Real-Life Butterfly Effects

October 16, 2023 | Laura Bergen

Real-Life Butterfly Effects

The butterfly effect is a situation where one seemingly insignificant decision or action has a significant impact on the events that follow. These people shared their wildest stories of the butterfly effect, from beating the medical odds to life-altering chance encounters. Have you ever experienced the butterfly effect?

1. Caught On Film

Once, in a new city, I boarded the wrong train on my way to a low-paying job that I wasn't keen on but needed. With unreliable mobile GPS, I turned to a stranger for directions. As luck would have it, he was headed my way. Little did I know, he would turn out to be a crucial figure in my life.

We shared a train ride and bonded over our shared love for movies. He dreamt of becoming a filmmaker, and I was just a film enthusiast without any education, nor any aspiration to "make it big in the showbiz". In time, we became not only roommates but creative partners too. Two years ago, we sold our first film to IFC.

Two people are having a conversation while riding in train.Katerina Holmes, Pexels

2. King Me

In 2004, just for laughs, I decided to throw my hat in the ring for senior homecoming king and, to my astonishment, I made the final cut. I woke up at the crack of dawn, filled with anxiety, and made my way to school early since the results were going to be announced before class. Alas, I didn't clinch the victory, but I wasn't surprised.

Sometime during lunch that same day, fate threw me the biggest curveball of all. I found myself collapsing with what turned out to be a grand mal seizure. I was swiftly whisked off to the hospital, but got discharged that very night. 

A few days passed and I underwent an MRI scan which unveiled an unsettling truth—a brain tumor was nestled inside my head. With the expertise of the team at UCLA Medical Center, it was promptly removed few weeks later. Miraculously, I'm still here telling my tale.

One of the doctors theorized that the unusual early start and heightened stress level from that morning might have set the stage for the grand mal seizure, which would not have happened under ordinary circumstances.

I often wonder, if it wasn't for that seizure, how long it might have been until I had a noticeable seizure leading me to get the lifesaving MRI that discovered my tumor. If I hadn't impulsively decided to vie for the title of homecoming king that day...well, who knows if I would still be around.

Young man is having a check up by doctor at hospital.freepik, Freepik

3. Work From Home Win

My father was an employee at a prominent financial firm in New York City before I came unto this world. Although he got transferred to Texas, he traveled back to the Big Apple at least a fortnight each month for meetings during most of my early years. The regular travels were a source of contention between my parents. 

I was six at the time, I recall an evening when my mom insisted that my dad should use video conferencing for his upcoming September meetings rather than flying out to New York. She didn't want him to miss my birthday party or be too exhausted to enjoy it. This was a small request in the scheme of things—but it changed everything.

On September 11, 2001, my dad was expected at a meeting in his company's office located in the One World Trade Center. However, that day, he was safe and sound in our Texas home. For once, he had heeded my mom’s advice.

Senior man is working on laptop from home.Jonathan Borba, Pexels

4. May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

During my gap years after high school, before college, I found myself as an assistant in a kindergarten classroom. It wasn't a planned career move. There was a particular child in the class who struggled with communication and social interactions, and for some reason, he was drawn to me. 

I ended up working directly with his speech therapist, even though I was just meant to be helping out in the classroom. This experience sparked a newfound passion for language, which led me to apply for a linguistics major in university. 

Getting accepted was not a sure thing because of my previous high school grades. But that specific year at the university, they were piloting a new admission process. They were accepting half of the students based on their motivational essays, intending to reduce the dropout rates in linguistics.

This new policy worked in my favor and I got accepted, even though they discontinued it the next year. With quite the turn of events, I've now earned a masters in Language Psychology and I'll be teaching at the same university starting this semester. 

If I had applied any other year, my chances of getting in would have been as unlikely as winning the lottery.

Female teacher is working with small girl at kindergarten.Mikhail Nilov ,Pexels

5. Dinner Date

After finishing our work one day, a couple of my colleagues and I made plans to grab dinner. When one of them eventually bailed, I half-expected the other to do the same. However, we were both famished, so we decided to push through with our dinner plans. Best decision I ever made.

We'd been on the same team for a year and had always shared a rapport, but this dinner felt refreshingly like a frothy first date. Throughout the meal, we were so absorbed in conversation that we completely missed the restaurant closing and the staff tidying up around us.

The waitstaff were gracious enough to not interrupt our engrossing exchange. This lovely meal led to the two of us developing feelings for each other, blossoming into love shortly thereafter. We've now shared over six joy-filled years together and wouldn't change a single thing.

Woman is having a dinner with young male at restaurant.Katerina Holmes, Pexels

6. Blast From The Past

I was jobless for about a year, going through my savings, and living with my wife and our first child in the countryside, away from the busyness of the city. My wife was expecting our second child, and we were dealing with some car problems. In the midst of all this, I was quietly descending into a chaos and had no concrete plan.

While back in the city on a family visit, I took my car in for service. Instead of waiting around in the mechanic's shop, I decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood. Out of nostalgia, I stopped at a past employer's business where I had worked when I was a teenager just for a casual hello.

The employer's son, whom I assumed was in jest, floated the idea of a top-tier management position for me. In the similar vein, I joked back, expressing interest but reminding him about his dad's thriftiness. After that, I went back for my car, not really giving it much thought.

