Kathy Sierra and the Serendipity Factor

I try and avoid the “me-too” factor that has dominated the land of blogs for most of the time I have been involved in it. Simply aping one persons comments with a slight variation, or personal interpretation doesn’t add much to the initial thrill of finding the original germ of an idea.

Kathy Sierra, someone who has been quoted and analyzed multiple times in this blog, has hit another double to the wall. She talks about the value of serendipity, randomness, in exposing us to new ideas and concepts, ones that we would not have run across in our siloed, standardized lives.

Yesterday was a great example of this for me. Something I read a post on Notebookism that spoke of outsider art or Art Brut. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and spiralled into a 90-minute voyage of discovery into this genre of expression, fueled not by training and ideology, but by a raw, unchecked need to express the world in an artistic way.

I would have never gone down this path unless I had read the Notebookism post, and would have been hard-pressed to find structured explanations (whatever you may think of them) of the topics without Wikipedia.

As I explore myself, and examine the foundations that support my cracked mental structure, I find that I appreciate the random explorations far more than a formal education process. I don’t learn the way that we have been taught.

I prefer to discover.

And when you get right down to the basics of Kathy’s post, that’s what she is saying. People are far more enthusiastic, receptive, and amazed when they discover something for themselves.

It may be an old idea to you. I may not interest you. But when a person gets that gleam in their eye, that rush in their mind, when they get the “WOW!“, then they are committed.

Personally, I am finding that I am having a lot more WOW! moments lately. The combination of therapy, and my medications, has forced me to look at the world that I live in, and the world that I have created, substantially different than I have for the last 15 years.

I am re-discovering the joy and awe of discovery. There is so much out there that gets left behind when your mind is absorbed, consumed, by a single devouring purpose. I am awakening from that period, and finding that my mental indigestion requires the soothing relief of the new and unexpected.

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