Yeah, like he said…


Yesterday I wrote about serendipity, purpose, and some words of wisdom from Joi Ito.  It just came to my attention that my friend John Lilly wrote a great blog post a while back dealing with many of the same themes, plus he ties them to the importance of living within a strong network.  Or in a less techie way of putting it, by surrounding yourself with great people and opportunities.

Here's an excerpt — I just love this stuff:

..for most of the important
turning points in my life, I treated them with a little less seriousness
than, you know, buying my next iPod. Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t
recognize that sometimes decisions would have effects, or that I didn’t
take them seriously. What I’m saying is that a bunch of decisions that I
thought were really important turned out to be not important at all,
and some things I decided to do just for fun changed everything (like
when I went to visit an old high school friend in Jamaica who would
eventually become my wife.)

Here’s a quick story to illustrate a turning point that I didn’t
realize until much later. When I was a junior in college, I had decided
to major in computer science, and was starting to get interested in
something called Human Computer Interaction — designing systems for
people to be able to use them effectively. I went to a lunchtime seminar
by a guy named Robert Cailliau — a physicist from Switzerland of all
places — and he brought with him a giant black computer called a NeXT —
Steve Jobs’ creation that would eventually turn into the Macintosh that
we know today. He started giving a demo of a program where you could
bring up a page full of text and pictures, and click on blue underlined
text to get to other pages full of text and pictures. And I remember
saying to myself, “Huh, I guess that’s sort of neat — text &
pictures, click click click.” And the next thing I remember was waking
up when everyone was gathering up all their stuff to leave — I had
fallen asleep — and missed, of course, the first demonstration I’d ever
seen (or most people had ever seen) of the World Wide Web. So there you
go — one of those powerful inflection points in my life — and I slept
through it.

never know when a decision you make is going to have a profound effect
in your life. At least, I’ve never been able to tell. So my coping
strategy — what I do to make everything work for me — is try to put
myself into situations where there are tons of great choices, tons of
great people, tons of great outcomes possible — so that it makes the
odds that I make some really important & good choices that much

Of course, it also helps to be smart, well-educated (formally and informally), and willing to work hard.  But obviously context and what you make of it really matters.

Focus on everything!

photo credit: Joi Ito