Thinking of “No” as “Next Opportunity”

The past two weeks, I have been lucky enough to travel through Vietnam and Cambodia.

One of my favorite things has been meeting brilliant, kind, and funny people—among them a tour guide named Chantha who asked me,

“What does no mean to you?”

To which I replied, “That I can’t do something.”

“For me,” he said, “no means next opportunity.”

Now this positive mindset would stand out in anyone, but it struck me as particularly optimistic coming from someone who had learned English during his 13 years in a refugee camp.

Further investigation revealed time spent in the military, running a hotel, becoming a tour guide in 1993 and—when faced with the pandemic—learning to raise animals and vegetables to sell in the local market.

Next opportunity, indeed.

So the next time “No” comes my way—rather than moping or groaning – my goal is to embody Chantha’s resilience and use it as fuel to move forward to my next opportunity.

I hope you will, too.


For more on making the most of opportunities, take a look at, “When Opportunity Comes Knocking Don’t Be Occupied”