Everyone has heard the stories of hardships and struggles, but sometimes in life, things can be surprisingly easy. Whether an unexpected life hack, trade secret, or just through pure luck, these stories encompass the little victories of everyday people.
1. Accidentally Famous
I used to live in New Jersey. One day, a friend of mine asked me to come along to a commercial audition at a bar in New York City. To be honest, I was more interested in the bar than the audition. After a couple of drinks, I decided to give the audition a shot. I walked out, though, convinced that it was a complete waste of my time. Little did I know what was about to happen.
Fast forward a month and suddenly I get a phone call. They wanted me to feature in the commercial. The really exciting part was finding out the director was none other than the guy who directed the original Space Jam. Not only that, but they also gave me lines to say on camera, and I ended up in two of their commercials.
Then, out of the blue, I received a whopping $40,000. I genuinely thought there was a mistake, like someone messed up their paperwork or something. But no, it was for real and that unexpected payday kick-started my acting career.
2. Staying Linked In
I always keep my LinkedIn status set to "open to opportunities," even when I'm currently employed. One day, a recruiter reached out to me about a potential job opportunity. I checked out the role and directly applied to the company. To my surprise, they were actively searching for someone with my skillset.
This simple step led to a salary increase of $20k and a more relaxed job with flexible working hours that doesn't require commuting. Now, I hold a prestigious job title and have recently interviewed for another position that offers an even higher title and salary. All this, and I’ve only been in my present role for seven months.
3. Not So Common Knowledge
My proud achievement was finally conquering a lasting speech impediment when I was 22. You see, there's this popular belief that if you don't overcome a speech condition by about the age of 10, then you're stuck with it.
The concept is rooted in the idea that by this age, your speaking habits have solidified to the point where you just have to resign yourself to the fact that it's a lifelong trait. This was the reason provided when I was dismissed from speech therapy in my third grade.
This reasoning influenced me heavily, deterring me from seeking speech therapy again until I was 22. I assumed this was an obstacle I'd never be able to get over and I was deceiving myself by believing it could be fixed. However, someone made a severe mistake. As it turns out, that collective belief was completely wrong.
Fact is, there's no expiry date for correcting a speech impediment; all you need is effective speech therapy. So, within two sessions, my perpetual lateral lisp disappeared. And within a month, my enduring rhotacism, which made it hard for me to pronounce 'r's, also vanished.
It was remarkable! But also, I could I have enjoyed a normal, joyous childhood all this while, but I just...didn't? Just because the adults in my life concluded that the issue was irreversible when I was merely eight years old? It still bums me out.
4. Self-Made Plumber
I had a minor triumph when I successfully fixed a blocked drain. This whole issue started when the plug in my sink refused to stay open. Upon investigating beneath the sink, I discovered that the pop-up rod was badly rusted and had broken completely.
To get a replacement, I had to spend five dollars at a plumbing store around where I used to work back then. It took just about five minutes for me to grasp the process of changing it. Now, I understand how sink and shower drains can be disassembled, making it a lot easier to unblock them.
Perhaps it's just my perception, but I had this idea in my mind that I would need to call in a professional plumber for such a task. However, as it turns out, it's pretty easy!
5. Small Victory At Small Claims
I ended up with a pretty small triumph when I took someone to Small Claims Court. It turned out to be smoother than I expected, mainly because my evidence was bulletproof. I presented a meticulously compiled and professionally printed document that contained proof, testimonials from witnesses, and accurate records to the courtroom.
On the flip side, the defendant didn't put in much effort. Her so-called "evidence" was nothing more than random, unorganized print-outs from my Facebook page. As you can guess, the judgment was swift and favored me.
6. Best Job Ever
I've never really enjoyed any of the jobs I've had. First, I joined the army when I was 18 and spent six years there, a period I didn't really enjoy. Then, I ended up working in customer service at Walmart where the staff had a knack of treating everyone poorly. I even gave security work a shot, but the demeaning behavior of the staff made it unbearable.
Job after job, I tried to do what I thought was the "right thing". But one day, my career path took a turn for the better. I took a step to apply to a local HVAC company for a position in their call center. It wasn't a huge operation; there were about nine of us working the phones. And to my surprise, it turned out to be the best job I've ever had.
One of the best things about this job is the camaraderie. We all get along really well, spend hours on our group chat sharing memes, and have such a laugh. The management is excellent, holding one-on-one sessions every fortnight not to discuss work, but to check in on how we are doing in our lives and ask what we need support with.
There's always clear communication about what's expected of us and discussions about how we can excel in those areas, and how the management can facilitate our improved performance. I'm also impressed by how profit is used to directly benefit employees.
