Success is a Collision of Events

From “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds” by Mark W. Schaefer

Researcher Frans Johansson codified this mysterious idea that every success starts with a “click moment” – a collision of people and ideas and circumstances that creates your one small advantage.

I like to think that this is what happened to Bruce Wayne when he discovered the Bat Cave. “Oh my gosh. The perfect lair! And it was right under my house all this time.”

According to Johansson, nearly every great breakthrough starts with one of these moments.

For instance, in 1963, the American radiologist Charles Dotter accidentally threaded a catheter through a clogged artery during a diagnostic procedure. To his surprise, he found that the accident ended up helping his patient. 

A couple of years later another physician learned of Dotter’s breakthrough at a lecture in Germany. Suddenly he made a connection and realized he could take this treatment even further by using inflatable balloons small enough to pass into tiny coronary arteries.

Thus, angioplasty surgery was born from a mistake. The regularity with which chance discoveries are made in science has led some historians to describe serendipity as a significant factor in the evolution of science.