It can come from anywhere at any moment. Most of the time, believe it or not, it comes when we are lost or up against the wall in our efforts. The path in the picture above turned out to be something I never thought I would have expected to travel. It was unexpected where it took me. I was supporting someone else in their work, it wasn’t meant for me.
You never know where that next idea or creative moment will come from.
When we venture off that well beaten path, sometimes we find things that are better or more exciting than what we were originally looking for.
Take a moment and write down on a piece or paper the times in your life when one thing has led to something entirely different. How did you land where you are? How about the last time you went online looking for one thing and instead found another thing that caught you curiosity more?
Franklin Adams put it this way:
“I find the great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.”
How do you open yourself to be ready for that?
Here’s some suggestions to get you started and then I’ll end with some great experts that did just that.
- Loosen up your preconceptions about what you expect to find. Be open minded.
- Pay special attention to what’s irrelevant or abnormal. Don’t ignore it.
- Use what you discover as a stepping stone to something that can be completely different.
We spend a lot of time not adopting the different because we’re to focused on filtering information that is irrelevant as it hits us. Most of the time we are to narrowly focused on a specific point to see it. We pass up an incredible opportunity. When we are relaxed, and dare I say a little playful is when we will see things we don’t see.
Heraclitus below states it very simply.
“Expect the unexpected, or you won’t find it.”
Here are some others that did just that.
- Karl Jensky was improvising a new antenna to study the effects of telephone static. Instead, he discovers radio waves from the Milky Way galaxy along with the science of radio astronomy.
- The year is 1856 and the chemist William Perkin was looking for a synthetic to combat malaria. Instead he discovers something completely different called a dyestuff (mauve) that becomes the first practical synthetic color. In so doing, launches the specialty chemicals industry. The dyestuffs our clothes are made from.
- A biologist in 1984 by the name of Alex Jeffreys was studying the gene of the muscle protein myoglobin. He stumbles instead on a stretch of DNA in the middle of that gene that varied greatly from one individual to another. This led him to the best work of his career and towards creating the “DNA fingerprinting”. This revolutionized forensic science to what we know it today.
When has you own life led to something entirely different than what you originally set out for it to be? Here’s some challenges for you as you start this week out.
- In what new direction might your path lead you? Give it a thought and write it out. Look for the crossroad and take the path you wouldn’t expect to take.
- How do you practice more of your ability to release your preconceptions about what you think is important?
- What would open up if you completely threw your original plans out the window? What would happen if you went rogue?
If you feel things are getting to serious and focused, this is your queue to stop. Take a moment before you move on. Take a look around you in that moment. Find something that is different. Then feed it!
Have a great start to your week. Thanks for reading, and we’ll catch up again in the middle of the week. Love to hear by then from you on what you did differently to pay attention to the unexpected.