People Share The Smallest Decision They Made That Ended Up Having A Huge Impact On Their Life.
This article is based on the AskReddit question "Whats the smallest decision you made that had the biggest impact on your life?"
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
1/26. One morning my girlfriend and I took extra time to make a good breakfast before going to work, which ended up making me late for the train, so I wasn't in my office on the 77th floor of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
2/26. Sitting on the ground, first day of college, room key fell out of my pocket because I refused to put it on one of those stupid lanyards they give you. Pick it up. Look down a few minutes later and see another key on the ground. Pick that up, thinking fell out again. Turns out it wasn't my key. When I tell my roommate I now have two keys, including a key to someone else's room, she tells me she heard from a friend that [cut] this guy in a neighbouring dorm lost his key already. I had to find his room and write an apologetic note on his white board telling him where to find me to get the key back. Been married nearly 7 years now.
3/26. I worked as a personal assistant to a wheel-chair bound guy with cerebral palsy. One Wednesday, he wanted to go out, but had no idea what to do. A friend of mine had mentioned he was going to a standup comedy show that night (a rarity in Sweden in 1989). I suggested this as a possible outing, and he couldn't think of anything better, so we went.
Long story short: they had an open mic, and I tried out; ended up doing standup comedy professionally for nearly a decade.
4/26. From 6-12th grade (or age 11-18 for those not from the USA), I had a school bus ride home that lasted about an hour. It sucked, and I spent the morning going in doing homework and the afternoon home reading. One day, when I was in 8th grade, I ran through the library in panicked "class is out and I have just a few minutes to pick out a book else I'll be bored for an hour" mode, and happened to choose one on astronomy. Still remember it exactly, it was called From the Big Bang to Planet X by Terence Dickinson and had the Andromeda Galaxy on the cover- a galaxy I've had an affinity for since now that I think about it.
Anyway, by the end of that school bus ride I was already thinking about what kind of telescope I wanted to buy, and realizing with a shock that any 13 year old could technically grow up to be an astronomer, even if they lived in Pittsburgh. And I wanted to be an astronomer ever since, and I am one now! All because of that one book I happened to grab for my school bus ride home.
5/26. One day I refused to see my father (parents had been separated most of my life), I don't remember why, I just did not want too. Turns out that was the last straw for him, he pumped himself full of drugs and killed himself a few days later. As you can imagine that has impacted a lot of things in my life.
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6/26. I'm usually shy, but I was half-drunk the morning after a party. My buddy was having a bad weekend so I decided I would walk up to a hot girl and hit on her, in public, so that he could enjoy my hilarious, inevitable rejection. I am nothing to look at, was next-day drunk off jager, and undoubtedly reeked like cigarettes. It was slam dunk rejection material.
We're married and have a house and a kid now.
7/26. I was leaving traffic court one day and at the time I was looking for a full time job (I was 20). I passed by this bank that I never even heard of, and decided to look them up. Turns out they were a small local bank around me. I applied, half an hour later I got a call to have an interview, and then once I got the interview, I got the job. Four years later, I'm an assistant manager, and I have been able to move out, support myself completely, and I am working on school. Accidentally finding what I wanted to do because I was curious about a place I passed by one day was the best thing that happened to me and I really, really love what I do.
8/26. In fifth grade, I apologized to the new kid for the other kids in class being mean to him. We're 28 now and have been best friends for more than half our lives. Couldn't be him.
9/26. I applied for a job that I really wanted that I was way under qualified for and in a field I didn't work in, because why not. Unsurprisingly I was sent a rejection email, so out of politeness I replied with a thank you and some questions on what they think I should work on if there were another opening in the future.
I got a detailed response. The person who responded to me would periodically check in with me and see how I was doing on those goals - a year and a lot of hard work later I'm working in the best job I've ever had in an amazing field.
10/26. Skipped school one day because I wanted to play Everquest. Found my dad passed out on the floor. Called the ambulance and he survived... Could have lost him that day.
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11/26. My Statistics class was moved from one classroom to another and we were told to pick any seat. I was already seated but saw a girl I liked sitting on the other side of the room and there was an empty spot behind her. Went over and took it, chatted with her - we've been together 24 years married with 3 kids.
12/26. Early nineties and I was out drinking with some work mates and we decided to go see a film. the only thing that was on that time of night was the audience participation version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We went and I was just blown away.
I started going every week, became a member of the cast and spent the next two years doing the show. It changed the direction and outlook of my life. I met my first serious GF and moved in with her. It also led to me meeting my life long friends and is also responsible for some of them meeting each other, getting married and having kids.
So there are humans now living in this world that would not have existed had I not decided to go to see that movie. I would have been a completely different person doing I don;t know what and I have no idea where my life would have gone.
13/26. I missed my international flight back home because I was hungover and just didn't feel like going to the airport. Instead, I went to grab a coffee with a guy I met a couple of days earlier. 5 years later, we are now married, living in a foreign country, expecting our first child together.
14/26. Opening an email from an old professor. It was mass-sent and not very specific in its title, so I could have just as easily passed on it, but I opened it. It was a link to a scholarship programme in America. I applied, won it and was sent to the University of Pennsylvania for a year. I was only 20 and didn't have any ambitions to leave Bulgaria at all, but being abroad made me want to explore the world. Five years later, I've lived in 4 different countries and visited most of Europe. I'm not anywhere near done.