To my surprise, that evening I received a call from the owners with a job offer. Fast forward to the present, I now have a job that pays six figures, I am back living in the city I love and my wife is pregnant with our third child. That simple walk back down my memory lane turned out to be a life-altering experience.

Man is talking with other man outside.LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Pexels

7. Seeing Green

I once filled out a green card lottery form. You see, my buddy was having trouble figuring out how to complete it. To make things easier, I printed out the instructions and filled it out as an example. Instead of using his information, I just filled it out with my own to create a mock application.

After I finished, I figured, "Why not?" and tossed my filled-out application into the send-out pile. The event was quickly forgotten after. Fast forward a year later, a surprising realization shook me— a letter from the state department left me utterly perplexed.

Now, I've spent 20 years living in the US. I'm happily married, have children—the whole nine yards. This enormous shift in my life was all because of a simple, spontaneous act I did to help out a friend.

Man is looking happy ,holding a letter in his hands.yanalya, Freepik

8. All Aboard The Gravy Train

My brother and I had recently relocated to Florida from Pennsylvania, and we chose to try out a new restaurant for lunch. We struck up a conversation with our waitress, sharing that we were fresh arrivals in town.

She introduced us to her boss, who spontaneously offered me a job. I got acquainted with an attractive bartender and fast forward 10 years, we are happily married with a delightful five-year-old. Together, we enjoy life in a bustling metropolitan city. It feels like I won the lottery of life the day I selected that restaurant for lunch.

Two man are ordering a drink from a waiter at restaurant.ELEVATE, Pexels

9. Super Communicator

I was part of a conference panel discussing the ins and outs of encrypted communication, with a good friend of mine leading the proceedings. I brought up the topic of insecure Russian communications during the Russo-Japanese war in the early 1900s as an illustration.

Back in those days, I was a full-time coder. Once the seminar wrapped up, my buddy approached me with a life-changing proposition—though I didn't know it at the time. He'd recently launched a magazine and asked, "How about you write a piece on the Russo-Japanese war?" I agreed on the spot, thinking, "Why not?"

A decade passed, during which I found myself writing near a thousand more articles, churning out a collection of eight books along the way. Surprisingly, I've gained a bit of a reputation as an author, journalist, and blogger. I even have my very own Czech Wikipedia page. 

Despite this, I still find time to mess around with PHP, Python, and C++ coding from time to time.

Young man is having a speech in front of other people.Matheus Bertelli, Pexels

10. Game The System

At my latest office gig, the web filter blocked me from accessing my go-to sites. Yet, slipped through these restrictions, which led me to delve into board games, their creators, and publishing companies during my breaks.

I came across a game that was unavailable, and I drafted my interpretation of its gameplay. Eventually, I discovered that my understanding of the game was completely off base. However, I found my version much more enjoyable. Cut to the chase, now I am a renowned board game designer.

Young man wearing white jacket is working on PC at office.Startup Stock Photos, Pexels

11. What A Novel Idea

Around a decade ago, I found myself working in the advertising industry. I crafted a particularly impressive piece for a charity, which prompted one of my colleagues to compliment, "Impressive work. Have you considered writing a novel?" Every tale has a foundation. In my case, it dates back to my college years when I was an English major.

We had a notorious bully in our class, who constantly smoked clove cigarettes, faked passing out, and made it a point to belittle everyone around. During a casual conversation, I revealed my desire to write a novel one day. Overhearing this, she sarcastically retorted, "Yeah, don't quit your day job, whatever that turns out to be".

Unfazed by her words, a few years later, I decided, "Why not?" My first attempt at a novel was a disaster. However, my second attempt made its way to a developmental editor who, after a few revisions, praised it as "one of the most beautiful works I've ever read". 

She's now introducing me to literary agents and guiding me through the process of publishing my third novel. The journey to getting a novel published is particularly challenging, especially if it's not a typical genre fiction. But if I'm lucky enough to get published, my first copy—complete with my autograph and a scathing note—is going to that mean bully from college.

I'd also make a point to express my gratitude to the AE, whose words triggered my journey into novel writing. Never give up, the moment we surrender, we lose a piece of our spirit.

Happy man in yellow shirt thinking and laughing on his desk.Michael Burrows, Pexels

12. Medical Miracle

During my third year of college, I felt lost and wasn't sure what to do next. So, I decided to pause my studies and focus on work. I was already working part-time with a friend who suggested I explore a job at a local pharmacy. As it happened, I had some spare time, and the job was under the table, so I decided to give it a go.

The manager was incredibly supportive, teaching me the ropes with a lot of patience. I fell in love with the job, almost like a fish to water. So, while I contemplated my next steps in college, I juggled the two part-time jobs. Fast forward 30-ish years, and I'm licensed, proud, and have learned a tremendous amount.

My part-time hush-hush gig ended up becoming a reliable, recession-proof career in the healthcare sector. This enabled me to take care of myself and my loved ones, something I never envisioned when I first started. And surprisingly, I found myself progressively moving up the career ladder in healthcare.

The moral of my story? Don't be hesitant about diving into unfamiliar territories, especially when there's plenty of support and training opportunities available.

