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“In my work as an entrepreneur, and later an academic, [I have seen that] the most purpose-driven, successful and inspiring people seem to have something in common, which is that they intuitively cultivate serendipity. They somehow see something in the unexpected and then turn that into positive outcomes.” – Christian Busch

Have you ever seen someone who has achieved success and wondered how that person has done it, or what his or her “secret” was? Today’s Finding Brave guest shares his personal story and findings in studying the topics of luck and serendipity, along with the ways that each of us can start cultivating serendipity in our own lives and organizations. 

Dr. Christian Busch directs the CGA Global Economy Program at New York University, and also teaches at the London School of Economics. Previously, he co-directed the LSE’s Innovation Lab and co-founded the Sandbox Network as well as Leaders on Purpose. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Expert Forum, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and among Diplomatic Courier’s “Top 99 Influencers” as well as the Thinkers50 Radar list of 30 thinkers “most likely to shape the future.” Christian’s bestselling book, The Serendipity Mindset , has been highlighted as a “wise, exciting, and life-changing book” (Arianna Huffington).

As Christian reveals, once you become aware of the key differences between luck and serendipity, you can indeed create your own “smart luck.” The practical tips he gives in this episode can help you overcome the biases that hold you back from having more of this luck in your life. 

As always, we want to hear how these strategies work for you, so please share your takeaways and experiences with us, and here’s to helping you create more “luck” in your own life moving forward! And do check out my Forbes interview with Christian this week on A Science-Based Framework Helps Individuals and Organizations Experience More Good Luck for more information. 

Highlights from this Episode:

  • What led Christian to begin learning about “the serendipity mindset” [5:24]

  • The ways that you can cultivate a mature and intimate relationship with your intuition and your gut [8:47]

  • What serendipity is all about, and the relationship between it and potentiality [19:11]

  • How blind luck and smart luck differ, and what you should understand about both [20:40]

  • How paying attention to our response to the situations we experience will play a key role in the “smart luck” we cultivate [22:12]

  • Why having a genuinely generous or giving spirit is not the same as instrumentally giving [24:38]

  • The ways that having a positive outlook on life can foster luck and bring more of it to you [28:57]

  • Practical ways to thrive in the world as a giver, when we see so many people focused on the taking part [33:31]

For More Information:

His Latest Book, The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck 

Resources Mentioned:


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Other resources mentioned:

Kathy’s Forbes interview with Christian Busch, A Science-Based Framework Helps Individuals and Organizations Experience More Good Luck

Christian’s TEDx Talk, Building and Sustaining Impact Organizations

Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule (Paul Graham Blog Post) 

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Oli Barrett’s Website

Kathy’s Forbes Post with Adam Grant, 7 Ways Successful People Give Abundantly Without Burning Out

Finding Brave Episodes 155 & 156 with Lorna & Aideen Byrne 

Kathy’s Forbes Post, How Professionals And Organizations Need To Prepare For The ‘Great Resignation’

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey, Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success & Other Free Resources

Her TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Kathy’s Amazing Career Project video training course & 6 Dominant Action Styles Quiz

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“The reaction to the unexpected moment, that is what created that serendipity, or you missed it because you didn’t act in that moment.” [8:06]

“The gut is such a beautiful subconscious brain that probably knows, a lot of times, more than our consciousness. So, essentially we can listen to it and see what is it trying to tell us” [10:54]

“When you think about serendipity, it is so much about potentiality. It is about seeing a little bit more in the situation than could be there.” [16:52]

“We cannot always pick the stimulus, but we can always pick our response to that stimulus.” [19:53]

“How can we, as a giver, thrive in a world where a lot of people are taking? How do you define that boundary?” [31:12]

Watch video versions of my interviews on Finding Brave! 

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