Making something out of nothing

A few days ago, I wrote about seizing opportunities and accepting invitations because you never know where they may lead.

To illustrate this point to my daughter, I told her the story about how I ended up in Europe.

I was standing in the commons area of my dorm in college when my friend Steve walked by. He said he was on his way to a meeting about spending his junior year abroad and asked if I wanted to walk with him.

Always one to accept an invitation, I decided to tag along.

As they were going over the program, I was half listening and half thinking about how much great music came from England and Europe. My mind started wandering about how many great concerts I could attend and all the import singles and bootlegs I could find there.

On my way out, I grabbed all of the forms and took them home with me. The next time I spoke with my parents, I mentioned the meeting and asked them what they thought of the whole thing.

To my surprise, they were very encouraging and helped me work out a plan to make enough money that I could go.

Fast forward six months, and there I was, studying at Warwick University in Coventry, England, while the guy who asked if I wanted to go to the organizational meeting I otherwise would not have attended was still in Madison. He lost interested and never pursued it.

I shared this story with my daughter because it’s a great illustration of how you never know where you’re going to end up unless you always stay home. By deciding to join my friend for a meeting I didn’t know existed and that I didn’t have much interest in, I fell into one of the greatest life-changing opportunities of my life.

When life hands you an invitation, I think you should always take it when you can because you never know where it might lead. Often it’s a dead end. But sometimes, it might just be one of the greatest experiences you ever have.


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