I receive a monthly commission and residuals, $30 a month towards my healthcare, and we even have monthly potlucks and free lunches. Top that off with a competitive starting wage of $17 an hour. And the fact that there's been zero staff turnover is a great sign—the only reason they were hiring for my position was because too many people had been promoted.
7. Too Good To Be True
For a good while, I'd spent countless hours exploring every job site I could stumble upon, submitting application after application. I'd reached out to pals, picking their brains over my resume/cover letter, fine-tuning them based on their insight. Of course, I also made sure my online portfolio was updated and looking sharp.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a recruiter pinged me on LinkedIn. Essentially, they offered me what I could only describe as my dream job on a silver platter. One interview was all it took, followed by a call where words resembling "Hey, you're hired" echoed in my ear.
Honestly, I was convinced it was all an elaborate prank until the moment I stepped foot in the office on my very first day.
8. How I Doubled My Salary
While applying for a job, I mistakenly keyed in double the amount I intended for my salary request because the number keys are located close together. Nonetheless, they approved it.
9. The 20-Dollar Flat Screen
I stumbled across a 60-inch TV sitting next to the garbage bin. I brought it home and tried switching it on, but it didn't work. So I searched online using the TV's model number to identify any common issues. I managed to find a replacement part needed on eBay for just $20.
After installing the new part, I was the proud owner of an enormous TV that only cost me $20.
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10. Sleep Hacked
Sleeping was always a challenge for me. But then, I stumbled upon a magnesium supplement that could be bought over-the-counter, labeled "Calm". Now, I drink a cup every night and the quality of my sleep mirrors that of a bear in hibernation. It was as simple as that.
11. No One Else Applied
This is the story of how I clinched the Erasmus scholarship. Bear in mind, there were only two slots available per term amidst my university program with over 300 individuals. The idea of applying piqued my interest, but the prospect seemed slim with such fierce competition, and as a result, I didn't commit wholeheartedly to the application process.
But one day, I made a shocking discovery. Turns out, I was the sole applicant. Consequently, I spent the next six months in the delightful city of North Sweden, with all expenses covered by the European Union.
12. When In Doubt, Try Amazon
For three years, I had this wobbly hinge on my door that was just driving me nuts. I just couldn't figure out how to repair the stripped wood. But then, I stumbled upon a solution on Amazon, a $10 product. You simply push a sleeve into the stripped wood, snap it off, and then screw in new screws.
I also picked up a pair of new hinges that don't emit any irritating squeaky noises. The whole process only took me around 10 minutes and set me back just $20. And just like that, my problem was solved.
13. A Cheaper Fix
My Acura's power steering kicked the bucket. The local Acura dealership estimated the repair cost to be more than $1,000. But, I had a nifty solution. I purchased a power steering pump from Amazon, which cost me only $70, and stumbled upon a helpful YouTube video explaining its installation.
Even though I didn't have a background in car maintenance, I was able to successfully complete the task within a couple of hours. The result was fantastic.
14. Thank God I’m Fired
I'd secured a new position recently, yet the prospect of resigning from the job I'd held for eight years was causing a lot of unease. My team held a special place in my heart, and quitting was stressful, from a financial perspective too, since I'd planned to take a week's break between the two jobs.
Eventually, I summoned the courage to organize a meeting with my boss, and I must admit, sleep eluded me the night prior. However, an unexpected turn of events took place an hour before I planned to resign. I was called into a meeting with HR by my boss's boss. As it turned out, I was being let go, along with many other employees.
They expressed heartfelt regret regarding the decision, and my boss's superior was genuinely in tears. She assured that they would "look after me". Subsequently, I received 20 weeks worth of severance pay and got to enjoy an extended break of three weeks before starting my new job. Looking back, it was, by far, one of the best things that happened to me.
The news took me by such a surprise that I almost burst out laughing during the meeting, yet managed to play it off, pretending it was me trying to suppress my tears.
15. The Miracle Cure
Celebrating my small win—drinking water! I transitioned from struggling with sleep to waking up completely refreshed. It's incredible how water has empowered me to improve my life. Initially, I assumed getting off soda would be an uphill battle, but when I gave it a shot, the advantages definitely surpassed its tasteless nature.
16. Lying On The Job
I landed a job that was mostly outdoor work, all the time, and for a pretty modest wage. My first day on the job, they asked what else I was good at. I noticed some folks were using a program called AutoCAD, so I casually mentioned that I tinkered with it back in college, but admitted I could use a brush-up.
To be honest, though, that wasn't strictly true—I'd really only ever used it once to doodle a few circles. To my surprise, the company was stoked about this and arranged a four-day crash course for me. After mastering AutoCAD, I've not had to step back into the field for well over a year now.
