Yesterday I was watching Nina Paley speaking about her film Sita Sings The Blues at The Next Hope conference in NYC and she was talking about approach to putting her film online for free for anyone to use, and how many people did in fact use it and that lead to many benefits for her. She showed a slide with a quote attributed to ‘Donald X’ that said

“If you want to be in the right place at the right time, be in lots of places all the time.”

Nina was specifically talking about how this idea got her film into places she never would have thought to put it in on purpose which ended up working out great for her, but I think this applies to traveling frequently and widely as well. I often tell people that one of the benefits of me being all over the place all the time is that I have a really good idea what is happening in many places at any given time and I’m more likely to be able to make connections that I wouldn’t if I was more locked into one location. People often thing of Serendipity and Luck, and of being in the right place at the right time as total chance. Total chance you hope to have because they can produce some amazing results, but when you think about it, it’s not that difficult to game the odds – by being in more places on a regular basis, you chance of one of those being the right place at the right time goes way up. Sure, if you look at the hard math and statistics you are still only in one place at any given time so nothing should change, but in reality often these connections and “right time” don’t require something specific down to the minute. Frequently I’m talking to people and am able to refer to someone I met or a project I saw a week or two earlier in another city, that I never would have come across had I not been there myself.

Certainly people can tell you what is happening of note in any city at any given time, but that is different than just being there and walking around and seeing what jumps out at you. Some artwork on a wall, some fashion trend, a new store opening up. Or going to a location or an event and seeing who you run into, and what they tell you they are up to. These are things that are often deemed too insignificant on their own to be relayed to anyone other than those there at that particular moment. And having more of those particular moments in your bag of tricks that you can reference at any given moment gives you more dots to potentially connect.

I like this idea and want to write more about it, if you have any thoughts on it I’d love to hear them.