I often find myself struggling with a dominant and ubiquitous notion: that you should not only accept but revere the (positive) role of serendipity in your life. Or put differently, that planting lots of seeds in various places will, in the end, yield unexpected (positive) results.
There is an uncomforting consequence linked to this mantra: that you should in fact devote time to tasks around the edges of what you do, or to participating in low-probability-outcome events. Do not 'overtrust' yourself in choosing what to do at all times. Steve Jobs' killer Stanford University commencement speech provides a classic example of this thinking.
I can point to a number of instances where this idea has in fact played well for me personally in the past, but I always find it problematic when managing my day to day. Time is our most precious resource. How can you set the right boundaries? How do you think through striking the optimal balance between laser focus and throwing the dice? It is very tricky.
The one related thought than I am quite clear about, though, is that you do not want to rely on another actor's decision when your interests are not aligned with that actor's Plan A. Yes, I can see the merit in attending events and spending some (limited) hours testing unknowns. I absolutely do. But I am optimistic about that bet because the 'luck factor' is not tied to anyone specifically.
In cases where that anyone is in a hierarchical structure above you, such as a donor or a grant giver, and you can actually tell that your interests do not fit in well with that party's Plan A, my experience tells me that the effort and time devoted is most probably best placed elsewhere. Making Plan A work is hard enough to dilute yourself with vaporous Plan Bs!