“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
I have a suspicion that most of the readers of this blog don’t know who Milton Berle was. He was called Uncle Miltie and Mr. Television. He starred in the long running NBC TV show the Texaco Star Theater. He was the biggest TV star of the era and, along with a number of other ex-Vaudevillians, was instrumental in the rapid rise of television and the nation’s primary source of entertainment. He is the source of a great number of really good quotes – see http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/milton_berle.html
What I like about this quote is that it is actionable. It doesn’t just say sit there and wait if you want an opportunity, build a door for it to knock upon. That may mean taking classes or doing the prep work that is needed to be ready. It may mean putting in the extra effort that gets noticed when opportunity arrives. It could mean doing some of the things that you really don’t like to do, because opportunity demands that they be done first.
Here’s another thought along similar lines –
“If a gap separates you from someone or something that you want, build a bridge.” – Me
Very often we may sit lamenting that there is what seems to be a gap between us and what we want. That may be a relationship with someone else or maybe something like a better job. The gap represents either skills and knowledge that we don’t have or maybe just self-confidence that we lack. The gap may be relatively narrow or very wide, but we feel stuck on one side and what we want is on the other side.
Here again the advice is to take action, rather than wallowing in self-pity. Building the bridge that we need may take a while and undoubtedly involve self-improvement, either in our knowledge and skills or in our self-esteem. It is possible that it will take quite a while to build that bridge, but I suspect that the benefits will start accruing as soon as you start taking action to build it. Who knows; while you’re busy building that bridge opportunity just might knock.
So, the point is that we must make the effort. Things are not going to fall into our laps just because we sit around lamenting what we don’t have. Build a bridge or a door. Get up and do something to move towards your goals and improve your chances of success. Find joy in the effort and take to heart the words of Theodore Roosevelt –
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Live well my friends. Make the effort that others will envy.