Think about a time in your life when something happened that made you say, “What a coincidence!” Everyone experiences them. But are coincidences just chance occurrences or could they be helpful “signs” worth paying attention to?
“48 Hours” correspondent Susan Spencer explores that question in a feature story on the CBS Sunday Morning news.
Spencer begins by telling the story of a man and a woman who had been high school friends. They just happened to re-connect after 40 years of not seeing each other. It was during Bill Clinton’s presidency, so they found it “funny” that one had a son named Bill and the other a daughter named Hillary. Since both children were single, they decided to do a little matchmaking. Turns out Bill and Hillary both lived in New York City… on the same block… and in the very same apartment building. But that wasn’t enough of a coincidence for Bill. He delayed calling Hillary until he bumped into a co-worker in his building’s lobby, who was there to visit a friend… Hillary. What are the odds? And yes, they fell in love and married 16 years ago.
So what is coincidence? Northwestern University Law professor Jay Koehler, a probability expert, defines a coincidence as a “striking co-occurrence of events that appear to be meaningfully related, but, in fact, are only related by chance.” He further explains it this way: “A classic example of coincidence would be, you get to thinking about somebody who you haven’t thought about for years. And reach for the phone and—you know where I’m going with this—the phone rings, it’s them!”
But SQuire Rushnell, author of “When God Winks: How the Power of Coincidence Guides Your Life,” says there’s more to it than that. His take: What seem to be coincidences can actually be signs, or what he calls “Godwinks” that may lead you to question, “is that coincidence or evidence of divine origin?” Rushnell believes that we all experience Godwinks: “They are like gifts left on the doorstep. And my job is to get you to open the door and open your gift.”
Rushnell says that “Godwinks” can guide you to professional success or even meeting the love of your life, like Hillary and Bill Solomon did– if you pay attention to them: “Once you see a Godwink, you see them all the time.”
We’d like to hear from you about how so-called “coincidences” have affected your life. Share Your Story with us.