Considering my new desk-jockey status, I thought I'd ask for a boost in pay since I wasn't out there doing fieldwork anymore. I was met with a flat "No," so I started looking elsewhere, landing a fresh job that capitalised on my AutoCAD skills, but this time for double my previous wage.
Quick tip for all budding technicians out there: get to grips with AutoCAD C3D. It's not as hard as you might think, and people will consider you a technical whizz.
17. “DJ's Got Us Falling In Love”
During my second year at college, my friends decided to host a party at their place. One was somewhat of a sensation as a DJ among the college crowd. We were all having a ball, while the DJ friend was spinning some tunes when he needed to visit the washroom. And that's when things got interesting.
As he made for the exit, he clicked his fingers on my shoulder and asked me to man his turntables temporarily to prevent any possible mishandling. He'd lined up his tracks, so all I had to do was stand guard. No more than half a minute later, a pair of girls approached me, gushing over how they adored the music.
Despite my admission that I was merely overseeing a playlist, they expressed their enthusiasm unabated. When the DJ returned a few minutes later, I stepped back. One of the girls then asked me for a dance. Things unfolded, and we had a fabulous time together.
I told my DJ friend about the girl I had bumped into while I was substituting him at the DJ station. He burst into laughter and affirmed, "Sometimes, it really is as easy as that".
18. Worth A Try
I achieved a personal win when I was employed by the US Department of Defense. I had always thought that jobs in such departments required a background in government service, along with a collection of diverse degrees.
When a job vacancy appeared at a site close to my home, I decided to give it a go and applied. I didn't have high hopes of receiving a response or even much consideration. Surprisingly, not only did I receive a call back, but I was also chosen for the job.
The eligibility criteria turned out to be far more flexible than I had anticipated. The only prerequisites were a clean record and a readiness to learn. I was given a position as a wastewater treatment technician, and I was able to earn an environmental engineering degree, thanks to their support.
19. Never Too Late
I'm so excited to share that I've taken the plunge and decided to return to school. This isn't something new, the idea has been playing on my mind for years now. But the thoughts of distance, costs, time management kept holding me back. After all, I have a house to run, a job to keep, and a little one to look after, so it was tough imagining fitting anything else in.
Recently however, something just clicked in me. I thought, why not give it a shot, and picked up the phone to call a nearby technical school. Fast forward three days, and there I was, taking a tour around the campus. The whole thing took maybe an hour or two. All the paperwork hassles? All done online, and now I'm all set to start my classes from next Monday.
I also got lucky with the financial aid. The entire program is going to cost me about $50 a month till I graduate, after which it'll go up to around $95. It's pretty reasonable if you ask me. The class timings work for me too, just four hours of nighttime classes, and that too only twice a week.
As for the rest of my coursework, I can do that from the comfort of my home, thanks to the tablet they provided me with. No need to rush out and buy an expensive computer. Honestly, I was amazed at how convenient and affordable the whole process turned out to be.
20. Up, Up, And Away
I secured my pilot's license. Truly, I devoted quite a bit of time to studying, yet I was somewhat doubtful about my ability to do well. Even though my trainer expressed confidence in me, I still had my reservations.
On the day of the final test, I responded to each question accurately and promptly, while executing every maneuver flawlessly. As we parked, my proctor asked, "So, how does it feel to be a private pilot?" Despite my success in performing each task with surprising comfort, I couldn't quite fully embrace it—I thought to myself, "There's just no way".
21. A Little Research Goes A Long Way
I am a 24-year-old lady with hardly any knowledge about automobiles. I bought a great dual-view (front and rear) dashcam on a whim, not thinking about the intricacies of wiring it. It came to my attention that I had to dismantle parts of my car to ensure the wiring wouldn't interfere with the functioning of my airbag system.
At first, I was under the impression I needed professional help to put my dashcam into operation, but I discovered a wonderful workaround in the form of a YouTube tutorial. The instructions were clearly laid out and following them gave me a professionally fitted-looking set of dashcams.
I even managed to troubleshoot and replace a defective fuse when my USB adapter stopped working, all on the same day. Riding the high from overcoming a challenge, I briefly entertained the idea of undertaking more car modifications (mods), but thankfully, that obsession faded fairly quickly.
22. Learning To Love
Here's a straightforward version of how I overcame a personal challenge: I hit a turning point when I ended a relationship that was more harmful to me than beneficial. I had a habit of clinging to relationships even when I was engulfed in disillusionment. When I discovered self-love, I learned that mediocrity isn't an option for me.
Then there was this transformative period of solitude, which I surprisingly welcomed. My newfound self-esteem started attracting the sort of folks I genuinely enjoyed spending time with. The kind of individuals who incited an urge within me to endlessly strive to become a better version of myself.