Male pharmacist writing prescription pharmacy counter in white uniformJacob Lund, Shutterstock

13. Off The Rails

On December 21, 2014, I was supposed to go to a party with a girl I was interested in. The day before, however, she declined my invitation. So instead of attending the party, I decided to return home for Christmas a day earlier than I had scheduled.

I was residing in Glasgow at the time, and my journey home began from Queen Street Station. Without any issues, I boarded the 14:39 train. The next day came with shocking news: a bin lorry had crashed into the very station I had departed from at around 2:30pm—precisely where I had strolled, earbuds in, 24 hours prior.

The driver had a sudden heart attack and lost control, tragically leading to the loss of six people. It's sobering to think that my decision not to go to that party—because of a rejection—likely saved my life.

Life has a relentless way of unfolding.

Young man is waiting a train at train station.Mathias Reding ,Pexels

14. Roasted

For years, I grappled with intense depression. It got to the point where I couldn't work and was scared to look for jobs. One day, while out shopping for ingredients to prepare a crispy pork roast, I spotted a small advert on a building which read: "We offer apprenticeships—transform into a geomatician!"

Intrigued, I searched for the role online, submitted an application, and surprisingly landed the apprenticeship. This new opportunity also came with the provision for mental health support. Therefore, with the aid of a therapist and effective medication, I began to handle my depression. 

Just because of my desire to whip up a pork roast that day, I discovered a job that I'm truly fond of.

Man is seating on the bed and texting.Mart Production, Pexels

15. Tested

Choosing to strike up a conversation with a fellow classmate upset about his test score was a pivotal moment in my life. We were a pair of 15-year-old lads, and our friendship took off like a rocket. Fun times, dreams of starting a rock band, and deep crushes on a pair of best friends...those days were wild!

But just two months later, tragedy struck. My new best friend passed in a car accident. At his funeral, I found myself the sole representative of our high school, standing next to our French teacher who coached him in theatre.

When she brought up their theatre sessions, I offered to step into his role in an upcoming play. That decision kicked off a remarkable two-year journey of rebuilding my self-esteem, meeting some wonderful individuals, and thoroughly enjoying the process.

To cap off my high school years, I gave the eulogy in our final play, leading to a resounding applause that will always stay with me. He was the funniest guy I knew, so instead of a moment of silence, I requested a celebration of his life.

Aimery, it's been 11 years since you left, but the brief time we shared has shaped me more than you could know. I may not believe in an afterlife, like you, but if there's one person I'd plead to see again, it would be you.

Sad bearded man prayingRic Rodrigues, Pexels

16. Taking Credit

Back in my youth, I purchased a snazzy pair of pinstripe pants and a sleek chain pocket watch, thinking they were the height of cool. In order to bag a half-price deal, I got myself a Sears credit card and promptly paid off the balance.

This initial foray into the credit world gave me a nifty head start in building a lengthy credit history, which has boosted my score to an impressive 800+. This advantageous rating has greatly assisted me in securing things like vehicles and my home.

Man is seating on the sofa and making a payment on his laptop.Cup of Couple, Pexels

17. The Long And Winding Road

Back in 2015, I caught my brother glued to a YouTuber playing a game called Cities Skylines. Intrigued by its ability to simulate city and transportation building realistically, I purchased it immediately for $30. Fast forward a few years later, I found myself pondering over my career direction. 

While managing a pizza shop had been my go-to, I realised I was ready for a change but wasn't exactly sure about the path to follow. It was when I stumbled upon an online forum discussion that I realized how the traffic management and road building aspects of the game were linked to the real-world field of civil engineering. 

At 23, I took the plunge and decided to return to school to explore this track. I believed that if I could whittle away hours designing virtual road networks in a game, I could surely give learning about it in school a shot. And with time, my interest turned into a passion. 

Today, at 29, I'm proud to say that I'm a transportation engineer, and I have the job I dreamed of when I started school. Needless to say, I still love playing Cities Skylines. It turned out to be the best $30 I ever spent.

Transportation engineer is holding a project papers and standing outside.freepik, Freepik

18. Country Calling

During my academic journey, I made a last-minute decision to spend six months studying overseas. I selected a country that wasn't initially my top preference, but I had to adapt due to my limited English proficiency.

It was there that I met my ex-boyfriend, who took it upon himself to teach me English. He hailed from a country that I already had connections with, and eventually, I decided to further my studies there.

Learning English paved my pathway into university in this new country. A decade later, I'm still residing here. I've had to deal with serious health challenges, however, the worker's rights here are more favorable compared to my home country.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have the flexibility to prioritize my health over my career for the time being. I'm using this period to enhance my skills and personal growth. This has been a transformative experience.

Blonde woman is looking out of the window.Anastasia Shuraeva, Pexels

19. Time To Retire

Saving for my future really paid off. After I left the army in 1996, I found myself with about $15K of credit card debt. That's when I decided to enter public service. Though I was earning just $29K annually, I committed to saving 10% for my retirement—which wasn't a huge amount given my salary.

But here's the great part— the government matched contributions up to 5%. With time and age, I increased this to the maximum allowed, and I've never regretted that decision. Now that I'm inching towards retirement, I'm looking forward to a comfortable lifestyle, without the need to rely on social security.

