In life, uncertainties abound, and opportunities often hide behind the unknown. Recently, I shared with my son: “You may not know what is going to happen when you try, but if you do not try, nothing will happen.” 

Many wonder why luck and opportunities always seem to belong to others, but I believe it’s not life that determines our fate; it’s our willingness to try, and every try has unveiled opportunities under the surface. 

Two mottos have guided my life journey, and one of them is: “Characteristics determine destiny.” One lesson I learned from that motto was if we are truly persistent, we would like to try no matter what.

John’s Accident

Recently, my son, John, faced a challenging situation after a fall from an e-scooter. He fell heavily on the concrete after school. He hurt 3 of his teeth in the accident. He was sent to an emergency room in the nearby hospital. My poor boy had his wound cleaned there and also had 3 stitches under his jaw.

After this emergency, he needed urgent dental treatment, and navigating the medical appointments became quite complicated. We went to 3 different doctors to find out which path we should go through, and finally, we chose the 3rd doctor, a microsurgical endodontist, the so-called Dr. T, to protect his real name here.

At Dr. T’s office, we understood that the doctor needed to clean John’s nerves in two different visits, according to John’s level of injury.

After the 2nd visit to Dr. T’s office, we were told that the 3rd visit to clean the remaining nerves and tissues would be the upcoming Sunday morning. 

However, that schedule clashed with my travel plans, as I leave on Saturday evening. 

“Sunday morning? I need to leave on Saturday evening. Could we have an earlier appointment?” I asked the front desk lady. 

“No, I am afraid not. That’s the earliest appointment I could make.” the front desk lady replied, and she showed there was no room for question.

We left the office, and I said to my son that I would try to call the office again the next day. I needed to be there with my son for the 3rd visit for sure. I did not want to leave him alone without my company.

John said, “There’s no need to try again. The office lady already said that’s the only spot on the doctor’s calendar.”

I told John that, no matter what, I would try again. If I didn’t try, there was no chance of having the appointment earlier. If I tried, there was at least a chance. 

The front desk lady did not see John on his first visit, when John had all the bruises, wounds on his face, and swollen lips, so she did not know how serious it was. I thought.

John did not think there was a chance as he felt the firmness from the front desk lady.

I smiled and said that I would try again. I reminded my boy that his esteemed Thomas Edison was credited with inventing the carbon telephone transmitter, light bulb, and phonograph. In fact, it took him 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before he created the first light bulb. If he had given up after the first attempt, there might have been no light bulb. 

Although comparing a try of calling the office is not comparable to Thomas Edison’s efforts for sure, that was what I meant to my boy.

The next morning, I dialed the doctor’s office again. I was lucky that the other front desk clerk, who met us on our first visit, Ms. S, picked up the phone. I told her that John’s current appointment was on Sunday morning, but I had to leave on Saturday evening. I asked her if there was a chance to have the appointment earlier as I wanted to be there with John. John was making faces and thought it was just a waste of time.

Ms. S said she understood and would see what she could do. Later in the afternoon, when John sat beside me studying while I was working, I received the phone from the doctor’s office. It was Ms. S. She said she tried and found a late spot on the doctor’s calendar on Friday evening. 

I was thrilled and thanked her for the accommodation. 

I turned to my boy and said: I hope you can witness me doing this by trying. Nothing will happen if you don’t try, but something may happen if you try. Or at least you have tried your best to find a solution.

The lesson here is simple: one extra attempt might seem insignificant, but it can make all the difference. I hope that John learned firsthand the power of persistence that goes beyond initial setbacks.

There are lots of chances in our lives where we have a second or third attempt, but we just ignore them, feel shy about them, or are just  lazy and find lots of excuses. Then we complain that we just lack luck in our lives compared with others. Some people have all the green lights in their lives, but some people have more obstacles. Is that really the case?

I had another experience I would like to share with my son and readers here.

MBA Mentorship Program:

Reflecting on my MBA days, another instance comes to mind. 

When I was in my MBA program, one email appeared in my inbox one night. That was an email that said that there were two spots for the MBA female students to become a mentee out of Canada’s Top 100 Female managers. 

Wow! To become a mentee from one of Canada’s top 100 female managers was such an exciting opportunity. I doubted myself for a bit. I was only in Canada for the second year; do I deserve this spot? Would the program filter my name out immediately as I didn‘t have any nice-looking career or academic profile here in another country? I was still hunting for a good job. And I graduated from a university in China that was unknown in Canada. Why would they consider me for such a scary spot?

However, I decided to give it a try versus spending the time evaluating the possibilities. Nothing would happen if I didn’t give it a try.

I filled out the questionnaire and submitted my application that night. I did not believe that something “lucky” would happen to me from that application. But I tried and submitted my application anyway.

After quite a few weeks, I had almost forgotten about the application as I did not think I would be that lucky to get that one spot out of two, I received an email from the graduate school with the subject, “Congratulations, you are enrolled in the Women’s Executive Program.” That was the program to match a mentor who would be from the Top 100 Canada’s female managers with a female MBA student.

The result was, I was mentored and received incredible advice and feedback from my mentor. Every one of my friends knows that I gained a lifelong mentor and friend from that program. They thought that I was too lucky!

One day, my female classmates asked me how I got that opportunity when they had not even noticed that email. I said I was lucky that I saw that email. I knew that every day we received lots of emails from the school from different teachers, assignment notifications, and project teams, and I read each email carefully. 

The lesson here is that opportunities often disguise themselves in uncertainty; trying is the only way to unveil them.

God’s Offering and the Moral:

There is an old story about a priest who ignored some opportunities; although there were a few of them that appeared in front of him.

In a village, after a heavy rain, the whole village was flooded. A priest was praying in the church, and the water rose to his knees. A rescuer came with a boat and said to the priest, “Father, come aboard quickly! Otherwise, you will drown in the flood!” The priest said, “No! I believe that God will come to save me. You go and save others first.”

Soon, the flood reached the priest’s chest; he could only stand on the service desk. At this moment, a police officer came in a speedboat and said to the priest, “Father, come up quickly, or you will really drown!” The priest said, “No, I must guard the church. God will surely come to save me. You go and save others first.”

After a while, the flood had submerged the entire church, and the priest had to cling tightly to the cross on the church roof. A helicopter flew over, and the pilot dropped a rope ladder, shouting, “Father, come up quickly! This is the last chance. We don’t want to see you drown!” The priest, still with unwavering determination, said, “No, God will come to save me. He is with me! You go and save others first!”

In the end, the flood surged, and the priest drowned. He came to heaven, asked God quite angrily, and questioned God, “Lord, I dedicated my whole life to sincerely serving you. Why didn’t you save me?” 

God answered: “I had saved you three times and dispatched the lifeguard, a speedboat, and a helicopter. You accepted none of the opportunities.I thought you were eager to return to me.”

There are actually lots of angels around us sent by God, but did we notice them, or did we just complain about life and complain to our God that he has done nothing to our lives no matter how much we had prayed?

The moral of the story: Sometimes, obstacles in life result from excessive stubbornness and ignorance of our characteristics. When there are opportunities that swing by, don’t forget that only when you’re willing to reach out yourself can others assist you!


Life is a series of opportunities, and trying is the key that unlocks them. Each attempt, each try, adds to the mosaic of our experiences. As you read this, consider the opportunities that might knock on your door. Will you open it, or will you let them pass? Remember, others can assist you only when you’re willing to reach out to yourself. So, try. Try again. And don’t be surprised if something amazing happens.