If you find yourself stuck in a painful relationship where you're constantly settling for less than love, respect, or kindness, and you're in a position where leaving won't jeopardize your safety, I'd say go for it. Even if you're not fond of yourself at the moment, rest assured, you will get there.
This applies not only to romantic partnerships but all types of relationships in your life. Try surrounding yourself with individuals you are comfortable around and who enjoy your company as well. Remember, time is the most priceless asset we possess, so it's crucial to use it wisely.
23. The Broken Fridge
When we moved into our new home, the previous owners had left behind what they claimed was a "broken" refrigerator. They even left a note about it in the documents, stating that they won't be taking care of its disposal. So, during our first week, I planned to buy a new one, but out of sheer curiosity, I decided to connect the old one to see what the problem was.
Fast forward four years, and you'd be surprised to know we're still using that supposed "broken" refrigerator without any trouble. We did find a minor leak in the plastic water line of the ice maker. A simple $2 replacement did the trick.
24. All Little Action
When I was working abroad for an American company, myself and numerous colleagues all started suffering from a similar chronic health issue. This was due to continued violation of certain health and safety regulations in our workplace by our employer.
I kept encouraging my colleagues to submit SPOT reports, considering these health problems were not something that would disappear by themselves. Despite the fact that everyone was always grumbling about their health-related problems, none of them took the time to submit a report.
So, I took the initiative and submitted a SPOT report myself. They had no clue what opportunities they were passing by. My decision led me to two years of physical rehabilitation back in the US, all while earning tax-free dollars from abroad, without having to actually work. At the end of it all, I received a substantial five-figure cash settlement.
My health problems were properly addressed, thanks to medical attention I received as a result of holding my employer accountable. As far as I know, my former colleagues are still only grumbling about their ailments without taking any concrete steps to address them. There were no legal cases and no lawyers involved. A single injury report did the trick.
25. The Family Favorite
All my life, my parents and grandparents had this quirky routine of making the smallest tasks sound super complicated and demanding.
Every time I'd tackle these so-called "challenges" and see how ridiculously straightforward they were, I'd be a tad insulted—while my family proudly congratulated me. I couldn't work out on why was I provoked. Was it because I was expecting a tougher task, or was it because my family underestimated my abilities with such simple tasks?
It could be an ego issue, or maybe it's Maybelline, who knows. Here's the fun part, though. Once I hit 18, I decided to flip the scenario. I started to perceive everything as less complicated than it appeared. This way, I wouldn't psych myself out thinking that I wasn't capable of doing it. Guess what the outcome was?
I turned out to be one of the most competent and skilled people in my group.
26. A Little Upgrade
One of my personal achievements was that I taught myself how to code. Now, I wouldn't say I'm a full-fledged programmer or anything like that, but there was a point in my career where I was working in a role that managed data and heavily relied on Excel to refresh a database through a file dump.
Our job required us to leverage formulas to ensure our work was aligned with the main database file after we'd transferred it. My aptitude for dealing with data didn't go unnoticed and my boss suggested that it could be beneficial for me to learn SQL and transition into a more analytical role.
If I'm perfectly honest, I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the idea, so I pushed it to the side for a good two years. Eventually, my dissatisfaction with my current role motivated me to confront the challenge head-on. That's when I finally started to learn SQL. To my astonishment, I found that it was way more approachable than I had initially thought.
With a solid grasp of the basics, I was able to secure a new job within just three months. Currently, SQL has become a part of my everyday routine. My typical usage doesn't exactly consist of crafting new SQL scripts, but rather adjusting and fine-tuning pre-existing code to meet my needs.
Plus, understanding the existing code by reading it is a fantastic learning tool as well. Crossing my fingers, by this time next year, I hope to find myself working as an analyst.
27. Thundering Trouble
On a hot summer’s night, my neighborhood was slammed by a severe thunderstorm. The power went out everywhere, but by next morning, it was restored. Everything in my home sprung back to life, with one glaring exception—my new 65-inch TV that I'd purchased just two weeks ago remained off.
Naturally, I tried everything I could think of. I attempted to turn it on, I unplugged and re-plugged it, the works. After what felt like a million hours of troubleshooting and scouring the internet for solutions, it dawned on me—my TV was a goner.
Despite having all the necessary surge protection in place, I surmised that the TV must have been zapped during the storm. It was a gut-wrenching realization. But I wasn't ready to accept defeat yet. So, I spent more hours browsing through websites and forums on repairing TVs until I stumbled upon a forum post that was a game-changer.