Senior man is holding and reading a documents at hallway.RDNE Stock project, Pexels

20. Banded Together

At a wedding back in the late '90s, I struck up a three-minute chat with a complete stranger. We swapped numbers, created a band, made music, produced albums, played loads of gigs, and have remained close pals for over two decades.

I was a lone wolf at that wedding and didn't have the best of times until it was finished. Just as I was ready to say my goodbyes, my colleague who was the groom, introduced me to my future band partner. Shortly afterwards, he left the workplace and we lost touch.

However, I still keep up with my old friend and ex-band member—we chat every now and then, and meet up quite frequently. 

Man wearing white hoodie is talking with other man at party.August de Richelieu, Pexels

21. Fever Dream

When the 2021 lockdown hit, I was holed up in my apartment feeling all kinds of lonely and isolated. I really needed a way to let off some steam. So, I poured out my feelings into a song I dubbed "Cabin Fever". This took a positive turn as the song climbed to third place on an Australian Top Ten chart.

I call New Zealand home, and this unexpected success led to my band landing a deal with an international label. Right now, we're neck-deep in creating our first album and boy has it been a rollercoaster. Before this lockdown, we were just a local band jamming at parties and low-key bars.

Young woman is singing on microphone in studio.cottonbro studio, Pexels

22. All Wired Up

My life transformed in 1983 when I started working at a company that produced mainframe computers for insurance firms. I was just a runner at the time, but this experience opened my eyes to the fascinating realms of computer technology and engineering.

The most impactful revelation I had was this: someone has to be responsible for installing, fixing, maintaining, and developing tech because it certainly won't be able to handle these tasks by itself. This insight reshaped my life and launched me into a career that I've been loving for 38 years because it never becomes dull.

Network Engeneers working in network server room on tablet computer.dotshock ,Shutterstock

23. Education For All

While browsing Reddit in a bit of a slump, I stumbled upon a comment mentioning how studying post-grad in Europe could be cost-free or affordable, even for us Americans who had just shifted there for further studies. No way, I thought. But Google verified it and my interest was piqued.

Fast forward six months later, I'd bid farewell to a draining 16-year career and a 10-year unfulfilling relationship. Now, I find myself halfway through a gratifying and reasonably priced graduate program in Germany. Here's the kicker: I don't know a single word of German. 

Yet, the language barrier fails to prevent me from smiling—something that I'm doing more often now than in the past ten years.

Young woman is holding books and coffee and smiling outside.Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

24. Money Talks

I earned a position at a company that provides caregiver services. They shared with me that I could offer my services to elderly folks or individuals with disabilities. Interestingly, working with those with disabilities offered an extra 25 cents per hour. Naturally, I chose that option.

As a result, I spent eight dedicated years assisting those with disabilities. During this period, I cultivated profound friendships, offered my time on non-profit organization management teams, and fortuitously met my future wife. Today, I'm a proud grandparent to three kids. 

Opting for the slightly higher hourly wage actually shaped the course of my entire life. I can't even begin to guess where I would be if I had decided differently.

Male care worker serving dinner to a senior man and smiling at nursing home.Monkey Business Images , Shutterstock

25. Super Saver

I began my first job at the tender age of 14, with the goal of saving for my college education. Before I knew it, by the time I turned 18, I had managed to save up nearly $10,000. I continued to work throughout college and had scholarships aiding me, which meant I rarely touched my nest egg.

At 20, I was invited to bid farewell to a colleague at her going-away BBQ event. She was relocating and had put her lovely house on the market. As I stepped into her house, I was blown away—it was an amazing property, conveniently located near my university and my workplace. 

On the spur of the moment, I got in touch with a realtor that same day and put down an offer which she accepted, and I entered the realm of homeownership. I took to renting out the bedrooms, while I occupied the tiny space over the garage. 

To cut a long story short, over the span of 24 years, I've grown my portfolio to encompass five rental properties, my own house, and a beachside condo. That farewell event was the gamechanger—the event which redirected the course of my financial life.

Man in shirt is holding a wine glass and smiling at party.Kampus Production, Pexels

26. Boredom Buster

After quitting graduate school, I found myself working at a modest fast food restaurant. I was essentially hustling to make money while searching for a better job, but I wasn’t quite successful. One slow day at work out of sheer boredom, I began to surf the internet as I waited for customers. That's when I stumbled across something unexpected.

I chanced upon a discussion about the job market and the difficulties of finding work. One comment stood out, it was from a guy who mentioned that his company was constantly hiring. On an impulse, I decided to message him to learn more about his job and his company.

Fast forward nearly ten years later, now, I'm a well-remunerated, in-demand consultant specializing in IT asset management. I could never have envisioned pursuing a career in such a field, considering my educational background, if it weren't for those tough times.

Man is seating and thinking on his desk with woman is standing behind him.olia danilevich, Pexels

27. Extra Credit

One day, right after I'd graduated high school, I took a stroll with no specific plans in mind for my future. As luck would have it, I bumped into one of my previous teachers. I shared my predicament with him and in response, he proposed that I return to school for another year to complete a particular program.

Interestingly, he also suggested a university far away across the country, which offered advanced placement for students who had completed that specific program. The best part was that this was equivalent to shaving off a year from my university studies. And so, I did exactly as he suggested. 

