Many breakthrough ideas and inventions weren’t planned. They were a result of what’s known as, the “Serendipity Effect.” It’s the ability to make fortunate and unexpected discoveries by accident.
People often think that great inventions and discoveries are come about as a result of hard work, research and development. Nope. Many breakthroughs happen in the strangest ways when they’re least expected. The world is full of errors, bloopers and blunders that resulted in a wealth of great ideas and inventions.
Accidental discoveries include, Penicillin, Smallpox vaccine, X-rays, the telephone, Velcro, Teflon, Scotchgard, Post-it notes, Ivory Soap, the Walkman, Silly Putty, WD-40, potato chips, donuts, bubble gum, Lifesavers, NutraSweet, Coca-Cola, glass, aspirin, blue jeans, sunscreen, semiconductor manufacturing, the laser, microwave oven and even the World Wide Web.
Here’s another example. One day, Dr. Roger Callahan, a prominent psychologist was treating a female patient for a water phobia. She had this fear all her life. After a year and a half of therapy, Dr. Callahan wasn’t making much headway.
He decided to try some unusual new ideas he had been studying. When he did, he was astonished to find his patient’s fear of water completely gone in less than two minutes. Miraculous? Not really. Just a breakthrough technique anyone can learn to do. One of Dr. Callahan’s students, Gary Craig, eventually used the core of these methods to create EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).
(For more information on the Serendipity Effect see the book by Royston Roberts titled, Serendipity: Accidental Discoveries in Science.)
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