The post detailed exactly what I was experiencing, and the solution was surprisingly simple—they used a hairdryer to blow warm air into the back of the TV. Though it sounded ludicrous, I thought, "What's there to lose?" So, I grabbed my hairdryer and aimed it into the back of the TV, giving it a warm air treatment for about seven or eight minutes. After that, I plugged the TV back in.
To my shock and delight, it worked. The TV flickered back on. Crisis averted. I can't explain precisely why or how it worked, but needless to say, I was overjoyed.
28. Members Only
I recently received an intriguing email from Amazon, inviting me to join their "Amazon Vine" program. To be honest, I was baffled, as I'd never come across it before. According to the email, I could request items for free in exchange for reviewing them.
It seemed too fantastic to be real, practically like a prank. I was almost certain it was; specifically considering it required my personal information including my name, residence, and social security details—the exact type of data one ought to be cautious about revealing online.
Yet, the email apparently originated from Amazon itself, sparking my curiosity. I took it upon myself to investigate whether this was just a gimmick and how it operated. To my utter surprise, further probing confirmed it to be entirely authentic.
Over the past year, I've received about $45,000 worth of free stuff from Amazon. All I've had to do in return is provide candid reviews. I give positive feedback if I like it, and negative if I dislike it.
I've been gifted an entire range of items, including a large-screen HD TV, ice machine, assortments of snacks such as cookies and Doritos, furniture, dash cameras, tablets, tattoo machines, and the list continues. I wouldn't be surprised if my neighbors think I'm on a shopping binge, while my delivery personnel likely suspect I've established a retail enterprise.
Of course, I do owe a tad to the IRS since this technically qualifies as income. Fortunately, considering my income bracket, the owed amount isn't all that significant. For those wondering how you can be part of this program, unfortunately, it's not an open-invitation. You either receive an invitation, or you simply don't.
The selection process remains a mystery. However, it seems to be contingent on the critiques you've penned in the past.
29. Knowing Your Worth
My tiny triumph came when I managed to negotiate a pay raise for myself. In my workplace, there were whispers about my knack for computers. They decided to test my skills on the CNC machine. As it turns out, my two-decade-long hobby in computer coding made me a real pro with it.
I also discovered that repairing the edge banding machine was no rocket science once you understood its functioning. Before I knew it, I had become the most indispensable asset at the firm. I believed that good work should be rewarded appropriately, so I assumed a pay hike was on the cards.
However, after a solid 18 months of waiting, there was no pay raise. Now, I'm usually pretty nervous, but bolstered by my friends and family, I plucked up the courage to ask for that raise. My boss's reaction was a punch in the gut. He laughed the first time I brought it up.
I don't think he was being snooty, but probably, my approach made it seem like a casual request. When I asked a second time, he promised he would consider it. Following this, I immediately initiated my job hunt. As it turned out, I was an employee in high demand. In less than a fortnight, I had three solid job offers in my hand.
So, I handed in my resignation. My departure wasn't taken well; the office was upset, and my bosses were in a frenzy. They asked what it would take for me to reconsider, and I laid out my terms—a salary significantly higher than the industry standard.
Surprisingly, they agreed without batting an eyelid. Now, I am the top earner in the establishment.
30. Dream Home Deal
I became a homeowner by chance when I discovered this property, which had been on the market for quite some time. Although it was a tad more expensive than my budget and not exactly my taste, the house had potential. Despite being only four years old and a quick stroll of 15 minutes from the beach, it hadn't caught anyone's eye until I came along.
Located on a relatively spacious block in the neighborhood, I felt drawn to it and decided to go ahead with the purchase. A thorough inspection and pest control report came back almost perfect, affirming my decision. Interestingly, within two months, the value had surged by $50,000.
Fast forward to two years later, and the house's worth has skyrocketed by an extra $200,000. I believe the reason everyone else neglected it at first was because it only has a single bathroom and a rather small garage. But for me, it serves its purpose perfectly.
A total of 18 years of savings for a down payment, coupled with an impressive credit score and robust savings account, paid off. I was in a fortunate position to snag this one-of-a-kind property. Plus, I secured a bank loan independently, without needing a broker—a feat I'm very proud of. Now I can honestly say I adore my place.
I've begun cultivating a small garden and even plan to plant trees to attract local wildlife. The street is peaceful, and the neighbors are very friendly. Stumbling upon this home was indeed a stroke of luck.
31. Just Another Lego Set
Building a PC feels like a personal achievement to me. I found many complicated videos on YouTube that didn't explain the process clearly, leading me to believe that assembling a computer would be a daunting task. But once I tried it out, it turned out to be just like assembling a Lego set meant for adults, only simpler.
32. Carefree Car Troubles
You know, the first-and-only brand-new car I ever took out a loan for was practically demolished because of my careless driving and constant neglect of its oil changes. I mean, it wasn't just that the interior looked like a disaster zone—I had completely destroyed the engine. But here's where things get interesting.