Now, I've put down roots in that distant part of the country, and have a wife and two children. On reflection, it was this teacher who provided me with a sense of direction when nobody else took the time. I have since written to him to express my gratitude.

Two young man is standing outside and talking.Armin Rimoldi, Pexels

28. Reunited And It Feels So Good

I made a trip to my late dad's old stomping grounds for a big family gathering. Before setting off, I posted on Facebook to see if any of my school buddies would be keen to catch up. I really didn't expect much out of it.

Interestingly, I reconnected with a former classmate and her family right in my dad's old town. I ended up staying with them for the night and we even brainstormed some business ideas. Little did I know how significant that overnight stay would become.

As it turned out, these business ideas led me back to that town a year later. Health problems derailed our original plans, but the silver lining was that I landed my first stable summer job.

In my previous life, romance had eluded me. But after a few years here, I found myself dating my buddy's stepson. Living here has broadened my social circle and introduced me to new hobbies, passions, and experiences like never before. I can honestly say these last six years have been the best of my life.

Now, there's talk of relocating to the UK. The thought is exhilarating yet also quite nerve-wracking. And to think, all these sweeping life changes began with a simple social media post asking if anyone was up for a meetup.

Young woman is talking with other woman seating in coffee shop.Marcus Aurelius ,Pexels

29. The Salesman

I once helped a friend relocate to Texas. The plan was to stay for a few weeks but I ended up draining my funds and needed a job to afford the ticket home. The only two immediate job options were either stocking up grocery store shelves or telemarketing.

I chose telemarketing, a less visible option when you hit rock bottom. Surprisingly, the guy in charge there was brilliant at sales. I learned so much from him that I've stayed in sales ever since. So, I ended up applying for a temporary, not so glamorous job, but it shaped my entire career path.

In the 30 years that followed, I've delved into various types of sales and have attended every upscale sales training seminar available. Yet, not a single highly successful sales expert has managed to teach me anything more or anything new compared to what that man taught me in his modest telephone room. 

Interestingly, he never had any formal training. He fled his home at 14, lived homeless until 22. If he couldn't close his deals, he resorted to eating from dumpsters.

Close up photo of man wearing headset and glasses, smiling at camera.Jep Gambardella, Pexels

30. Banded Together

I once complimented a fellow student in the elevator on the band logo featured on their hoodie. I mustered up the courage to do this right after a large lecture, which had roughly 300 people. We ended up spending the entire day together, during which they invited me to attend their club meeting.

Quite interestingly, the club was responsible for scheduling all of the bands that performed at our university. Being part of this ultimately led me to meeting some wonderful people, making lifelong friends, learning to embrace who I am, and overall, experiencing a fantastic time at college.

Friends in high school having conversationIvan Samkov, Pexels

31. Back To School

While taking a walk down memory lane with my wife in our old Toronto neighbourhood, we bumped into an old high school friend of mine from way back. We quickly found a cosy spot at a nearby restaurant to catch up and reminisce about the good old times.

During our conversation, I made a personal confession: I'd always felt a pang of regret for not attending university. My friend then suggested that I look into Atkinson College at York University. According to him, they offered evening classes that might lead to getting an undergraduate degree. 

This seemed like a perfect arrangement for someone like me, juggling a full-time job and family life with a wife and two kids. Energised by the idea, I took action the very next day. Fast forward five years, and there I was, a proud holder of a BA degree. 

Besides tying the knot with my better half and raising our two amazing kids, who are now grown-ups, it's the most transformative experience in my life. My hats off to you, Bob Hamilton—wherever you may be.

Group of people are talking in bar.cottonbro studio, Pexels

32. Living The Good Life

Just before New Zealand went into its 2020 lockdown, I had visited the library and picked up a few books. One caught my eye—it was about the power of gratitude in transforming our lives. Now, it's important to understand my background. 

I've dealt with a fair share of hard times and was juggling various mental health diagnoses, including anxiety and depression. At age 22, I still lived with my mom and my mental health was not at its best. I was in a negative mental space, feeling cheated by life. 

I bore the weight of expecting the world to make up for my problems, and frankly, everything seemed terrible. But then, lockdown arrived and I opened that book, and it just clicked with me. I stumbled upon an app named Happyfeed, designed to record three things you're thankful for each day.

Though skeptical, I gave it a shot. The book had cited scientific studies and stories of people whose lives had been transformed. I figured, why not try? Opening myself up to gratitude was a game changer for me. Recognizing three things to appreciate every night began to seep into other aspects of my life.

I seriously pursued therapy, made a conscious effort to recover, and strived to find a silver lining in every circumstance, no matter how grim. Over time, I moved out of my mom's house, began my university journey, and found myself in my first truly loving and healthy relationship. Today, I am HAPPY. 

Even when life throws curveballs my way, I feel confident in my ability to cope. I've grown to appreciate my body and personality. I'm proud to say I'm a straight-A student, I drink in moderation, and I maintain a balanced diet. 

Embracing gratitude and making an effort to see the good has been a life-altering experience for me. And trust me, I've tried all the self-help tips before—meditation, therapy, you name it, and nothing really hit the mark.There's something genuinely pure about seeking the positive in life, particularly when it's the last thing you want to do.

