“Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
It’s often said that opportunity knocks only once. If this really is the case, then you’d better be ready to answer the door when it does, right? But, what if you’re not ready; what if you choose to hide behind the curtain and pretend you’re not in rather than answer the door, or what if you just can’t be bothered to answer the door because you’re not expecting anyone or anything… or what if you’re in the shower? You see, having opportunity knock at your door doesn’t guarantee that you’ll grab it.
As US army general Douglas MacArthur once said, “Even when opportunity knocks, a man still has to get up off his seat and open the door.”
Are You Ready?
So, why wouldn’t you grab it? Well, the reasons generally boil down to fear or doubt:
- Hiding behind the curtain? You’ve been waiting for that opportunity to come along, thinking you’re all set to grab it when it does, but then the moment comes, and you find yourself suddenly filled with doubt… “What if I’m not ready; what if I can’t do it; what if I fail?”
- Not expecting anything? You’re stuck in a “nothing good ever happens to me” mindset, and your low expectation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- In the shower? Okay, that’s just unfortunate timing, but it’s fair to say that many an opportunity has been lost to thoughts of, “It’s just not the right time.”
Fear holds you back, but if opportunity is knocking at your door, what is it that you fear – exactly? Finding the answer to this question will also help you to find a way through the fear that’s preventing you from answering the door. All three scenarios above demonstrate that negative thinking can and will hold you back in life, not only preventing you from grabbing an opportunity that has presented itself to you, but also preventing you from seeing that opportunity (and many others) in the first place.
Richard Branson once said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” Of course, if you’re stuck in a negative mindset, you’re going to struggle to take action on this piece of advice, right? If you don’t believe you can do it, you’re not going to be able to do it. By the same token, if you don’t believe an amazing opportunity could ever come your way, you’re not going to see it even if it lands in your lap!
When you learn to switch from negative to positive thinking, you become open to another well-known saying: When one door closes, another door opens. Opportunities are everywhere; the problem is, you need to believe they are out there before you can see them. Believing that an opportunity will only ever knock once or that opportunities never come to the likes of you is flawed thinking. It’s true that if you’re sitting around waiting for opportunity to come knocking on your door, you might be in for a long wait, but how about getting out there and finding opportunities for yourself?
Back in the 1600s, philosopher Francis Bacon said, “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” It’s a statement that remains as true today as it was then. The one opportunity you’re pinning your hopes on may not come your way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create other opportunities to achieve what you want.
It’s all too easy to slip into thinking that someone else achieved something when you didn’t because they got a “lucky break” – an opportunity that didn’t come your way. The harsh reality is that there’s no such thing as luck and lucky breaks are the result of hard work and dedicated effort. Success comes to those who commit to achieving what they want and dedicate themselves to doing whatever it takes to achieve it. Success is rarely the result of a one-off action, so getting that lucky break is the result of repeated action. Sitting in your chair waiting for opportunity to knock on the door is not taking the positive action needed to get your lucky break.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
What are you doing today, and every day, to prepare for success?
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