A Wrong Turn……That Saved My Life

25 12 2011

Note: After a 10 week long hiatus, I’ve decided that I must revive my blog writing habits. So, as one of my New Year’s Resolutions (I don’t usually do them, but anyway), I shall endeavour to update my blog weekly, no matter how short the post. Let’s get started.

There are no wrong turns. (Photo from MBAdventure)

Seven years ago tomorrow, I made a wrong turn, and it saved my life.

My family and I together with family friends were on vacation in Thailand. I was heading back to the room along with two friends to fetch my beachwear. The route was straightforward: down the stairs, then a right turn to the seaside, where our room was. I had walked this route multiple times before and yet for reasons which I will never know, I subconsciously and unknowingly made a wrong turn. I turned left, away from our room, away from the sea. Away from fatal danger.

For it was only minutes later, while I wandered around hopelessly lost, that the devastating waves of a tsunami came crashing down on the resort – waves which would have engulfed me, knocked me out and killed me without mercy. Yet miraculously, the waves did not hit me. I was safe because I had turned left, away from the beach. Because I had made a wrong turn.

Back then, the gravity of it all eluded me. It seemed like dumb luck: I had had a 50-50 chance between life and death, and  my bad sense of direction had inadvertently nudged me towards the former.

Over the years though, the impact of this experience has slowly dawned on me. The point now wasn’t so much about why I had been lucky enough to make a wrong turn as much as what this simple lifesaving mistake could teach me about…well, life.

I began to realise that more often than not, failures are opportunities wrapped under a deceptive cloak of disguise. Too often we fail to take action for fear of failure. But how valid is this fear, really? All that’s stopping us is the fear of some hypothetical failure – mucking up, making mistakes, embarrassing yourself…but really, what’s the worst that could happen? Failure: opportunity in disguise.

This is the philosophy that guides me now. Of course, it’s our nature to fear failure. Whenever I catch myself doing so, though, I just have to remind myself of that lifesaving wrong turn seven years ago.

For me, there are no wrong turns. Only opportunities.

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5 responses

26 12 2011
gonemobile

It’s all in the mind. Really.

But great post. Looking forward to more 🙂

26 12 2011
marykmhui

Thanks @gonemobile. Indeed, much of it is in the mind…99% of it. There’s still 1% though – that’s in the action.

27 12 2011
gonemobile

I concur.

Funny how it takes a small percentage to make or break an opportunity. We must really devalue the potential of such a lonely number.

29 12 2011
Benson Chiu

Sure. 危機, 有危就有機.

14 04 2012
Graduation Dinner Speech 2012 « myMOVEMENTS

[…] Note: When I was asked over a month ago to make a speech at Graduation Dinner, I had no idea what to talk about. Was I supposed to try and reflect the sentiments of the whole year group? To recount all that we have done together in two years? In the end I decided to talk about one of the most important things I’ve learnt in my two wondrous years here at Li Po Chun United World College. (I’ve adapted this speech from an essay I’d written earlier: ‘A Wrong Turn… That Saved My Life“) […]

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