The challenge becomes its own reward. For the past three years, I've stuck with my nightly trio of appreciations, and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. I believe I'll keep it up for life. The best partis that there will always be something to be grateful for.

Young man is seating at home and reading a book.Laker , Pexels

33. Dancing Queen

I'm typically a homebody reserved introvert who doesn't mingle much. I had been constantly looking for that something special to fill a void in my life and make me experience joy. I then chose to give a free salsa dance lesson a shot. Now, three months on, I'm going for classes four times a week.

Additionally, I'm treating myself to private sessions, partaking in social dance gatherings whenever I can, and expanding my circle of acquaintances. I have already had a chance to give one performance. Soon, I'll be journeying downtown to assist someone with a show they're presenting. It's totally transformed my life. 

Looking back over the last few months, I've relished more moments of sheer happiness and fulfillment than I did in the previous six years.

Woman is dancing at studio and smiling.Anna Shvets, Pexels

34. Game Boy

Back in 2013, I moved on campus as a college freshman. I used to leave my door open while playing my old school game, Red Faction, on my not-so-great laptop; it couldn't even run newer video games.

One day, a guy swung by and stuck his head into my room, fascinated because he hadn't seen Red Faction before. After introducing himself, he mentioned there were others down the hall also playing cool games.

So, I suspended my game and trotted few doors down to meet these fellow gamers. Over the last ten years, I've stayed tight with most of that initial gang. We catch up frequently and make it a point to meet at least annually post college. So you see, just by leaving my door open, I built some fantastic friendships.

Fun fact: owning the only vacuum cleaner among the first-year students on my floor was also a major plus. My advice to anyone heading to college: When you're the only one with a vacuum cleaner, you become instantly popular.

Young man is playing game on his laptop.iam hogir, Pexels

35. Museum Miracles

Due to my ongoing dialysis treatment, it's been tough to find a job that would accept me. My parents, noting my struggles and its impact on my mental wellbeing, even proposed to cover a modest wage for me.

I was losing hope of landing a job in my chosen field (working in museums), especially since even the fast food joints and theaters were turning me down. One day, my town held a free music and arts fair. Despite my gloomy mood and preference to stay at home, I pushed myself to attend, if only for a change of scenery.

I ended up popping into the local museum out of curiosity. As I chatted with the staff at the front desk, my life took an unexpected turn. During the conversation, I mentioned my unsuccessful job hunt during my medical recess from grad school. On asking my line of study and hearing it was "museum studies," their eyes sparkled. 

Turns out they were board members and they offered me an internship on the spot, to which I said yes instantly. A month in, after assessing the state of the archives, I mustered courage to request for my title to be changed to an archivist, given the magnitude of the work involved. They agreed wholeheartedly and later extended my roles to include registrar and curator as well.

Now, having stayed here for over a year, I've gained more hands-on experience than I ever imagined. Simultaneously, I've been playing a key role in uplifting the museum's standards. Recently, my super supportive supervisor invited a seasoned museum consultant for a walkthrough.

When I asked her about the consultant's opinion, she shared that they were thoroughly impressed with the museum. They expressed, "In all my visits to local museums and archives, I've never come across one that's supremely well-organized and universally accessible. Clearly, the person responsible has done a commendable job with dedication". 

And to think I might have missed this opportunity if I had given in to my urge to stay indoors that day.

Man wearing black hat is walking at museum hallway.Nairod Reyes , Pexels

36. Department Hopping

The year I wrapped up my undergrad studies, I met with a younger friend who was still a student over a cup of coffee. She had invited me to swing by our college faculty because she didn't feel like leaving campus. So, I dropped by and ran into one of my professors who was part of a different department.

She mentioned that for the first time, their department was opening doors to students with different majors for postgraduate studies. She encouraged me to throw my hat in the ring. Through diligence and tenacity, not only did I get accepted into the department but also secured the top slot.

Fast forward two years, I landed a job as a research assistant within the same department. A surprising turn of events that wouldn't have unfolded if my friend wasn't too tired to rendezvous off-campus that day.

Young people are drinking coffee outside.Mizuno K, Pexels

37. Take A Chance On Me

My buddy tipped me off about a tech job that was available. Rushing at the eleventh hour, I showed up to interview without having proper job exposure. I was informed they weren't hiring anymore and suggested I return for an interview after gaining more experience. However, I assured them that they wouldn't regret if they just took a chance on me.

Even though I lacked professional experience, I knew I had enough skills to handle the job if given the opportunity. The interviewer peered at me for a while before deciding, "Alright, kid, I'll give you a shot. Don't let me down". That marked the start of my programming journey 30 years ago.

Now I'm the one in the hiring seat, and it's incredibly satisfying to take a risk on someone young and realize it was a fantastic choice. The thought that I'm paving the way for another promising programmer by giving them a chance gives me a sense of contributing back to the community that has nurtured me over the last three decades.

Senior man is seating in office and making a job interview to a young man.Tima Miroshnichenko, Pexels

38. Changing Seasons

As a chef, my job takes me to various hotels and resorts during the peak tourist seasons. This travelling work schedule usually leaves me with two to three months of leisure time every year. Last year, I opted to spend this break with my family back home and took up a part-time job for a change.

