How many people do you know who talk incessantly about getting their big break, and how different life will be once they get it? Maybe you think the same thing. One day you’ll get that life changing bit of good fortune.
But what if you’ve already had it and didn’t realize it? What if you have already come to a crossroads and gone the wrong way? This is probably more common than we realize, and sometimes, a split second decision can determine our path for the rest of our lives.
Here’s a case in point: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis became friends in the 1940s when they were both struggling entertainers; Martin as a crooner and Lewis as a slapstick comedian. They played clubs here and there, but neither was really going anywhere. One night, at a late and sparsely attended show, Lewis decided to play a trick on Martin. Martin was doing his usual singing act to an indifferent crowd when Lewis, in a borrowed waiter’s uniform appeared with a huge slab of meat on a skewer yelling “Hey; who ordered the steak?”
Martin knew nothing about this and was startled. He turned and saw Lewis.
That’s where the turning point occurred. Most people would have snarled at Lewis to get off the stage or tried to freeze him with a dirty look. If Martin had done that, the rest of both of their careers probably would have languished.
But he didn’t. Martin recovered instantly and began exchanging wise cracks and the audience loved it. Over time, they began appearing together, honing their act into a two partner pandemonium. Martin was a gifted comedian and great adlibber himself and the combination clicked to become the biggest act in America. Soon Martin and Lewis were in the movies and a TV series. They had a falling out in later years, and the act broke up, but each became wealthy and famous.
And it all hinged on a single moment.