Is a coincidence just…. a coincidence?

I don’t think so.  Not significant coincidences, anyway.  I consulted  for their definition of the word. One general consensus that has always resonated for me is that it is a sequence of events which,  although accidental, seem as if they are arranged or planned. If I were writing the dictionary, me being me, I’d say they   feel as if they are arranged or planned or meant to happen. So I’m not talking about a random thought of  an aquaintance  you once knew who meant nothing to your life and, soon after, you happen  to run into that person. And they still mean nothing to your life. That may be a coincidence but its boring, right? There is no feeling of significance about it.

 I’m talking more about how Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist, once described it, “Coincidence, if traced far enough back, becomes inevitable.” I don’t think he was talking about boring.

So think about a major coincidence in your life and tell me, if you will…what was it?



12 Responses to “Is a coincidence just…. a coincidence?”

  1. Steve Rosenbaum Says:

    You may have experienced this one. I work with a lot of independent consultants. I can’t tell you the number of times when they were short on work that this happened. They decided to take a nap. The phone rang offering a consulting job.

    We always joke that the best marketing plan is to take a nap.

  2. Stu Says:

    Interesting question. The first thing that jumps to my mind is the following:

    It was November 21, 1995. I had just quit my job at an auto parts store and was taking a one week break before starting a new job. The next day, I was planning to put my motorcycle (which I had just forked over $300 for, more than a week’s pay at the time, to put new tires on it) into winter storage for the next three months.

    But, the weather was warm for the time of year, just warm enough to get one more day of riding in. I had a private martial arts lesson that day, so I actually drove my car to take my ghi to the dojo, drove back home, then got on my motorcycle and rode it around for a bit before going to my lesson.

    I had my lesson, and on my way out, another student was stretching her toes. I asked her what she was doing. She told me she had broken her toes, and was stretching them so they wouldn’t stiffen up. I told her I was lucky because I had never broken a bone or had a major injury in my life (I was 21 at the time).

    I got on my motorcycle. I was wearing my helmet, which I normally didn’t do, because it was cold. I was also wearing my leather jacket, something else I normally would not have worn.

    Now, I had planned to go straight home after my lesson. But on the way, I passed this twisty road that I enjoyed riding on. So I veered off course to take the twisty road. After that, I was going to turn right to take the most direct path home, but changed my mind and turned left to go back up to one of my city’s busiest streets, just so I could get a little more riding time in.

    I drove up the busy street and came to an intersection. I was going to go straight another four blocks, then turn left, but for some reason I got it in my mind that there was construction going on ahead (there wasn’t, and I still don’t know why I thought there was) so I decided to turn left, believing I would miss the non-existent construction.

    After turning left, I traveled about 3 blocks when a little old lady, impatient due to the traffic, decided to pull a left-hand turn in front of me. She waited until the last possible second to pull out in front of me, leaving me no time to do anything but curse and haul back on the brakes, all of which was to no avail. Anyway, the accident nearly killed me, but I was “lucky” (people always tell me I’m lucky for some weird reason) enough to escape with just permanent nerve damage resulting in paralysis of my right arm along with part of my neck, chest, shoulder, and back. Nerve damage to part of my face makes it feel strange when touched, but otherwise the rest of me is fine.

    A couple months later, they installed a traffic light at the very intersection where my accident happened; something that almost certainly would have prevented my accident had they put it up earlier.

    The accident did a few things. I dropped out of martial arts (after going back for a time and injuring my hamstring), I had planned to re-enlist in the military but obviously would no longer be accepted, my then girlfriend and now wife became pregnant (I spent the next several months stuck on my back… not much else to do but, well, you know) thus bringing us our daughter and later two sons, and I went to college for two years.

    The college resulted in my getting a job with eBay, which got me a job as an eBay seller at a department store, which gave me vital experience to help me get a job at another company, which gave me the experience to get my current job at a director level and pay grade that has allowed me to buy a house for my family at long last.

    Four days ago was the 12 year anniversary of my motorcycle accident. It’s been a long road.

    Sorry for the long story.

  3. psychscribe Says:

    Hi Stu,
    Thanks for your post. I don’t mind the long story at all. Seems to me you view your whole life as a series of coincidences…

  4. psychscribe Says:

    Hi Steve,
    How is taking a nap and then the phone ringing with a job offer a coincidence? Sounds like your team has actually developed a superstition?
    With a smile,

  5. Steve Rosenbaum Says:

    It’s a coincidence that we all have had the same experience many times. We are all independents but we know each other.

  6. Stu Says:

    “Seems to me you view your whole life as a series of coincidences…”

    I guess that’s fair to say. I look back on life and think to myself I am where I am because of everything that has happened before (kind of a “well, duh!” statement, I know).

    That just reminded me… this might be a good fit for a coincidence story — and it will be shorter this time 😉

    I worked for a search engine in 2002. Four years later I’m at an eBay trade show where I run into a former search-engine coworker. We exchange phone numbers.

    A few months later, he co-founds an Internet marketing company and hires me as a director.

    Wow! I guess you can delete the life’s story I told earlier 🙂

  7. psychscribe Says:

    Stu, Not a “well, duh!” statement at all. Aren’t we all whre we are bz of everything that has happened before? I was just looking for coincidences that feel almost strange, with emotional impact, you know?

  8. psychscribe Says:

    Hi Steve,
    Got it!

  9. kevmoore Says:

    Mmm….I’m not sure if this sort of thing qualifies, but I always seem to know the right moment to move on professionally. For example, some years ago, I was tired of gigging night after night with my band, it was a lot of travelling, setting up etc, and I wanted to have a go at an easier, solo career. Once I make the change in my kind in this way, I am set on that path. I rang my agent and asked if she might have anything, knowing that she’d never handled solo acts before. “Funny you should ask” she said, and proceeded to tell me that a guy my band used to gig for had now begun working for a large cruise ship company. Suffice to say, within a day I walked straight into 2 years worth of work in the Med and Caribbean on the strength of one phone call!

  10. psychscribe Says:

    Hi Kev,
    Yes, this is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about 🙂 You know, I posed this question on my blog, and ever since then I’ve been trying to think of on one of my own significant experiences…and so far I can’t. Yet I know I’ve had them.

  11. kevmoore Says:

    Well Maggie, after posting on here to you, I went out to the shops, and for no good reason, decided to treat Miki to some English Puddings. Upon my return, she exclaimed that Contessine (her niece, in fact!) always wanted to try English Puddings. We phoned her, and she screamed that she’d just posted a comment about that very thing in Cafe Crem! Now is that coincidence upon coincidence, or what? We shall be unashamedly tucking into them this afternoon, with a nice coffee, of course!

  12. psychscribe Says:

    Most definitely a coincidence 🙂 And a lovely one. I am so jealous because I wish I could be joining you – I’ve never tried English puddings.

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