"Did you ever observe to whom the accidents happen?"
And he himself answered:
"Chance favors only the prepared mind."
He had the right to say so. Having worked with wine growers he thought up how to kill harmful microorganisms to be impending the fermentation process. This experience helped him to open the procedure what was named "pasteurization". In turn, such the preparedness of his thoughts permitted him two decades later to show that animals being vaccinated with some attenuated bacilli received protection against the disease.
Good thoughts to be said on a concrete cause induce to think further. Here is a question what asks itself: "Which mind may be considered as prepared if you are finding yourselves beyond both of experiments and attempts, trying to be a visionary thinker?" I ask the question to myself, and here are my considerations.
Let there be two people, one is prepared to discover something sudden, another is not. What is a difference between them? I think that the prepared has good ordered subconscious mind whereas that of the unprepared is far of this. If to use William James metaphor, both have their “islands of consciousness” floating in "the ocean of unconscious" but the prepared have around his "island" as well a remarkable "ring" of subconscious mind.
Let’s try to get more inferences from our rather vague image of preparedness. There may be situation when you meet some sudden and try to understand it from point of view of the knowledge mastered by you. You may be successful and include the sudden in your background as a useful addition. It may turn however another situation when sudden thing has not been enrolled into your background and you experience then unpleasant feeling, a kind of the cognitive dissonance. You have then a ground to think that your "ring" is too narrow, and the chance didn’t appear benevolent for your "island" to cope with interpreting or explaining the suddenness. Or, having a faculty of the ambiguity tolerance you apprehend the situation normally, as a cause to investigate and think further to enrich your subconscious "ring".
I want now to get nearer to answering the question to be the title of this text. Here is Blaise Pascal thought what may be considered as indication what to do for us to be prepared and heuristic:
"Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything."
In other words, the advice is:
"Be many-disciplinary, work mentally for replenishing your worldview!"
As you can see the proposed is quite in concordance with the image of "island" of consciousness with subconscious "ring".
I hope my experience of a visionary will be useful for you.
In 1970s, working in Belarusian Encyclopedia I was naturally pulled in discussions on articles prepared to publish, at that those what were out of my specialty, the theoretical physic. In addition, it was as well my own interest to study books and papers on biology, mathematics, philosophy of sciences, psychology, neurosciences, socio-psychology. I wanted to have known more about nature of human mentality being able to create new knowledge. Soon I could go ahead with the Principle of tolerance and gave arguments concerning its all-biological character (being astonished why it had been known long ago). In 1990 I had already possibility to have done a plenary report on All-Union Conference entitled Evolution Sense of Notions and Techniques of Human Science. My background to 2001 had been widened so I prepared and defended DSc. thesis Searching for Nature’s Recommendations: a New Nature-Philosophy (in Russian). The main such recommendations were done on individual and social health and for international institutions, including the U.N.
Summing up how to get heuristic and having serendipity: The more you are sure that there were, are and will be civilization omissions stipulated by our evolution prehistory, the more you are coming up to your enthusiastic cry "Eureka!" opening new omissions until remarked, and the more your chance for their successful including into your worldview base and, if you are yet lucky, into both the evident scientific knowledge and rational social consciousness.
For us to appraise such our own activity more:
"Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve."