Based on the movie of the same name, Sliding Doors is a game I like to play with myself every now and then. I invite you to give it a go yourself. You see, I noticed that there are some big parts of my life that are only present because of a seemingly unrelated chain of events and decisions that ended up falling the right way. If even the smallest detail had been different or if I hadn't taken an opportunity or made a decision, I might never have arrived here. Allow me to demonstrate.
I've made much about my association and close friendship with my inner circle of friends, The Buttercup Gang. But I probably wouldn't have met them - and they certainly wouldn't have become my best friends - if the KFC store in Marden hadn't closed for renovations.
- I was working at the KFC Marden at the time - maybe 2011 - and they closed for ten weeks to perform a big upgrade. The staff were asked to nominate a different store to which to transfer over those those ten weeks.
- I picked the branch in Rundle Mall because it was easiest to reach by bus.
- The staff there really liked me and when the ten weeks were up, they asked me if I wanted to stay on with them. I liked them as well, but I liked the Marden store just as much. I offered to do half my shifts at Rundle and half my shifts at Marden and both stores agreed.
- The Rundle Mall branch eventually had to close down. The staff there were devastated, but the managers at head office offered to transfer them to another store in the area so that they weren't out of work. rather than just revert back to just working at Marden, I nominated to be transferred and keep splitting my shifts.
- On recommendation from the managers at Rundle Mall, a branch called Eastwood got in touch with me and offered me a position in management. It would require me to leave my position at Marden.
- I accepted the arrangement and transferred fully to Eastwood, where I met three people named Kelsey, Mitchell and Juan.
- I was never made a manager, but I did make the best friends I'll ever have. And I also don't have to be a manager at KFC.
Have you got the hang of it? Here's another...
My decision to stop drinking when I turned 18 (unrelated) may be the best decision I ever made, but it's also been one of the hardest. While I have far more money, fitness and in some cases, dignity than a lot of people my age, I also find it hampers my ability to connect with them. Anyway, I'm happy with my decision. But it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't read the book Yes Man in high school.
- Yes Man is a true story about a Brittish humorist who decided to say yes to any and all requests for the remainder of a year. I read it in high school and was inspired by the insane adventures on which he went.
- For a few weeks after, I found I was saying yes myself much, much more.
- One day while walking to work, I was stopped by two mormons on their bikes, who asked if I had a moment to spare. I said yes.
- They gave me their spiel about how they'd found God through the Church of Latter Day Saints and I listened with genuine interest. Then they asked if there was a time that we could meet to talk about it further. I of course, said yes.
- I've always believed in a God in some form or another, so everything they had to say fascinated me. They asked for a second meeting, then a third, and then it became an unspoken weekly arrangement.
- At one such meeting, they brought up the topic of alcohol and why I should give it up. My attitude of "yes" faltered at this point. Like many of my peers, I found it to be quite a helpful social crutch. I initially refused.
- Fast forward to March the next year, and AC/DC came to Adelaide for their Black Ice tour. I had just waited for 20 minutes in line to pay $6 for a plastic cup of warm beer. At that stage, $6 was like a third of my hourly rate. I thought about the money I'd blown on booze up until this point. I realised that I'd never actually enjoyed the feeling of being drunk and that I'd always hated the taste of spirits. And most importantly, I remembered what the mormons had said about drinking being a sin. I decided right then to finish my beer and never drink again. It was amazingly easy to follow through with it.
- Although I still firmly believe in God, I don't subscribe to one particular ideology. As such, the religious reasons for my decision have taken a back seat to all the other reasons. When anyone asks me why I don't drink, I'll tell them about the money, my health, my fitness and my social beliefs. But the initial catalyst was my meeting with the Mormons, which came about with the help of that book.
And just for fun, let's do one with a little fork in the road ;)
In 2011, I started performing stand-up comedy. That led to both my work at Fresh 92.7 and my trip to Canberra in July to study and perform improv theater.
- I started doing stand-up in 2011.
- In mid-2012, I was out the front of a comedy club chatting to some other comedians and one of them told us about the course he was doing at the Australian Radio School. I decided to check it out myself.
- I joined their introductory course in September.
- I finished that course with an award for excellence and decided to stay on for the master class in December.
- One of the students in the master class mentioned Fresh and the induction night that they were holding to get new members. It seemed like an obvious choice.
- A while later, I was back at that same comedy club when I made a new friend named Alicia (read her fantastic blog). Alicia told me she does improv and invited me join a series of workshops she was attending.
- I went.
- That workshop finished and I inquired about the next one.
- From there, I was in with both feet and would attend rehearsals two times per week. It led to a lot of work during the 2015 Adelaide Fringe Festival.
- After the Fringe finished, a fellow improviser got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to go to Improvention - Australia's premier improv festival. After a lot of thought, I decided I did.
- It was a fantastic trip that provided a lot of great stories. But it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't started doing stand-up four years prior.
Try playing it yourself! I find it easiest to pick a part of your life (your job, your friends, your hobbies, your partner etc) and figure out the thing that directly led to it. Then figure out what led to that and work backwards as far as you like. If you have a blog, write a post about it. It'll make great content. Let me know if you do :)