Somehow, someway, by a miraculous twist of fate, my entire engine was recalled due to an entirely different problem. They swapped out my busted engine for a brand-new one, absolutely free of charge, and I ended up driving that car for an additional 60,000 miles.
I just recently exchanged it for a lovely pre-owned vehicle that I'm treating with the utmost care. It's clear I've already used up my nine lives.
33. A Breezy Breakup
The small triumph I found was in my divorce. It might seem like an unusual sentiment, but the process initially filled me with dread. I was expecting a massive ordeal. However, once I gathered the bravery and we coped with the first wave of disappointment that lasted a couple of hours, we started to part ways.
The divorce process was straightforward, a visit to the court took less than sixty minutes, and just like that, we were divorced. We both managed to move on in good terms. I've always felt that people tend to portray divorce as an incredibly complex ordeal when it doesn't have to be. It's not always as tough to navigate as one might think.
34. Computer Genius
Back in 2003, I had a one-day stint as a temp in a tiny construction site office. This was a cover gig for the regular staff member who was off on training that day.
They instructed me to transfer a whole bunch of numbers from one software to the other. So, I simply highlighted the numbers, pressed ctrl c and then ctrl v. They all looked at me, amazed. Apparently, the woman I was replacing spent about 60% of her time hand-typing these numbers from one program to the other.
35. Machine Takeover
About a decade ago, I was working in the HSA claims department. One of our requirements was using an outdated terminal program that only allowed for four items per page. Nothing too challenging for regular claims; they usually fit on one or two pages. But then, there were the infamous 'shoebox' claims.
Some people had a tradition of collecting their receipts for the entire year and sending them in a metaphorical shoebox to retrieve the contents of their accounts all at once. For us in the claims department, these were an absolute headache.
Suddenly, claims with many small items adding up to a substantial dollar amount would crop up. Even if your HSA only contained $500, we would still have to go through all transactions if you sent in $4,000 worth of receipts. These claims not only drained time but also lowered my productivity scores, as my claims processed per hour were being closely monitored.
The major hiccup was ensuring that all the entries matched at the end of a claim. With our system of four items per page, it practically took forever to accumulate all totals. Then, I had a lightbulb moment. I built an Excel spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet was designed in an orderly manner so I could input every line item. I then programmed a macro that would compute the necessary totals and convert everything to a text file. The text file was formatted such that I could select four items concurrently and paste these directly into the terminal window, with all fields auto-filling from the standard cursor position.
After implementing this strategy, processing became a breeze: just copy, paste, repeat. This method not only quickened my efficiency but also significantly eased my workload. Plus, it was simpler to spot mistakes within a single streamlined sheet rather than skim through hundreds of terminal text pages.
However, when I tried to share this breakthrough with my team, my manager's reaction was disappointing. She was appalled by my approach, stating that no human was "double-checking as they went along".
Despite obvious improvement in my error rates on bigger claims after I adopted the system, she instructed me to stop using the spreadsheet and strictly disallowed any automation in her team’s working processes. Nonetheless, I kept using my system secretly for the subsequent two months I remained at the company.
Simultaneously, I was clocking in some of the best claims per hour numbers and maintained the least error rates on her team. However, after her ignorant response, I never endeavored to develop any more productivity tools for them. She simply wasn't worthy of them.
36. Microsoft Maverick
Before, I had to create double contracts per person for my traveling training team. I thought it was an unnecessary hassle, so I streamlined it into one. After consulting with the attorneys, they gave a thumbs up for it.
However, updating individual details in the contract like names, rates, and dating still took quite some time. So, I hopped onto an Excel forum and found an effective way to create a mail merging list, saving me hours and reducing the whole process into a quick 10-minute task. I kept this efficiency hack to myself and didn't rush with my workload.
I also had the task of providing floor layouts for various restaurants, which were all similar in design. Rather than creating new ones each time, I started to piece them together using Microsoft Paint. You could say I was quite the artist with this software.
Another responsibility involved using Excel to manage our training teams. I had a co-worker who was a fan of Smartsheet and enjoyed showing people how to use it. So, she gave me a quick tour of the software. The ease of publishing schedules without the risk of information mishaps was an absolute blessing.
A feature I loved was the forms that could auto-fill my Smartsheet with 30 different answers, saving me the trouble of manually asking these questions. I then shared the document with payroll, removing the need for them to contact me constantly.
In parallel, I had templates and numerous features on Outlook. I essentially started to automate my job, searching for simpler techniques. I turned to Reddit or search engines, spending a little time learning but ending up saving so much more time in the future.
