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Opportunity never knocks twice. Often it never knocks at all, rather, hiding in the shrubs watching shyly from across the street as you sit on your porch sipping your glass of iced tea. It often wears disguise — lost in the shuffle of a large crowd, wearing a long trench coat with collar turned up and hat pulled over the eyes, catching glimpses of you from a distance. Sometimes opportunity stays out of the public eye altogether, sitting lonely and forlorn in some dark corner of the world thinking of you and wondering if you will ever come knocking at its door.

If you are waiting for opportunity to knock at your door, you may be waiting on a sheep caught in the thicket, a ship marooned on an island, or a car stranded in a ditch. You must go out and find it. Search for it like you are searching for a missing child. It’s waiting on you. It can be hard to find because like a timid child it dares not come out of the shadows — but it waits longingly on you just the same.

You must believe and you must refuse to be denied. Self-doubt is the greatest enemy of mankind — the only enemy, in truth. All other virtues — dedication, hard work, persistence — stand or fall on the strength of your belief in yourself. If you do not believe in yourself, no one else can believe enough or care enough for you to sustain that crumbling foundation.

Know that you are not alone. Every human being in the universe struggles with self-doubt at some point in their life — often more than once. Spend some quality time with yourself.  Look yourself in the mirror and ask, “Who am I?” “What was I born to do?” Too many people waste time searching magazines and the internet for business opportunities, entrepreneurial ideas, and the like. Your opportunity is not there. It may be, but if you find it there it’s by pure chance that you pricked your foot on the needle in the haystack. The key that unlocks opportunity’s door lies buried within you. Find out who you are, what tools you have, what your passion is, and then find a way to put those talents and passions together in a way that makes a difference in the world around you. This presents an irresistible appeal to opportunity. The attraction is greater than the fear. It draws it out of the shadows. It comes to watch — maybe from distance still, but close enough that often you can spot it, make eye contact, maybe even make your first introduction.

If you are a bird, fly. If you are a fish, swim. If you are a deer, run. Find out who you are and what you do well, and do it with all your heart and passion. Never stop doing it. If it’s truly who you are, it will be as natural as breathing. You will probably get so caught up in living as you were meant to live that you will find yourself face to face with opportunity without even realizing that all this time you were knocking on its door.

As Tennyson said:

How dull it is to pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me

Live large, my friends — opportunity awaits.