This restaurant I joined was far from perfect, yet I managed to develop a good rapport with the General Manager and the bar manager. No wonder then, that when the restaurant shut its doors recently (which didn't surprise me at all), it was these two who decided to start their own venture.

They asked me to join them as the executive chef, with the promise of full authority over the kitchen. Excitedly, I persuaded three remarkably talented cooks whom I had the pleasure of working with in the past to join our team, too. Our plan is to throw open the doors of our new restaurant in November, just as my current job contract concludes.

Chef is slicing on a chopping board.Kampus Production, Pexels

39. Language Lesson

Back in eighth grade, I found myself sharing a history class with a good friend of mine. It was during this time that we had to make important decisions about the classes we'd take for our first year in high school. Thanks to taking advice from some high schoolers he played sports with, my friend chose to take up German. I ended up following his lead.

Little did I know, that choice would become a defining moment in my life. Flash forward to our college days, and my friend and I were still together. Still studying German. The only reason I stuck with it was that I needed the language credits to earn my degree. 

Luckily, I found myself under the mentorship of some incredible professors who suggested I take my studies abroad. Naturally, where I went, my friend followed. During our time abroad, he met the woman who would become his wife and he moved across the country. 

When I went to visit, I met a woman and also decided to move. Searching for employment, I stumbled upon more than just a job—I discovered a career. It was there where I met my soulmate. And to think it all started because of a decision made in eighth grade.

Students and teacher in the classroom are looking some tests.Yan Krukau, Pexels

40. Tooth Troubles

I had to cancel a holiday I was eagerly looking forward to because of a dry socket post wisdom teeth extraction. I took this as a sign to focus on my healing. My then-boyfriend went on the trip alone, just as I had encouraged him to do. A surprising revelation occurred a few days later—I wasn't excited at his return, I actually dreaded it. 

This unexpected distance between us cleared my vision. I'd been evading a decision that was bound to happen eventually. Despite truly loving him and persistently believing we could work things out, the harsh reality was that we were just not a good match. Our life goals did not align.

About a week after his return, we ended things. I kickstarted my new career, found joy in living independently, and a year later, I met the man who would become my husband. Today, we've happily spent almost three years in marriage, bonded in love for seven years.

That annoying dry socket, although painful and inconvenient, was what pushed me out of my comfort zone. It compelled me to self-reflect and change the course of my life.

Young woman is looking down with sad face.Liza Summer, Pexels

41. Close Call

I had a persistent headache for a week, which prompted me to visit the emergency room. I've experienced headaches all my life, some quite terrible, so I didn't expect this to be any different. Unexpectedly, I had to urgently undergo brain surgery to remove a large, six-centimeter wide cancerous tumor from the left part of my brain.

Now, I'm in the process of securing disability benefits and transitioning to a full-time dad role, since all my previous jobs were too hazardous, dirty, or wet to continue while receiving treatment. Had I not made the decision to visit the hospital when I did, the rapidly spreading tumor could have dangerously endangered my life.

Presently, I've been warned that if I discontinue using the medical device, required for 18 hours a day to control the tumor growth, it will certainly return. Eventually, barring anything more catastrophic happening before, this tumor is ultimately what will be responsible for my demise.

Man wearing black shirt seating on the bed and covering his face with hand.MART PRODUCTION , Pexels

42. Bloody Situation

My brother was experimenting with a new medication when a routine blood test revealed an unusually high level of iron in his system. This discovery had a big impact, transforming not only his life but mine too.

The next step was a test for hemochromatosis, a hereditary condition that causes your body to absorb too much iron. His results were positive. Consequently, I was recommended to take the test as well. 

However, before I could even settle into the waiting room, a call from the doctor came announcing that there'd been a mistake—his originally positive result was in fact, false. They told me I was good to go home. But given I was already there, I thought, why not just get tested? So I did. 

Unfortunately, I tested positive for hemochromatosis. Usually, this is a condition you discover much later in life, often when it's already wreaked havoc on your body. However, I was fortunate enough to find out in my early twenties, giving me ample time to change my habits and prevent the disease from cutting my life short in my forties or fifties.

Young man is having a conversation with female doctor at office.fizkes, Shutterstock

43. Sibling Surprise

A few years back, I was due for a license plate sticker renewal. The thought of spending an eternity in that waiting room alone made me cringe. So, I coaxed my mom into accompanying me with the promise of treating her to dinner later.

The staff member processing our request was, to our surprise, my mom's biological brother who she'd lost touch with years ago. Without my mom being there, we would have continued to be unaware.

Man and woman are seating and talking with man seating on his desk.Antoni Shkraba, Pexels

44. Escape Plan

I had initially planned on sharing a ride with my aunt to a family meet-up. However, just before we set off, I chose to travel solo so I could head home early if needed. The location was pretty far off, and I definitely didn't want to be stranded.

While traveling, my aunt unfortunately steered her car into a ditch. Thankfully, she wasn't injured but the right side of her car was completely bashed in.

