship, constant learning, and willingness to take risks lead to greater success. Hard work is usually rewarded. Persistence is often the difference between success and failure; give up, and failure is guaranteed. Smart risk sometimes pays off – and if not, what you learn from new experiences makes success more likely next time.

If you are working, overthinking, overwhelmed, and other people survive, the chances that you will be successful are much higher.

The serendipity mindset

However, studies show that luck also plays a role. Success is based on factors that you cannot control. To be in the right place at the right time. Meet the right person at the right time. Experience something that you weren’t necessarily looking for.

And then, since our lives are often influenced by the unexpected and the unplanned (hi ​​Covid-19!) To seize the moment that the opportunity may present.

This is what Dr. Christian Busch in his book The Serendipity Mindset, The Art and Science of Creating Happiness, the “Serendipity Mindset”.

Dr. Busch writes: “Unanticipated events, chance meetings and bizarre coincidences are not just minor distractions or stains in our well-oiled lives. The unexpected is often the deciding factor – it is often the force that makes the biggest difference.” in our life.”

For Branson, this meant renting a plane and paying for the cost by selling tickets to other passengers instead of waiting for a flight the next day. And then he realized he could create a better airline than the established brands.

For Steve Jobs, this meant realizing that his relationship with Steve Wozniak can lead to more than a mutual appreciation for electronics and pranks. For Stephen Hawking, this meant taking the “opportunity” his disability presented to avoid teaching, lecturing and attending committee meetings, and instead devoting himself fully to research.

For Mark Cuban, this meant opening an internet business at the perfect time – and being smart enough to sell. According to Cubans, “life is semi-random”.

According to Dr. For Busch, cultivating serendipity is primarily about looking at the world with open eyes and seeing opportunities that others don’t. It’s not just about being in the right place at the right time and letting something happen for us (blind happiness), but a process in which we can be actively involved. “

How can you develop a serendipity mindset?

Get to know more people. Try more things. If things don’t go according to plan, don’t step back. Step forward. Embrace what feels like chaos and see where it goes.

Have a goal, have a plan … then be ready to maneuver. What seems like the wrong place may actually be the right place. What seems like a chance meeting could be the start of an important partnership or collaboration.

What looks like bad luck can lead you to stumble upon an idea, a market, a new business …

As long as you are open to the possibility.

The opinions expressed by Inc.com columnists here are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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