5 Nuggets of Wisdom from this Short Story on Opportunity

Last Updated on October 31, 2022

You’ve probably heard of this inspiring short story on opportunity, but it’s worth retelling to those who always let a defining moment slip through their fingers.

Opportunities seldom come knocking twice. Once that defining moment comes, you have to seize it and never let it go! Lost opportunities are only a gateway to regret! Don’t be like this guy who let a good opportunity come to pass:

story of a young man who wished to marry the farmer's beautiful daughter - short story on opportunityPin

This is a story of a young man who wished to marry the farmer’s beautiful daughter. He went to the farmer to ask his permission. The farmer looked him over and responded, “Son, go stand out in that field and I’m going to release three bulls, one at a time. If you can catch the tail of any one of the three bulls, you can marry my daughter.”

The young man stood in the pasture awaiting the first bull. The barn door opened and outran the biggest, meanest-looking bull he had ever seen. He decided that one of the next bulls had to be a better choice than this one, so he ran over to the side and let the bull pass through the pasture out the back gate.

The barn door opened again. Unbelievable. He had never seen anything so big and fierce in his life. It stood – pawing the ground, grunting, slinging slobber – as it eyed him. Whatever the next bull was like, it had to be a better choice than this one. He ran to the fence and let the bull pass through the pasture, out the back gate.

The door opened a third time. A smile came across his face. This was the weakest, scrawniest little bull he had ever seen. This one was his bull. As the bull came running by, he positioned himself just right and jumped at just the exact moment. He grabbed… but the bull had NO tail!

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Table of Contents

Lesson 1: Life is Full of Surprises


Sometimes life throws you a curveball at the most inopportune moment. But no matter how hard things get, do not give up, keep going! Let’s face it; life is full of surprises. And these surprises aren’t always good so be prepared.

An unyielding person could easily break down whenever things don’t go his way. Missed opportunities are just one of the few of life’s cruel jokes.

But the beauty of living is the lessons we learn from every mistake. Don’t let a single misstep define who you are. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward. Wherever life leads you, always keep an eye out for little opportunities, and challenges that will help you achieve your goals.

Lesson 2: Nothing in Life is Ever Easy, and That’s Okay

In the short story on opportunity, the young man expected things to be easy. He was not mentally prepared to take on a difficult challenge. And the father knew it. We are, after all, talking about marrying off a beloved daughter here, of course, things won’t be easy. The story rings true in real life, nothing in life ever comes easy, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.

The story isn’t just about missing an opportunity; it’s about misjudging a situation with zero game plan. Things do not always go the way we want it, and that’s okay. Whenever faced with a challenge, always have a backup plan.  This way, you can make the most out of any situation, and you’ll always come on top.

Lesson 3: Appearances are often Misleading

In the short story on opportunity above, trouble starts when the young man kept judging every bull at a glance. He avoided the first two bulls because they looked scary, and intimidating. He never bothered to look deeper, checking every bull carefully before moving to the next. He zeroed in on the weakest-looking bull in the bunch, thinking he’ll come out of the challenge a winner. And he ended up being the most surprised when the third bull had no tail! Who knew?

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Sometimes in life, we let our preconceived notions get the best of us. Instead of assessing the situation carefully, we let our assumptions get in the way of making a sound judgment. And this may lead to lost opportunities.

Being scared, unsure, or intimidated shouldn’t keep you from making a fair judgment. There are always ways to resolve any problem – including intimidating challenges – as long as you take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. It’s just a matter of dealing with every problem with a clear head.

Lesson 4: Fight to Win

Lesson 4: Fight to Win - short story on opportunityPin

In the story, the young man lets every good opportunity pass through his fingers, thinking there’s always another one coming. He saw the most beautiful woman he ever laid eyes on and thought he could just waltz through life in a snap. He wasn’t up for a real challenge; he settled for a simple one thinking this opportunity is better than the others. And it’s not; no one could’ve predicted that.

In life, we let a good opportunity pass because it presents all sorts of problems we’d rather not deal with. But resolving these problems is a part of it. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You must learn to fight for what you want instead of wasting every opportunity waiting for the universe to do you a favor.

Lessons 5: Seize the Moment


The story would’ve been much shorter had the young man taking on the first bull. He let his fears and reservations get in the way of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He could’ve married the girl of his dreams had he learned to set aside his fears. It takes courage and conviction to hurdle challenges. We cannot expect to win in life without working hard for what we want. Learn to seize the moment, focus on the challenge, and learn along the way.

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BONUS: Resources About Seizing Opportunities

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