Test Your Serendipity Skills

Assistant Editor Dan Hoffman finds out how aware he is of meaningful coincidences in his life.

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Posted in , May 16, 2016

Do you believe in serendipity or meaningful coincidence?

A couple of months ago, I blogged about the science of coincidences, pioneered by Dr. Bernard Beitman, a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia medical school, and author of Connecting with Coincidence: the New Science for Using Synchronicity and Serendipity in Your Life.

Included with the book was a test to determine how open readers are to the coincidences in their lives. Of course, the editors here at Mysterious Ways just had to take it.

Beitman believes—like we do—that coincidences are more than random occurrences. Instead, he argues that even though statistics prove these moments happen more often than we think, that fact doesn’t mean we should ignore them.

Coincidences can be meaningful on a personal level for those involved and to dismiss them as mere luck would be to miss out on special opportunities.

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Those of us who are more aware of the coincidences in our life—who count the times we bump into old friends unexpectedly, dream about someone just before they call, sense someone in distress at the very moment they need help—are more prone to follow where these coincidences may lead us.

Psychologist Carl Jung, called meaningful coincidences “synchronicity” and believed they could lead to psychological breakthroughs for his patients. Beitman believes they can lead us to a new job, romance, even our dreams coming true.

I took the survey (you can take it too, here) and passed it along to my co-editors.

Much to my chagrin, I scored low–a 25 or “somewhat closed” to coincidences (Mysterious Ways Managing Editor Adam Hunter scored a 50–“ultra sensitive” to coincidences, and Diana Aydin scored a 26).

The good thing, however, is that according to Beitman this isn’t set in stone. We can expand our openness and increase the frequency in which we experience synchronicity in our lives.

Last weekend, I put one of his ideas to the test. Beitman writes that “when the everyday web of our reality is torn, coincidences are more likely to appear.” Put simply—change your day up, see what happens. Instead of meeting my friends for breakfast, which I do nearly every weekend, I decided to go out by myself.

I chose a new place nearby and sat down at the counter with a book. When I wanted to mark a page, I realized I needed a pen, so I asked to borrow one from the girl sitting next to me.

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She asked me what I was reading. I told her about it, and then asked her the same question. She held her book up to show me–Synchronicity by Carl Jung, which I read from all the time when I’m at the office. “I’m reading it for an art project I’m working on,” she said.

I’m not sure what to make of it just yet. I’m pretty sure it’s not a romantic connection (but maybe that’s because I’m “somewhat closed” to coincidences.)

She invited me to her gallery opening in a few weeks. Even if the invitation seemed perfunctory, I think I’ll go, anyway. Who knows what it might lead to?

Tell us how you did on the test. Do you need to be more aware of coincidences in your life? Or do they happen all the time to you? What was the craziest? Share your stories with us.

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