It's a fact of life for a professional footballer. When you make a career-defining decision not knowing that it will define your career.
Seán Maguire had one of those sliding-doors moments in December 2015, slide being the operative word as that's what he was on at the time.
He'd been released by West Ham in the summer of 2015 and a half-season with Dundalk had not gone at all to plan, summed up by his inability to even make the bench for the 2015 FAI Cup final.
He even considered a move which would have technically made him an amateur. His former coach, Shane Keegan, asked Maguire to join newly-promoted Wexford Youths, and as the phone was not exactly red-hot with offers (Cork City the only other option), the striker almost went there.
"I don't think I have said this before but I was in the car on my way to sign for Wexford Youths and my dad stopped me," Maguire says.
"He said, 'I know you want to be happy, you could stay at home, play with Wexford Youths part time, play for nothing, get a job. But give Cork a go'. So I went to Cork and the rest is history.
"But, yeah, I was half an hour away from signing for Wexford Youths.
"Who knows what could have happened, but I don’t think I’d be in the position I am now if I’d done that."
Maguire has made another decision lately, one he hopes will lead to improving his mood, his career, his life, even. He deleted Twitter from his phone, the social media outlet that can be a magnet for malice.
The spotlight on Maguire at club level right now is pretty intense, an unwanted focus. He hasn't scored a goal in 15 games for Preston, has managed just one goal in the last 28.
It's an understatement to say that many Preston fans are unimpressed.
Maguire is aware of that record and is not proud of it, but it's when he is reminded of it by others that he feels the pain.
"I know my own stats and they bother me, that keeps playing over and over in my head," he says in a quiet corner of a café in Preston's city centre, Maguire left alone by passing customers who give him a nod of recognition but, thankfully, no admonishment.
"I have 18 league goals in 75 games for Preston, and that’s not a stat I am proud of.
"The first two years at Preston I was the main guy but fans have been frustrated me with me not scoring goals and I have been frustrated with myself. I was beating myself up.
"With social media, I got myself off Twitter. I was on it around Christmas time and it’s hard when you see yourself there, getting slagged off for not scoring.
"I can be my own worst critic and I didn't want to read it online any more so I went off it, I was seeing it in my mentions and that's hard to shy away from. So I am off Twitter, it wasn’t doing anything for me, I just didn’t want to do it any more."
Maguire says he could just about take the online anger but when it ended up being directed at his partner, he had to act.
"My missus was getting it, messages to her online about me not scoring goals, that's not on," he sighs.
"I am awful for over-thinking, you get 29 messages that are positive and one that's negative and the one negative one bothers you."
It's a change of mood from the early part of the campaign.
"I started the season great, three goals in five games and now I have one in 28 games, it's a lot to do with frustration, losing confidence," he says.
"The team are doing ok, sixth in the Championship which is one of the hardest leagues in Europe.
"I find myself doing ok in games and not scoring but I am a goalscorer at the end of the day; when you are not scoring it's hard."
Maguire looks to compatriot Shane Long for an example of a player who gets criticised for his goals record but whose work-rate is ignored.
"Longy is about a lot more than the goals he scores," Maguire says of the Southampton man, due to end his 18-month exile from the Ireland squad soon.
"He chips in with his fair share of goals but it’s the work he does, his enthusiasm, he never gives a centre-half a rest. He goes through spells of not scoring, we all do. Being a striker is like a roller-coaster."
Maguire is soft-spoken but has been steeled by the challenges in his career, such as rejection by West Ham, where he got as far as the bench for an FA Cup tie (2014) but no further.
"I thought maybe I'd get another deal there as I hadn't been told I was gone. And then the last week of the season they told me I was being let go, I was heartbroken, I felt like a failure," he says.
He went backwards again at his next stop, Dundalk, unable to convince Stephen Kenny. "I can't explain why Dundalk didn't work for me, I had only one start in the league and didn't do great," he says.
"It didn't go the best for me at Dundalk but I still thought, 'This fella (Kenny) is a really good manager'. Maybe Stephen will see me as 'the one that got away' because so many players have really progressed under him."
Maguire admits to immense relief at scoring his first international goal last year, in the win over New Zealand.
"The longer it went on without me scoring, the more caps I got with no goals, it got worse," he says. "I know Mick [McCarthy] was happy for me to score."
Maguire feels he has McCarthy's support, as well as the backing of his club boss Alex Neil.
"I have constant conversations with the gaffer at Preston. When things are not going well he says to look back to that time when it was going really bad for me, to look at the 21-year-old I was then and what I am now and to find that resilience.
"He says I have worked hard to get where I am and I can't throw that away. And I won't."