My Perfect Foil and Some Lessons She Taught Me

Note: The original draft of this post was first written in August 2010. This entry has been updated.

Enjoy life. It would be a waste not to take advantage of opportunities to learn, love, and grow. (Image source:

Enjoy life. It would be a waste not to take advantage of opportunities to learn, love, and grow. (Image source:

I’ve always been reserved, the kind of person who doesn’t display too much emotion or would do so only to a close set of friends. Whenever I meet someone or experience something new for the first time, my default approach is to be cautious, to look before I leap. Sometimes it works to my advantage. Other times it leads to missed opportunities.

Today, I met someone who I consider my perfect foil. This young woman – let’s call her “Alice” – brims with passion and enthusiasm. From her words to her actions, it’s easy to tell she embraces life and confidently goes after what she wants. Clearly, “Alice” believes being reserved or cautious won’t help her achieve her dreams.

There are lessons to be learned from our exchange:
Be pleasant. – “Alice” is in the beauty business, but her charming personality was not a put-on. She had every intent of making me buy something, I’m sure, but she started with a smile and small talk instead. She even shared some stories about herself and her family. The strategy worked; “Alice” managed to make me open up within 10 minutes of meeting her.

Be open to options. – They could yield more positive results than your original plan. “Alice” is a communication graduate and had set her sights on a career in the corporate world. But life intervened. Instead of looking at it as a setback, she decided she would rather help her mother by becoming the family breadwinner. She has been an entrepreneur since graduating from university.

Take risks. – “Alice” didn’t say it explicitly, but her actions suggest she’s willing to go the extra mile to achieve her goals. Her efforts are paying off because she’s now enjoying the fruits of her labor as an entrepreneur. If I remember correctly, did she say she just bought a car?

Enjoy life. – It has so much to offer! It would be a waste not to take advantage of opportunities to learn, love, and grow.

Have something to look forward to. – “Alice” had asked what I plan to do when I retire. To be honest, I do make plans and I save enough, but I don’t think that far. Life can be uncertain, so I’d rather surprise myself with what I’d like to do when it’s nearly time to cross the bridge. Asked the same question, “Alice” confidently said she wants to be either a singer or to travel around the world. As I was looking at her face, eyes shining and with a faraway expression, I had no doubts she’ll end up doing both.

When it was time for me to leave, “Alice” accompanied me as far as the office lifts even though I know she’s busy. It was tempting to think it was another hook to get me to buy something, but I let the thought slide. I think regardless of what company she represents or who she’ll be working for in the future, “Alice” will always enjoy a certain amount of success because she embraces life, swings with it, dips with it, and relishes every single moment of it!


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