By Jimmy Warden
There’s a phrase out there that simply states, “opportunity knocks”. Furthermore, this phrase has evolved into many variations, but I recall hearing one that states, “opportunity knocks where you’re least likely to find it”. This has helped people understand the idea that opportunities can appear in places they may not have originally thought they would appear. However, the more that I wrestled with the idea that “opportunity knocks”, the more I started to disagree with its message.
What does opportunity knocks mean?
When thinking about the phrase, “opportunity knocks”, we should try to consider its true meaning. If we think about the idea that it is opportunity that is doing the knocking, it implies that opportunities will show up at our doorstep. This message is one that tells people that they do not have to seek out opportunity, rather opportunity will seek them out.
Why do I disagree with this message?
I disagree with this message because it is one that has implications towards stagnation. If someone truly believed that opportunity would come knocking on their door in the form of a relationship, a job, a passion, or a place to live, that someone would likely be disappointed in what manifested. By believing there is no need to pursue opportunities and simply allowing fate to take the wheel, we can easily end up in a situation that we don’t like.
Let’s paint a quick picture. Let’s imagine that someone wants to be an author and they also strongly believe in the phrase “opportunity knocks”. They may have some creative or informative writing pieces saved and perhaps even published a blog post or two. However, if this individual is not writing daily, not promoting themselves as a writer, not asking questions to other authors about the process, and not seeking out how to actively get published; they will not become a famous author. That’s not simply how fate works.
The same could be said for the other ideas that were previously mentioned. Just by wishing for a significant other, doesn’t mean that you’ll fall in love on your first date. Just because you want your dream job, doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Just because you want to have a passion in life, doesn’t mean that you’ll find one. Just because you want a place to live, doesn’t mean there will be one available.
A spin on “opportunity knocks“
With that said, I would like to put my own spin on the “opportunity knocks” quote. I would like to change the quote to, “opportunity doesn’t knock, it’s created”. It is through our pursuits that we find opportunities manifest. The more that we pursue an opportunity, the more likely it is that we can make it happen. It is consistent action that will help us create our own opportunities and help us determine our own fate. It is through action that we don’t leave as much to chance. The shift in responsibility is now in our hands rather than the external world.
Let’s revisit that example of the person that wants to be an author. Let’s imagine they believe in “opportunity doesn’t knock, it’s created”. They likely would be taking the actions that they previously weren’t. They would be writing everyday, no matter how little it might be. They would be promoting themselves, no matter how weird it could feel. They would be trying to find authors to speak with about the publishing process. They would be figuring out how to get published.
As for the other examples, if you want a partner, the only way to find one is to go one dates. If you want your dream job, the only way is to apply. If you want to find a passion in your life, try a lot of things. If you want to find a place to live, look. I’m aware it’s not just action that will get you to the places you want to go, there does need to be a bit of luck; but without action, there will be no creation. It is often said that those who are “lucky” also tend to be some of the hardest workers. Therefore, the more that we pursue, the more opportunities we can create for ourselves.
So whatever it is you want in life, go get it!