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Let the 'Doors of Opportunity' Open Wide!

FILE - King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands stand in the door of the former "Tresor" techno music club as they visit the "Berlin Global" exhibition at the Humboldt Forum museum and cultural center in Berlin, Germany July 7, 2021.
Let the 'Doors of Opportunity' Open Wide!
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And now, Words and Their Stories, from VOA Learning English.

We walk through doors many, many times a day. If we want to enter any building, we must go through a door. And that building could be a new home, an interesting store or restaurant. Maybe it is a school, library or laboratory.

We don’t know for sure what is on the other side of a door. If you think about it, doors offer us many possibilities and opportunities!

That may be why we have several expressions that connect doors with opportunity.

First, let’s talk about an opportunity. An opportunity is a chance for greater success. It is a good chance for advancement or progress. Or it can be just a chance for something different. But you won’t know unless you open the door.

So, “when opportunity comes knocking, be ready to answer the door.” This expression means you do not want to miss an opportunity. There is a certain sadness and regret involved in a missed opportunity.

You don’t always get another second chance. That is why we also say, opportunity knocks but once. You may also hear it said this way: opportunity seldom knocks twice.

Both expressions mean that great opportunities are usually only offered to us one time. We use these expressions to urge people to act quickly and to take an opportunity when it comes to them.

Now, sometimes an opportunity is not a completely open door. Maybe the door is open just a little – a crack. If that happens and you want to get in, you should make sure to put your “foot in the door.”

Imagine you are standing in a doorway and you want to get inside the building. You want to be part of whatever is happening in there. With your foot in the door, you are one step closer to making that happen.

When you have a foot in the door, you have an opportunity to get inside a building. The same can be said for a situation.

Sometimes, all you need to succeed is a small chance or opportunity to prove yourself. This is especially true for people who do not have connections that can open doors for them.

Getting your foot in the door is a way to open that door of opportunity for yourself. Here is an example: I had short-term job in New York City in the publishing industry. The job did not pay very much. But it was a good way for me to get my foot in the door.

Now, sometimes in life, things do not go our way. The door of opportunity slams in our face. But that’s okay. We have another expression that can fix that problem.

"When one door closes, another one opens."

This expression means that the end of one situation or opportunity may often followed by the start of a new one. You can use this expression to offer hope to someone who may have lost a good opportunity.

And that’s all the time we have for this Words and Their Stories.

Until next time … I’m Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

opportunity – n. a chance for greater success

regret – n. sadness or disappointment caused especially by something beyond a person's control

crack – n. a narrow opening

slam – v. to shut forcibly and noisily