You can’t imagine what you’re missing out on.

I had a bit of a strange day a few weeks ago.

It started when I decided to attend two different events in two different cities on the same day, and I didn’t have a ticket to either one.

Event A I only found out about late the day before from someone at yet another event. When I got home, I headed online to buy a ticket but the official website said that the event was full and that all the tickets were sold out.

Event B I heard about earlier, at least a few days prior, but I took my time before deciding to attend. By the time I had all my questions answered and realized that I really should go, I – again – headed online to reserve a place.

This time though, I wasn’t rejected immediately.

It was only the next day while I was at Event A, that an email reply told me there was no more room at Event B either. Unfortunately for me, I only saw that email reply after I was already traveling to Event B.

Confused yet?

I obviously managed to get in to Event A.

I also got in to Event B as hoped.

In both cases, I took the chance of going to an event with the knowledge that I wasn’t supposed to get in.

So why did I still go?

Events always have no-shows

Things come up at the last minute, people get sick, emergencies need to be handled. Their need to be elsewhere literally opens the door for you.

Low opportunity cost

Event A wasn’t far my office so if I had been shut out, the lost time would have been minor. Event B required travel, but since I was already on the way when I found out that I wasn’t supposed to get in, the opportunity cost was already paid so I didn’t have much left to lose.

Deductive thinking

Registrants to Event A were required to choose a seat from a seating plan of the venue’s main auditorium. Once all the seats were paid for, the event website would no longer let you buy a ticket. But the event agenda mentioned a second hall and networking areas, so there was clearly room for more people than those seated in the main auditorium.

What I represented for the event

Event B was a speed networking event between entrepreneurs and job seekers. I was coming as the former and these events typically have more of the latter, so my presence would help create a better balance. On top of that, my being there would only add another 2 minutes to the presentations, so they would almost surely be able to fit me in.

No one else would dare

The fact that so few people will dare to get in meant that I was likely the only one, which gave me the best chances of success.

And I’m not just saying that. At a later event, I met 2 people who had received the same rejection email as I did for Event B and gave up on going as you’d expect.

This isn’t only about going to events.

When someone shows you a wall, look for ways around it. Only then can you see if it’s brick or paper.

And sometimes, that wall only appears in your mind, even for small things.

Case in point leaving yet another event last night. Only a few seconds on the street after the event, a bus passed me at high speed moving downhill towards its next stop.

Then I noticed that it was the bus I needed and I didn’t know where the stop was. However, I did know that if I missed that bus, I couldn’t wait for the next one and I’d probably have to take an expensive taxi instead.

Should I run for it?

It was late and I was tired, and I didn’t feel like running. The next stop could be far away and I might end up running for nothing. I wasn’t really dressed for it and was carrying a bag (see how I built the wall in my head?) So I hesitated.

But then I ran.

It turns out that the stop wasn’t too far and a good dozen people were waiting there, which stalled the bus long enough for me to make it.

Don’t take no for an answer.

Don’t tell yourself no for an answer either.

I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.

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--Jacob Share