My advice to everyone is simple. If you're stuck, just search for solutions online. People often hesitate as they don't know what to search for. My response? Type the issue exactly as you'd explain it to me. You'll be surprised to see how often your answer pops up when you search something like, "What Excel feature does this or that?"
37. Bathroom Breakdown
A couple of Christmases back, I remember we were visiting my grandparents for the holidays and we ran into a plumbing crisis. Their toilet was endlessly refilling and as a result, the bathroom was flooding. This was all because the float arm wasn't lifting adequately above the water level in the cistern to halt the water inflow.
My mom, who usually knows how to fix things, was really stressed as she'd been trying for hours to resolve this issue. Her worry was that we'd need to buy a new float arm, potentially even a new water level detector, or turning knob, and to do so, she'd have to completely dismantle and replace the entire cistern mechanism.
She was mapping out plans on a trip to the hardware store and estimating costs when I walked into the drama. The solution was incredibly straightforward. I inspected the situation and simply adjusted the metal arm connected to the float downwards, thereby giving the arm a mild upward curve.
The float continued to reach the same water level in the cistern, but because of the arm's curve, it was detected as being higher now by the water level sensor. Voila! We'd fixed the issue. The realisation hit mom like a train; she stared at me as if I'd grown an extra eye.
She remarked, "I've been wrestling with this darn thing for the past four hours and you come in and sort it out in less than five seconds". She was thrilled and relieved that I'd spared her the added hassle and expense. Now and then, she jokingly refers to me as her "little toilet mechanic".
It's a title I accept with a bit of amusement and annoyance as an Aircraft engineer.
38. Open Sesame
One of my husband's colleagues found himself in a bit of a pickle. After going out for a few drinks on a Friday night, he walked by their office on his way to catch a taxi and decided to make a pit stop at the office's restroom.
However, when he tried to leave, an unfortunate encounter with a stubborn magnetic lock on the door made his exit impossible. Having an office located on the second floor of a building where each floor was a separate entity made it more complicated.
His only other escape option was an emergency evacuation ladder that he could drop from one of the larger windows. But, thanks to a cocktail of drinks and a fear of heights, he chose the comfort of the break room rather than spiraling down the ladder.
Come Saturday morning, still unable to find a way out, he rang my husband, who lived nearby. My husband attempted to give him instructions on how to locate the keys controlled by the building's management and the contact numbers of the relevant security company, but to no avail.
Left with no other choices, my husband and I grabbed our toolkit and set off to help. Upon arriving, we found the trapped colleague communicating through the letterbox. Mind you, these two are quite intelligent men; the coworker in particular is a senior software developer.
My first question was, "Since we're dealing with a magnet lock, couldn't you have simply cut the power from the breakers?" They stood there speechless as they took in the simplicity of the solution. The breaker was right next to the door; he could have easily turned off the power at any point during the night.
The coworker quickly enacted my suggestion. We heard a click, presumably from the breaker flipping off, before the door swung open. As we made fun of the whole ordeal, he confessed he had spent the entire night inside the office.
Given their expertise in software, they had initially assumed it to be a software glitch. My logic was simpler—a malfunctioning door lock, a magnet requiring power, simply cut the power. As it turns out, this was not my first rescue mission. In fact, this was my second time coming to that office to free someone who was trapped inside.
39. Serious About Scholarships
My girlfriend wasn't aware that numerous scholarships often don't receive applications, leaving them to be awarded by default to anyone who does apply. With her assistance, I penned four diverse essays, each slightly modified to fit the specific requirements of each scholarship application.
As a professional writer, it fell on me to do the writing. Once she moved to her new college, she was afforded the luxury of an extra $1,500 every month. This financial ease empowered her to concentrate solely on her academic pursuits, rather than struggling to juggle employment responsibilities alongside her studies.
40. Suddenly Irish
When it came time for me to apply to college, I decided to shoot my shot and submit an application for an Irish American scholarship. As it turned out, they didn't have many applicants that year, so I ended up getting $40k towards my tuition. Here's my little secret: I don't actually have an ounce of Irish in me.
41. Never Hurts To Ask
I found myself attending an intimate concert with around 50 attendees for a band that previously had the ability to pack out stadiums. My friend, a huge fan, was too bashful to approach the band. So, I took the initiative and led him to the front edge of the stage after the performance was over, revealing his situation to the head musician.
The lead singer, in response, hauled my friend onto the stage for a memorable photo with the entire band. My friend had an absolute blast. Sometimes, things really can be that simple.
42. Right Place, Right Time
One evening, I headed to the bar with a couple of pals and bumped into a girl who had worked under my supervision a few years back. I greeted her and we exchanged a few words. Out of the blue, she enquires about my girlfriend, to which I respond by telling her we'd parted ways a few months back.
