Coincidences, you gotta love ‘em.
But what are they really? Are they the symptom of an inherent psychic ability we all possess or is it just man’s quirky brain seeing meaning and patterns that aren’t really there.
You see, we’re a funny bunch us humans, we take notice of certain things, are amazed at others, yet we ignore the truly miraculous and dismiss it as mundane. We take for granted the complexity of nature and instead congratulate ourselves for our supernatural ability when a friend we were’ just thinking about’ phones us up out of the blue to say hi!
If you take the human gloss off coincidence you are left with some pretty basic maths. Here is an example. I regularly predict the gender of unborn children for Mothers to be. I am never wrong! I have my methods based on sound psychological principles but to the people present when I open my written prediction (a letter sealed in an envelope signed by the mother-to-be during the pregnancy) the spectators are amazed. But really how amazing is a 50:50 chance. If you take a coin from your pocket and flip it, go on, actually do this….Ok now that you have flipped it, how amazed would you be if I correctly predict which side it landed on. Not very I would say, anyone can do that right? So why are we amazed when coincidences happen?
I think it is because we are all searching, searching for something out of the ordinary to happen, to make the mundane strange, mix things up a little. We do this on a sub-conscious level. When a friend calls out of the blue, is it really that amazing, they are going to call sometime, and statistically, the longer they leave it, the greater the chances are that you will be thinking of them when they do ring!
Here’s another one, you are in an airport going on holidays, eventually you make it to the departure lounge, sitting at the gate you notice someone you have not seen in ages is on the same flight as you, wow, cool. Well, it may be cool, but it is not really wow. In general I think you will find that people go to airports to get a flight. There are only 365 days in the year so the odds that someone you know is flying the same day as you are already pretty high. Add the destination into the equation; is it a common holiday destination? Add the time of year, holidays, weekend? Hmmm, its starting to get less and less of a coincidence now isn’t it.
But what about those really, really remote possibilities, those one in a million things. Okay some weird stuff does happen, granted. We live in a cause and effect world, if you trace back the co-incidences to their root cause you will find that the two are simply the result of two mundane things happening that kick off a chain of events that coincide under seemingly impossible conditions.
A lot of my work involves making coincidences happen, making the seemingly impossible (or more accurately, improbable) possible. And this is my secret to making coincidences happen!!!! Initiate two mundane events where you understand and know what the chain of events will look like. It is just a matter of initiating two events that you know will coincide in several steps time. Easy eh!
This may sound a little complicated but take a look at the link in my blog to 20 amazing coincidences and try to explain each one to yourself rationally. You'll be surprised at how easy they are to explain and trace back possible root causes for each variable. Bear in mind that the more variables that are needed to create the environment for the coincidence, the harder they are to trace back.
Take the example of the same guy saving the same kid that fell from the same building twice.
Well, what are the facts.
1. Guy walks past building regularly
2. Window is left open
3. Kid has a propensity to climb
Hmmm, would you be surprised if it happened again? Think about it!
So, here is a little summary:
1. Pareidolia – This is a cognitive bias that we are all subject to, it is where a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) is perceived as significant, e.g., seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing non-existent hidden messages on records played in reverse. So we have an inclination to spot the amazing in the mundane.
2. We live in a cause and effect world – every action is caused by and leads to a chain of events and other actions
3. We have a tendency to jump to conclusion without all the data/facts
So you can use all of the above to give people that amazing feeling of coincidence.
But don't worry, even with all of this knowledge, you and I will still enjoy the perceived weirdness of our next coincidence, we are human after all!!!
P.S. Your coin landed on heads