The problem, of course, is how to know when you’ve stumbled upon something potentially useful. How does your brain know that there is a possible solution out there? How did that possible solution even get there to begin with?
And that is where your general mindset comes in: is there a standing openness to inputs no matter how strange or unnecessary they might seem, as opposed to a tendency to dismiss anything that is potentially distracting? Is that open-minded stance your habitual approach, the way that you train yourself to think and to look at the world? As Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind,” – and that mind is one which is open to the chance in the first place.
Indeed, with practice, one might become better at sensing what may and may not prove useful, what to store away for future reference and what to throw out for the time being. Something that at first glance might seem like simple intuition is actually far more–a knowledge that is actually based on countless hours of practice, of training yourself to be open, to integrate experiences in your mind until you become familiar with the patterns and directions those experiences tend to take. Then, you are far less likely to spend days traipsing in mud through the countryside in pursuit of a cyclist you may or may not have a chance of finding. Instead, you may just pick up the history book that is so gallantly being offered for your use.