The Power of an Open Door

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Apr 23, 2011

"It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared."
Whitney M. Young, Jr.

One of the most powerful declarations of limitless possibilities was said around 100 A.D. to the ancient church in the city of Philadelphia in Asia Minor, "I have set before you an open door." 

For the devout people of faith in the first city of brotherly love, these words resonated as a huge challenge for them to realize their fullest potential. No matter how fragile they felt or how small they were or how few resources they had, the metaphor of an open door changed everything. 

How different would your life, or mine, be if each day we pondered the possibility and power of an open door? When I think about this, six words come to mind. 

1. Anticipation. To stand in front of an open door is to stand on the threshold of the unknown. Anticipation courses through our veins and pulsates in the depths of our souls. The open door calls out to us, "Come, walk through me into your future." Charles F. Kettering knew this when he said, "There will always be a frontier where there is an open mind and a willing hand." I have set before you an open door - a door of anticipation. 

2. