Chance favors the prepared mind

I first heard this phrase, “chance favors the prepared mind,” a few weeks ago. I love the sentiment, and but was fearful that the fact that the phrase was unfamiliar was yet another mark of my general ignorance. I was relieved to find that it’s attributed to Louis Pasteur (I don’t feel his writings are part of the core humanities curriculum).

I have been thinking about what the future holds for libraries, archives, and museums. It’s a murky bucket of water we’re peering into right now, and the future is not at all clear. What is clear is that we need to acknowledge that change is certain. As much as possible we need to collectively prepare for that change. Our Information Context lays out the current situation we face — an altered operating environment mixed in with dramatic changes in consumer research behavior.

We’ve begun a series of projects and conversations that will lead us… To the future? Perhaps. Most importantly, our Work Agenda helps to move us forward, and will help prepare us for the changes that are around the corner. Does chance factor into this? Certainly. But if we’ve been preparing for the future, I think we’ll have a happier outcome.

As a sidenote, I found the ThinkExist quotation search interesting because it pairs the Pasteur quote with others that “people also liked.” Interesting.

4 Comments on “Chance favors the prepared mind”

  1. It was also a quote in a Steven Seagal movie from the 90’s: “Under Siege 2.” One of the “bad guys” in the movie uses it. That’s the 1st time I’d ever heard it. I too like the quote.

  2. I’m fond of saying (not claiming it’s at all original, but I don’t have a source) that to stay alive in the wilderness* you need three things:

    1) The right gear.
    2) The right decisions.
    3) Luck.

    And of course, tying into Pasteur’s quote, having the first two things well in hand helps a lot with the third — even when it doesn’t go your way. Translating to our world, I see our Work Agenda, and the work of many of our colleagues around the world, as working hard on items one and two, just as we should.

    * Yes, I do have wilderness experience, both as a backpacker and whitewater river guide

  3. “Luck favors the prepared, Darling.”

    — Edna Mode in The Incredibles.

    I love it when cartoon characters say brilliant things. Now when people ask me where that quote comes from I can choose between Edna Mode and Lous Pasteur. Thanks, Merrilee!

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