To my surprise, she responds, "Cool, I'm here with my buddies, and I'm going to mingle with them now. But if you're up for it, we can hang out once the bar winds down, I've always found you interesting". I was so taken aback I must've blinked continuously for a bit before managing to say, "That sounds fantastic".
In the end, we had an amazing time.
43. This One Weight-Loss Trick Doctors Hate
I managed to drop 25 pounds...by simply refraining from late-night snacking.
44. Seriously, Did You Try Turning It On?
Someone gifted me a TV which had faulty audio. There was a "sound on/off" button located on the back of it.
45. Did Somebody Say Free Electronics?
When I was younger, I regularly went searching in dumpsters for discarded electronics. Most of the time, people tend to throw away electronics just because a small component is not working. In a lot of cases, it's something as simple as a fuse that's broken.
46. From Home Cook To Chef
It turns out, learning to cook with fresh ingredients is actually quite straightforward. As long as you know what flavors you enjoy, all you've got to do is combine ingredients that complement each other nicely, and you're golden.
47. All It Takes Is A Personal Touch
I was on the hunt for a new apartment just recently. The rental rates in my city are extremely high currently, just like in many other cities. To my surprise, after a search of only three days, I stumbled upon a 2-bedroom apartment, listed at a price that usually won't get you more than a run-down one-bedroom apartment or a studio in an unfavourable area.
However, these apartments seemed rather decent and were situated in a nice neighborhood. All online reviews sing praises about them. It left me wondering, what's the catch? That's when I noticed an unfortunate detail—a year-long waiting list for these apartments. Considering this, I decided the best course of action was a direct visit to the apartment complex's leasing office.
Upon having a discussion with the property manager, I surprisingly found myself bumped up to the top of the list for an apartment unit that's going to be available the next month. I'm constantly on edge, waiting for something to go wrong.
Most folks in my city usually spend months hunting for apartments and even then, they end up paying a third more compared to what I am about to pay for a similar property. I carried out a 3-day search and found this place—I reckon I just hit the jackpot, and it really was that simple.
48. Did You Try Turning It On?
As a newbie on the job, I found myself working on a near five-million-dollar lighting rig for a concert. After everything was wired up and set, disaster struck—the whole system wouldn't power up. Chaos ensued as everyone tried to pin down the problem.
Despite having over 150 years of combined experience within the team, no one thought to verify if the generators were working. I thought to myself, "Surely, it can't be as simple as that, but I should check the generators just in case". I flicked a few switches, and lo and behold.
49. One Man’s Junk, Another Man’s Treasure
When I was a youngster in the 80s, my family was barely making it. We were about two paychecks away from calling our car home. In fact, we did have to live in our car for a few months until my mom secured a job.
Picture this, if you will—a single mom of three, juggling three jobs just to ensure ends meet. Meanwhile, I was an 8th grader passing my time in the backyard of our house. That's when I discovered some unusual treasure in the dumpster. I dragged it out and brought it home.
The treasure, you ask? A computer, complete with a monitor, keyboard, and CPU tower—in those days, the monitor used to sit atop the CPU box. They were bulky and cost a fortune. Hurdling the initial puzzlement, I managed to set it up—it was already loading Windows.
You should have seen my mom when she got home. She was deeply upset, thinking I had swiped it from someone else. Our budget was nowhere near affording such a lavish item. But then she noticed the grass stains on its side and understood its origin.
I must say, that computer was a blessing. We had it for four glorious years. It affected my life in unimaginable ways. Thanks to that computer, my fondness for electronics grew, and my curiosity expanded. I may not be a computer technician today, but I'm the go-to tech whiz within my family.
I earn my bread and butter online now and owe a big chunk of my knowledge to what's available on Google.
50. Arcade Awakening
During Memorial Day weekend last summer, I found myself at Carolina Beach. In the afternoon, we happened upon the boardwalk which had an arcade.
In this arcade, I came across a game of skill. The game involved a button that moves a contraption equipped with a razor. The moment you let go of the button, the gadget halts and the razor swiftly slices through the center. Positioned near the glass is a delicate string.
If you manage to time it just right, the razor severs the string, a grand door swings open, and you are awarded all the prizes in the machine. Eager to try, I swiped my card, pressed and held the button, and then let go. To my utter surprise, the string snaps, the doors swing open and out tumble the winnings. My son was completely ecstatic.
Meanwhile, I was inwardly groaning at the thought of having to trek around the boardwalk for the next two hours, lugging a humongous stuffed bear and a box of sand castle toys. I've yet to figure out if I'm a natural talent at this game, or if it's just ridiculously easy.