Proactive serendipity is a game of two halves: the proactive is about working hard to accumulate knowledge and skills which are then available to make you aware of possibilities. Young Simon booted his final exams at Oxford and so was ineligible to carry on doing his PhD at same-old-same-old Oxford . . . but he went to U. Exeter where he had a great time anyway. I worked really hard in my final two years as an undergraduate student in TCD. But I wasn't working at all at the correct coal-face to ace my exams. Indeed I was
If you think it's about being lucky in my choices, as Simon Clark felt fortunate to have washed up in Exeter, then I don't think that's quite the issue - for either of us. If you frame it right, any road is the right road, because it is less about the destination than about the journey. I'll quote here an enigmatic verse from a Ithaka by the Alexandrine Greek poet C.P.Cafavy.
|Greek by Cafavy||Tr: Edm Keeley/Ph Sherrard|
|Πάντα στον νου σου νάχεις την Ιθάκη. Το φθάσιμον εκεί είν’ ο προορισμός σου. Aλλά μη βιάζεις το ταξείδι διόλου. Καλλίτερα χρόνια πολλά να διαρκέσει· και γέρος πια ν’ αράξεις στο νησί, πλούσιος με όσα κέρδισες στον δρόμο, μη προσδοκώντας πλούτη να σε δώσει η Ιθάκη.||Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you are old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you have gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.|