"A connecting principle
— the Police, Synchronicity
People, places and events come into our lives for a reason. We rarely fully appreciate or even notice them. Often we'll observe a confluence of them and comment on what a "coincidence" we've experienced. Well, after 15 years in the venture industry, I strongly believe that there are no coincidences but rather synchronicity in our everyday lives. There are invisible webs that hold them together and it is our responsibility to be curious enough to examine and enjoy them.
We race around, head down, failing to observe the greater picture. Great entrepreneurs, successful authors, wise everyday people all seem to have a gift of standing back and seeing this activity in the periphery. They see connections between apparently unrelated events or trends and create/uncover new realities. They see, connected to a set back, a lesson and a message to head in a different direction (rather bemoan their poor "luck"). If you ever catch your self commenting on something being "ironic" or "quite the coincidence", stop and look around. There is usually something bigger going on and you should be more curious and open to what that new reality is.
"Jung believed the traditional notions of causality were incapable of explaining some of the more improbable forms of coincidence. Where it is plain, felt Jung, that no causal connection can be demonstrated between two events, but where a meaningful relationship nevertheless exists between them, a wholly different type of principle is likely to be operating. Jung called this principle "synchronicity."
In The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Jung describes how, during his research into the phenomenon of the collective unconscious, he began to observe coincidences that were connected in such a meaningful way that their occurrence seemed to defy the calculations of probability. He provided numerous examples from his own psychiatric case-studies, many now legendary.
"A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me her dream, I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to the golden scarab that one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetoaia urata) which contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt an urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since, and that the dream of the patient has remained unique in my experience." The Scarab represented Self-Generation, Resurrection and Renewal.
We live in a non-linear world that defies our linear thinking (just look at weather). We are focused on getting Jimmy to soccer or the project done at work or the report done for class. We can go through entire periods of our lives, jumping from one fire drill to the next and never tuning into the bigger symphony and the inter-related flows around us. This could be the random person on your plane, an article that catches your eye or an event you witness but move on. Life's best experiences and lessons come from these synchronistic encounters.
If you want to be a good entrepreneur, a good parent, friend or partner, look around and try to see the forest from the trees. Introduce yourself to complete strangers, do random acts of kindness and force yourself to do things outside of your normal routine. Life is unpredictable and as the Rolling Stones said, "You don't get what you want but, sometimes, you get what you need."