This article is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here or sign up for his newsletter here.
In Systematic Wandering, I wrote:
The danger with goals is that is becomes very easy to become focused on the goal, to the exclusion of better options.
Don't Miss Chance Opportunities
I recently came across the research of Richard Wiseman.
Professor Wiseman devised a simple experiment to test the differences between self-described "lucky" vs. "unlucky" people when presented with chance opportunities. From his paper:
Take the case of chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities whereas unlucky people do not. I carried out a very simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities. I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message “Stop counting – There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was over two inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it. Just for fun, I placed a second large message half way through the newspaper. This one announced: “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.
The unlucky people immediately set a goal to "count all the photos in the newspaper." And, as I warned in, Systemic Wandering, became "focused on the goal to the exclusion of better options."
The lucky people, in contrast, were engaged in what was happening as they looked through the newspaper and immediately noticed better options, including an unexpected windfall of $250.
The 4 Characteristics of Lucky People
Wiseman discovered the lucky people have four characteristics that unlucky people don't:
1. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities
2. They make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition
3. They create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations
4. They adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.
How to Get Lucky
It turns out, Professor Wiseman claims, that "unlucky" people can learn to be "lucky" by learning mindfulness in the four characteristics he discovered.
I've seen this anecdotally in my own life, with my "luck" even varying by day. On many days, when I give myself permission to "play" and "wander" and let goals slide, opportunities arise and/or the day's work is more productive than if I had adhered rigidly to the Tyranny of the Task List. And often, on days where I strictly adhere to my task, dutifully advancing in baby steps toward my goals.....I tend to miss opportunities in the pursuit of checking off every item. Obviously, I can't ignore my task list forever, so the "ideal" must be learning to be willing to set aside the task list when opportunity arises. 
Professor Wiseman's book, The Luck Factor, goes into further detail on this subject. He claims to be able to teach you how to become a luckier person.  And I imagine the world would be a happier place if we all better knew how to "get lucky" ;-)
Now go change the world.
FASO Founder, Software Craftsman, Art Fanatic
PS - I hope you found this article helpful. I was gearing up to dutifully go through my task list this morning, when inspiration for this article struck. If inspiration strikes you, dear artist, please put down your task list and pick up your paintbrush (or chisel, etc), don't deprive the world of beauty just to reach some arbitrary goal...
 Setting aside your task list, is, of course, for most of us, easier said than done. That's one reason I sometimes give myself "play days" where I intentionally allow myself to "wander" and be creative. That may not be as optimal as learning to be "lucky" all the time though.
 I have not read the book and have no affiliation with Professor Wiseman, I simply found his research interesting.
 The image is the sign outside The Lady Luck pub in Canterbury, England. If you ever find yourself there, it's a good place to stop for a pint (or two, or three...)
Editor's Note: You can view Clint's original post here.