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10 personal stories of seemingly small decisions that lead to significant life changes for people

These individuals recount how seemingly minor choices sparked significant life changes, revealing the hidden power of everyday decisions.

10 personal stories of seemingly small decisions that lead to significant life changes for people
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Hassan OUAJBIR

It's the little things that matter

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jill Wellington
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jill Wellington

As we go through the many stages of life, we often try to look at decisions from a long-term perspective. While we have heard that the little decisions we make may have big effects, it's difficult to be aware of it all the time. So, most of us end up living our lives, not really knowing what decisions, big or small, could change our life. Reddit user, u/This_Check_4267 seemed to be curious about knowing just how much supposedly insignificant choices impact us and posed the question to the Reddit community. Here are 10 of the best answers that individuals shared: 

1. Taking the wrong train 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Filipe de Azevedo
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Filipe de Azevedo

Took the wrong train in a new city to do a minimum wage job that I didn't want but needed at the time. Asked a random guy for directions when mobile GPS still kind of sucked. He happened to be going in the same general direction. We rode a train together and nerded out on films we were into. He was an aspiring filmmaker (very beginnings of aspirations), and I was just a film nerd without any post-high school education or thought of "breaking into the industry." We ended up becoming roommates and collaborators eventually. Sold our first film to IFC like 2 years ago. u/SrgtSquarePants

2. Working in a kindergarten school 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Naomi Shi
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Naomi Shi

Worked in a kindergarten during my gap years between high school and university (I didn't even plan to go at the time). A kid with speech and social issues happened to take a special liking to me, resulting in me agreeing to work closely with his speech therapist, despite only being the teacher's assistant. This reignited my interest in language and made me apply to be a linguistics major. My high school grades made it a long shot, but it turns out that very year they tested out a new system of accepting 50% of students based on motivational essays, to try to combat a high dropout rate in linguistics. I made it in on that, they ditched it the next year cause it didn't work. I now have a masters in Language Psychology and started teaching at the same university this semester. If I had applied literally any other year, my chances would have been like lottery odds. u/MonsieurRud

3. Not canceling dinner plans

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jep Gambardella
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jep Gambardella

I and 2 other coworkers decided to grab some dinner after our shift. One ended up canceling, so I thought my other coworker would cancel too. We were both hungry, so we decided to still grab dinner together. We'd been coworkers for over a year and have always gotten along, but this dinner truly felt like a first date. It was so enjoyable and we talked so much that we didn't realize the restaurant had been closed and that the workers had been cleaning up around us (servers were too nice to interrupt our conversation). He and I ended up falling in love soon after that. Been together for over 6 happy years and wouldn't change a thing. u/stereotypedhonesty

4. Going to prison for robbery 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Donald Tong
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Donald Tong

I went to prison for a robbery. I did it. I was a heroin addict. After almost 5 years in, at a work center, I got a write-up that would make me stay in for a few months longer. The warden offered a deal if I would paint a mural at a local high school of their mascot, they'd forgive the writeup. I had always been good at drawing (they knew that which is why they asked) but had never done a mural. I figured out how to scale it up in my head and did it. I got out about 6 months later and made it my career. I'm now married, happy, and fully booked until the summer of next year for work and owning my own business. In September, I will have been out for 10 years. I also hid my initials in the high school mascot mural. u/therealbiggravy

5. Trying out the green card lottery 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Ivan Samkov
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Ivan Samkov

Entered the green card lottery. My friend was trying to figure out how to do it, so I downloaded the instructions and completed an application to show them how. Since it was easier than asking them for all their info, I made a dummy application using my own info. When I was done I thought “Meh, might as well” and dropped my application into the outgoing mail. Then forgot all about it. I was highly confused when, nearly a year later, I got a letter from the state dept. I’ve been in the US for 20 years now, married, kids, the whole thing. The biggest change I ever made, and it was just a random 15-minute thing I did to help a buddy. u/dbpnz

6. Bypassing the internet filter at work 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | M & W Studios
Representative Image Source: Pexels | M & W Studios

My new desk job’s internet filter stopped me from going to my favorite websites. It didn’t block Boardgamegeek.com, however, so I ended up spending my downtime at work researching board games, game designers, and publishers. I read about a game I couldn’t find a copy of and put together a version of how I thought it might play. Later I found out I was totally wrong about how that game worked, but I preferred my version of the game. Yada yada yada, I’m an award-winning board game designer now. u/DrFridayTK

7. Getting injured 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project

Scratched myself up in the field in ROTC training due to my own stupidity. Debated whether to go to the medical tent, since it was super minor. I ultimately did, and the cot next to me was a cadet from another school that was in a unit more in line with my career goals. The cadet got me an interview with the commander, and when I graduated and was commissioned, I was assigned there. In the first few months, I met my now-wife, who was also new to the unit. Nearly two decades of marriage later, we’re both retiring and traveling the world together. u/TopSecretSpy

8. Going out with friends

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Cottonbro studio
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Cottonbro studio

Broke up with my high school sweetheart before college because I didn't want a long-distance relationship. I would come to regret it and miss her miserably over the next five years, even while dating other people. I would stalk her myspace pics (yes I'm that old) and she just got more and more beautiful every day. One day, my friends were grabbing a bite to eat and then heading to the local mall. They invited me but I wasn't feeling it and absolutely refused to go. They managed to talk me into it. Long story short, I bumped into that old flame at the sunglass hut and the rest is history. Happily married for 12 years with a great life and two amazing kids. I always think about what would have happened (or not happened) if I had the will to say no to my friends just one more time. It just seems so improbable to me how my life turned on that one decision. u/heartEffincereal

9. Knocking at an old friend's door

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz

About 22 years ago I was fresh outta high school and had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I went out rollerblading one evening and I decided to go down this road that looked familiar. I noticed a house and thought "Hey, that kinda looks like my buddy from high school's house," so I decided to knock. Sure enough, it was his house. He was having a LAN party that weekend and invited me to come over, so I did. Ended up meeting this obnoxious kid who wouldn't leave me alone. The kid ended up becoming my best friend and shaping the direction of my life. He eventually convinced me to play World of WarCraft when it came out. Roughly 3 years later I met my now wife in WoW. All because I decided to go up and knock on a door. u/Not_The_Real_Odin

10. Deciding to work 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Fauxels
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Fauxels

I had no direction in college, so after year 3 I decided to take a break and just work. I already had a part-time job on the books and a friend encouraged me to look into a position he knew about in pharmacy. It was off the books, I had free time, so I decided to give it a shot. My boss taught me everything and had patience with me. I took to it like a fish in water and worked 2 part-time jobs while I decided what to do about college. 30 something years later, I'm licensed and proud to say I've learned A LOT. That part-time, off-the-books gig, developed into a recession-proof job in healthcare that made it possible to provide for myself and my family. Never thought I'd be in healthcare, and steadily climbed that occupational ladder. Don't be afraid to jump into new areas, ESPECIALLY if the support/training is there. u/Piotr-Rasputin

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