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15/26. I wasn't planning on going to college for money reasons, so I sadly watched the application deadline for my dream school come and go. I woke up the morning of my 18th birthday to an email that said the school extended the deadline. Applied, got in, and am so glad I did.
16/26. November 17, 1980 I was out riding my bicycle. At an intersection I decided to turn right as I had already ridden the road to the left.
I turned right and about five seconds later an oncoming car forced me off the road. I struck a telephone pole and was instantly paralyzed at the T4 level.
17/26. After a few glasses of wine I decided to change my settings on eHarmony to include the US (I was in the UK) out of curiosity. Just checked one box....
3 years later I'm married, live in the US and have a green card and a job that pays more than I ever thought possible in the UK.
18/26. One of my former friends, talked to a girl who had a crush on him. He wasn't really interested, and gave me her number, so she could get distracted/off his back.
I wasn't interested at first either, and almost didn't write, but i gave it a go anyways.
Things escalated and now we have been married for 8 years, and have a 3-year old.
My "friend" tried hitting on her shortly afterwards, once he realized how awesome she was/is.
He didn't succeed.
19/26. Noticed I was slowly developing a lump where my shoulder and neck meet. Decided to get it checked out by my doctor. Stage IV cancer. That was my only symptom. I was probably weeks from dying. One year of chemo, radiation and a stem cell transplant and here I am, eight years later, in the best health ever. I just hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim! Tell your doctor about those odd little symptoms that don't seem like anything. It could save your life!
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20/26. My three kids have been pestering me for years to get them a dog, and my wife said it would be good for me to take it for walks. I was in poor shape, smoked and was getting middle aged spread. Eighteen months ago I relented and we got a Golden Retriever puppy. So I started taking her for walks every day, and dug out an old pair of running shoes. I began some jogging with the dog, and decided to quit smoking for good. Christmas comes, and my wife buys me a new pair of Asics running shoes, and a gym membership. I decided to really get in shape, and began a routine of going every day straight after work. I also began eating healthily. Ten months later I'm in fantastic shape, I can run a 10K and have made new friends through the gym. All because of a dog.
21/26. I agreed to set up an IRC server for my friend. His boss was impressed enough that he started asking me to do other freelance things. A few months later I dropped out of College (not one of my finest moments) and he said there was a job waiting for me if I didn't mind relocating.
So, that was my first IT job, which is now my career. Then I met my future wife on that same IRC server a few months after that which led to me emigrating to the United States where I've been living for the past 16 years.
15 minutes work setting up an IRC server changed my whole life.
22/26. I recently went through a rather shocking and horrific breakup. I've never seen someone out of nowhere do the horrible shit she did to me. I have a disorder that revolves around abandonment issues, so my whole family thought I was going to kill myself.
Instead of mope, I invested in my friends. I dragged them out to do what I want to do (Dinosaur hunt in the badlands) and have since endeavored to make more friends with the same interest. So instead of rebounding and basing 100% of my self esteem on whether I am with someone, I've looked at how I can be happy without being dependant on someone romantically.
Best choice ever.
23/26. My neighbor growing up was a huge tool. He was a year older than me, and I just hated his smug face. He came over to my house one day to show me all the ribbons he won at a local swim meet (i.e. to rub in my face how awesome he was). I immediately told my parents I wanted to join the swim the next summer. 10 years later I signed a swimming scholarship that paid for my college. Thanks Travis, I guess I owe you one.
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24/26. I met a girl in our church and we didn't really hit it off. Quite the rocky start though I found her attractive and interesting, she had some weird views and we had one or two heated discussions, so we basically stopped talking.
Few months later I randomly texted her out of boredom/curiosity why she is mad at me/not talking to me. Turns out she thought the same thing of me and we started talking. Together for 5+ years, married for 2+ years.
25/26. I don't know if this is a small decision, but it's a small mistake. I wanted to go to a tropical island to escape my horrible NYC job, so I planned a trip to Antigua and Barbuda, the islands. I had my travel agent book me a ticket to Antigua, and she must've thought Guatemala because that's where I ended up.
I loved it.
I loved it so much I put in my two weeks notice and became the creative director for a travel business, and I now work all over Latin America.
26/26. Out of college, I worked a blue collar job in the Mill work industry. I worked there for 10 years. We did Custom Woodworking for super high end homes and commercial clients like Universities, churches, Law firms, etc. It was a good job but no room for advancement.
We worked 60 hours a week standing up on concrete. I had just gotten married and we had a kid on the way. I had to beg to get a Saturday off. It was VERY hard on any kind of social life. You were either at work or resting to go back to work. I wanted something better.
One day on my way home I heard a story on NPR about a boy in California who was a high school senior making millions of dollars doing computer work for movies. The early CGI stuff.
I thought I am in the wrong business! That night I called a friend I had known who had taken a CAD class for drawing architectural drawings on computer. I asked him about it. He told me all about it and where he had taken the class and gave me the phone number. The class was available at a local technical institute.
I called and it was the last day you could register for classes so I drove over still in my dirty work clothes.
I registered and paid a small fee and they told me just down the hall on your left. I followed the direction and walked right in the class in session! I had no idea! I had to ask the teacher how to turn the computer on.
I finished that semester and class and followed the teacher to a local Community college and took the advanced class.
Six months later I landed a job at a local state university with a great desk job. I've been here for almost 20 years!
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.