Shocked man in blue jacket standing in front of white background.Dima Valkov , Pexels

45. The Colonel Calls

Just the other day, I was on my route home after a day at work. The roads weren't too busy and right ahead of me was a car with a "KFD" license plate. Suddenly, a craving for salty KFC French fries hit me and I thought, why not give myself a little treat?

Just my luck, it took ages for them to serve my order—about 10 minutes. By the time I finally got my salty treat, what was once a smooth ride home turned into bumper-to-bumper traffic. A six-lane bridge I needed to cross was now down to one open lane.

I later discovered the cause—an enormous crash involving many vehicles. My jaw hit the floor. As I managed to maneuver past the carnage, something caught my eye. The license plate on one of the smashed cars was all too familiar. Yes, it was that "KFD" plate. It dawned on me then, if I hadn't swung by KFC, I would've likely been part of that horrific pile-up.

Shocked man in car looking at, Shutterstock

46. Cat Cash-In

A couple years back, I had a chat with my boss during my evening commute about our tasks for the following day. Suddenly, he asked, "What on earth is that racket?” Instead of explaining, I decided it would be easier to just show him.

So, I filmed the noise source: me opening the door and feeding my noisy bunch of farm cats. I've never been a fan of hovering awkwardly while someone looks at my phone to watch a video. So, I uploaded the clip to YouTube instead. The next day when I opened my computer to show my boss, I noticed the video had strangely racked up 11 views.

Soon after, it went viral. The view count was climbing by the thousands every hour. Suddenly, I was being inundated with calls and emails. People wanted to purchase the video's rights or were simply requesting permission to use it. 

When the pandemic struck, the video enjoyed a resurgence in popularity and unexpectedly became a helpful source of income during tough times. All this, just because I didn't fancy sharing a 30-second video directly from my phone…

Young woman is looking shocked, looking at her laptop screen.Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

47. Submission Success

I was in the process of sending in online applications for a major nationwide internship. Between September and March, I had the option to apply for up to ten different roles, with rolling admissions across various departments. Then, one late night in the early days of March, at about 11:45 pm, I decided to apply for just one more position.

Little did I know, the entire countrywide application process was set to close at the stroke of midnight that very day. Interestingly, that last-minute application turned out to be the golden ticket—the one internship I was accepted for. Now, five years later, I'm still in that same company. 

It's moved me halfway across the country, and even enabled me to attend graduate school. Looking ahead, it seems I'm probably going to build a career here, all thanks to a spur-of-the-moment decision: "Well, I have a bit of time left, let's submit one more application".

Young man is seating on the floor ,looking at laptop.Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

48. Game Of Chance

I once bravely approached a guy I liked at a party, though, unfortunately, he gently rejected me. He did, however, want to stick around and chat over a smoke. One thing led to another and my ride home got tired of waiting for me; she took off with a group of our friends in her dad's Saab. 

She soon fell asleep at the wheel, hitting two telephone poles before a large rock with a memorial plaque on it brought the car to a sudden stop. Miraculously, all six passengers survived, though the results were devastating: two are now wheel-chair bound, and two others are dealing with severe, life-altering brain injuries.

All six of them were seriously injured and spent numerous days in the ICU followed by months of recuperation. The driver, one of two who've managed to have a relatively normal life post-accident, endured two tough years of surgeries before she could relearn to walk.

If it weren't for a spontaneous surge of courage, I would have been in that car. The thought of that night still unsettles me, 30 years on.

Young couple standing outside and talking.cottonbro studio, Pexels

49. Heart To Heart

I recently had to reach out to my heart doctor to provide my updated insurance details. The person handling my insurance was sick with the flu which caused a slight delay. The doctor's receptionist then told me, "Hey, we have an opening this Friday due to a cancellation. Would you like to take it?"

Naturally, I seized the chance because there was no way I wanted to delay this for another month. As a result, I accepted the chance to undergo my open-heart surgery a month ahead of schedule. My surgeon later expressed his relief over this decision because after examining my heart, he noticed that I wouldn't have made it to the initially planned date.

Ironically, if the person from my insurance company hadn't been ill with the flu, I would have sent over my details sooner and wouldn't have been offered the chance to have my surgery at an earlier date. So, in a strange twist of fate, someone else's flu ended up saving my life.

Man in hospital bed wearing hospital pajamas is having a conversation with doctor.DCStudio, Freepik

50. Open Sesame

So there I was, jobless and staying at my parents' place at the ripe old age of 25. To add insult to injury, I'd recently been dumped, which was understandable considering my circumstances. I detested the job I'd been let go from just a few months earlier.

My main pastime was playing WoW when, out of the Blue, I got an unexpected LinkedIn invite. It was an invitation to an open house at a financial tech firm—a company I had a vague understanding of. I enquired if they had any vacancies in my area of interest and the response was negative.

But I decided, "What the heck!" I had nothing better to do so I attended. At the event, I ended up having a chat with a couple guys. One was a senior manager and the other was a newly hired employee under him. The newbie, however, was completely sloshed (thanks to the open bar).

While he was off making a spectacle of himself, I kept up my conversation with the manager. As fate would have it, I ended up taking the plastered guy's job. Since then, my career has skyrocketed in a Fortune 100 company. The smartest move I ever made was to remain clear-headed at that event.

Bearded man is talking with other man at party.Alexy Almond, pexels

Sources: Reddit

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.