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Love and marriage go together as a horse and carriage. We can’t have one, we can’t have none. Can we have one without the other?

The answer lays in serendipity that may bind them together.

We all walk around in our lives, circling and believing that if we be lucky, then things will go our way. People delude themselves that with good luck things will work out the way they expect them to be. We want to experience as many lucky opportunities as we are so lucky as to have.

My definition: Serendipity is the realization of a fortunate event through sagacious observation.

When I encounter serendipity I am happy. Yeah. Serendipity is a happy thing popping up that is meant for us. In short serendipity is considered as the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.

In July 2022 Paramount released the movie “Jerry and Marge Go Large”. It’s a real life story of a couple from Evart, Michigan who consistently won the Michigan Lottery games. The couple grossed close to 7 million dollars. Their winning streak went on for several years.

Was it luck? No. Not in their case. Jerry Selbee figured out the partial code for this lottery game. He wasn’t the only one. At the same time MIT computer sciences students did the same as he did and won the Massachusetts Lottery. #

Serendipity requires a mindset. Serendipity requires a serendipitous mindset.

One useful mindset is handed to us via the Pareto Principle. It is named after the economist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923). The principle is also known as the "80/20 Rule”. It states that for many events, roughly 80% of the desired effects come from 20% of the causes. It is applied to a variety of situations, including social relations, for-profit business enterprises, economic trends, systematic scientific research, and quality control.

In the early 1950s, the psychologist Joseph Juran expanded on this idea, arguing that it could be applied to management and even as a "universal principle". Juran in 2005 also coined the terms “vital few” and or “trivial many” referring to those vital few, whose contributions result in the bulk of the outcome effect.

Overall, the key to utilizing the Pareto Principle successfully involves taking an analytical approach and focusing on those topics or challenges that are most likely to matter to us.


When you think in terms of the Pareto Principle you knock off the idea of “Happy Accident” or “Good Luck”.

For example. Suppose you look for an interesting book, where will you go? You want a book on drama, or a book of poetry. May be you want a mystery novel.

Where will you go for it? It’s likely that you’ll go to a bookstore, something like Barnes & Noble, rather than an outlet of Victoria’s Secret.

When you enter the bookstore you already have made an intentional decision - to encounter that which you were looking for in that store.

You’re not likely to find a selection of lingerie for sale at DSW. Nor are there books for sale at DSW. DSW sells shoes! You may not always find there a pair of shoes that fit you best. If you really want to experience the fun of true serendipitous shopping go to TJ Maxx store.

Note this! Consciously or unconsciously we make our pre-selection decisions. Then once we score a good hit we call it good luck. When we miss the hit, we call it bad luck.

Same is with marriage!


In the Jewish tradition of a wedding ceremony ends with the guests singing in Yiddish “Mazel Tov Siman Tov”. Mazel Tov means in Hebrew Good Luck. Siman Tov means Good Omen.

Give me a break.

It’s too late to sing Mazel Tov after the wedding.… The fate of the marriage was determined way back, long before the actual wedding ceremony. The couple finds out how serendipitous is their marriage, later after the honeymoon.

We get to marry the right spouse (one of the “vital few”) or the wrong spouse (they are the “trivial many”). Then we later assign the responsibility to the other spouse. We act as if we had no say in the marriage.

If you are in the “married status” group, read the last paragraphs and decide if your marriage was a serendipitous experience or maybe not. If your marriage ended in a divorce you probably walk around believing that you married one of the “trivial many”. Are you willing to accept the responsibility for marrying a trivial spouse?


To work with the mindset of serendipity we must remember the Pareto Principle that guides us - attracting serendipitous events to our lives. Every business must have a business plan. The most romantic marriage is still a business. Not sure? Ask any divorce lawyer.

We have to apply the three Cs: Clarity, Competence, and Concentration, to every situation in our life. But that is a different story and a different essay topic.


Should couples go into business together? It depends on what their motivations are. Here are results from a study published in the Harvard Business Review: (

Speaking for myself, I still think that I married one of the vital few. I’ve at least one great-grandson. And yes, I’ve an MBA degree from a provincial university…

Jerry and Marge Selbee have a fine marriage, many grandchildren and a successful small business corporation. Read their full story here:

If you prefer to watch the movie: Go here:


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