The Coincidence Connector

  • A Statistician’s Approach to Coincidences (Part 3) March 29, 2016

    As my previous post suggested and contrary to the views of some statisticians, we non-statisticians are pretty good at knowing whether or not a coincidence is random.  If we sense that a coincidence is neither random nor explainable, we are then tempted to wonder about a cause.

    To want to look for causes is just the ... Read more »

  • Couvade: When Men Feel Pregnant March 13, 2016

    A Wisconsin woman had tried for 5 years to become pregnant. One day her husband woke up feeling nauseous at the smell of breakfast. He rushed to the bathroom to vomit. He repeated the scene the next morning. Did he have an ulcer? No. She was pregnant.

    He was experiencing morning sickness and she was not. ... Read more »

  • A Statistician’s Approach to Coincidences: Part 2 March 1, 2016

    When people experience coincidences, they often think, “Wow, the chances of this occurring are so small!” Some statisticians say, however, that people aren’t good at intuitively calculating the chances. What may seem improbable, could actually be very probable.

    We tend to neglect the base rate. We become focused on the unlikeliness of the current event and ... Read more »

  • Statistician’s Approach to Coincidences: What Are the Odds January 18, 2016 Statistician’s Approach to Coincidences: What Are the Odds

    Estimating the probability of other coincidence types seems difficult. Since unlikeliness characterizes coincidences, clarifying their probabilities is a necessary task in better understanding them.

    Read more »
  • The Promise & Problems of Probability in Coincidence Studies December 16, 2015 The Promise & Problems of Probability in Coincidence Studies

    Coincidences attract our attention because they seem weird, odd, or unlikely. Their improbability stimulates wonder—“what are the odds of this happening?” Probability theory, which is a branch of mathematics, promises to shed light on this defining aspect of meaningful coincidences. Carrying this banner, I valiantly strode forward into probability’s thicket of mathematical concepts and formulas ... Read more »

  • Using Coincidences to Push a Sale December 14, 2015 Using Coincidences to Push a Sale

    Coincidences can be used for a variety of purposes including making a sale. In this story, the salesman sought links of similarity with Diane as a way to establish connections in the hopes of increasing the possibility of a better deal for him and his company.

    Read more »
  • Tell Your Coincidence Story! December 2, 2015 Tell Your Coincidence Story!

    Coincidences can make great stories. Telling them can be entertaining both for the teller and the listener. The surprise factor adds juice to the tale. Talking about a coincidence can also help initiate difficult discussions.

    A reader sent this one:

    “A work colleague said he wanted to get to know me ... Read more »

  • The Non-Diamond Earrings November 3, 2015 The Non-Diamond Earrings

    A student in my first class at the University of Virginia did her homework! She wrote this coincidence story:

    “A few years ago after moving to Charlottesville to raise my small son alone, I was feeling confirmed in the wisdom of my move but realizing life would be comfortable while not luxurious. I was OK with ... Read more »

  • The Several Meanings in a Meaningful Coincidence October 28, 2015 The Several Meanings in a Meaningful Coincidence

    In this post I examine a basic element of meaningful coincidences—the several aspects of meaning in each of them. While the poet William Wordsworth suggested that sometimes “we murder to dissect”— that analysis can remove meaning from the experience—I believe that by taking apart coincidences and examining their qualities, we can more fully ... Read more »

  • Why Study Coincidences? Part 2 October 8, 2015 Why Study Coincidences? Part 2

    I study coincidences because they are fascinating. I study them because I’ve discovered they are useful in ways most people never considered. Once you become aware of them, you realize what a ubiquitous part of life they are. They are intertwined with so many of the things we hold to be important.

    In Part 1, I ... Read more »

  • Why Study Coincidences? Part 1 October 8, 2015 Why Study Coincidences? Part 1

    When I ask myself why I’ve embarked on a mission to establish Coincidence Studies, the simplest answer is that coincidences are fascinating. They jolt us into an awareness of mysterious connections between ourselves and the world around us.

    I am curious about how they work and what they can do. When I work on trying to ... Read more »

  • Life is But a Dream September 17, 2015 Life is But a Dream

    As my coincidence colleague Tara MacIsaac in Peterborough, Ontario and I ended our conversation over the internet on 8/28/15, I asked her if she had seen the movie Waking Life. She replied that about 6 years ago this was her favorite movie. She had seen it many times, but hadn’t seen it since ... Read more »

  • The Same Birth Date August 27, 2015 The Same Birth Date

    Thursday, June 19, 1986

    On June 19, 2015, I met with a new friend for coffee to discuss my upcoming talk on coincidences. He knew the audience well and could help guide me to better communicate with them.  He was also interested in knowing more about Coincidence Studies.

    He ... Read more »

  • Jung’s Scarab as a Psychotherapeutic Technique August 14, 2015 Jung’s Scarab as a Psychotherapeutic Technique

    How Jung helped to create the world’s most famous synchronicity…

    Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung brought us the term “synchronicity,” which literally means “falling together in time.” Synchronicity describes the surprise that occurs when a thought in the mind is mirrored by an external event to which it has no apparent causal connection.

    It is a type of ... Read more »

  • Electrical Breakdown July 16, 2015 Electrical Breakdown

    Jack had been burning the candle on both ends—work, school, family, financial decisions. His mind was not the agile, clever, high speed machine he had come to rely on to process the several threads of information streaming through his life. His thoughts seemed to be plodding through muck and molasses.

    A ... Read more »