When opportunity knocks, open the door.

Gauri Krishnan, IIK Young Contributor
Thursday, March 7, 2019

Opportunity is defined as “A situation or condition favourable for attainment of a goal,” or “A time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.”
This incident took place when I was in my fourth grade. Our school had sent an email regarding the CBSE Inter-School Essay Writing Competition on the Constitution of India. My parents encouraged me to enroll myself for the contest. At first I was not interested as I thought I would not be able to do it properly. But later I thought it was better to try than to just let the opportunity go by. So I wrote the essay and sent it to CBSE. After some weeks of waiting, I checked the results, and was really happy when I saw that I had won the first prize from among all the CBSE schools in Kuwait. If I had not seized the opportunity, I would not have won this prize. That is how I understood the importance of grabbing an opportunity when it comes to me.

Opportunity knocks only once. Opportunities may come and go, but once it is gone, the same opportunity will never come back to you. Keep your eyes open because your next opportunity may be right where you are now. Opportunities are like buses. The bus won’t wait if you are not willing to get in or if you are late. You must ride on it once it comes.

I’m reminded of a real-life story about a taxi driver who saw an opportunity within his difficulty, while others got frustrated in the same situation. He lived in a city where there would be a huge traffic block every morning. Many of the citizens of the area got frustrated with the traffic block as they were always late to work. The taxi driver, instead of wasting his time complaining about the situation, started learning a new language that he had really wanted to. He did this by listening to audios in his car, whenever there was a traffic block. Gradually, he learnt several languages. As a result of his hard work, he got a job in the government as a translator.

People miss opportunities because of mainly two reasons. One is that they keep waiting for the right time and the other is that opportunity sometimes comes disguised as difficulties.

“Most people miss great opportunities because of their misperception of time. Don’t wait! The time will never be just right,” said Stephen C. Hogan. Sometimes we hear people say, “My time is not good.” “It is bad time for me now and so I can’t find a good opportunity,” and so on. Yes, the time might not seem right for us until we realize that opportunity is everywhere and that the key is to develop the vision to see it.

Once, in a village, there lived a beautiful, intelligent, and elegant lady. She was the daughter of the chief and many men vied for her attention. One of them, went up to her father and told him that he wanted to marry her. He said, “My daughter will be married to you on one condition. You must stand in the open ground and catch the tail of any of the three bulls that I will send.” The man agreed. He stood in the field, waiting for the bulls. Just then, the door of the shed opened. There was a cloud of dust and a huge bull, snorting and pounding the earth with its hooves, rushed in. The man thought, “The next bull might be smaller. I will let this one pass.” He stood aside and let the bull pass. The door opened again, and a bull, no smaller than the first one, charged into the field. The man thought again, “This bull also is too big. I will wait for the next one.” And so, he let the second bull also pass. The door opened, and the third bull entered the field. It was as weak as could be and dragged its poor feet along. The man’s face lit up, for he had got the perfect opportunity standing right in front of him! He reached for the tail, but alas, the bull had no tail!

“Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems,” said Sun Tzu. Opportunities sometimes disguise themselves as problems. So, discover the opportunity inside them, for, each problem contains the seeds of opportunity and we are the ones who should plant these seeds instead of complaining about the problems.

But what if we started on time, worked hard and yet have not been able to find the solution of the problem? That is where luck comes in. It is said that, “Luck is what happens when hard work meets opportunity."

Less than a century ago, people were dying at an alarming rate from infections that today we wouldn’t even think of being life-threatening. Sir Alexander Fleming was trying to find a cure for these infections. After countless failures, frustrated, he threw away his Petri dishes, which are shallow, circular, transparent dishes with a flat lid, used for the culture of microorganisms. A little later he noticed that some mold growing in his discarded dishes was killing bacteria. This mold became the subject of his study and the result was penicillin. Penicillin antibiotics were among the first medications to be effective against many bacterial infections. There was an opportunity to find a solution and when he put in the hard work, it resulted in a discovery that saved the lives of billions across the world.

History is full of instances where, when people faced problems in life, many saw the difficulty, while only some saw the opportunity. Instead of stopping because of the difficulty, these few people thought about what they could do to find the solution of the problem. This led them to new ideas and they were the ones who made pathbreaking discoveries, leading us to where we are today. So, we need to stop seeing only the difficulties, and instead open our eyes to the opportunities around us.

So, if you want to lead your life successfully and happily, be alert and prepared to hear the call of opportunity that may come at any moment. Only the ones who seize every opportunity, utilize their time, and put their effort into everything they do, will find success in life.

Gauri Krishnan
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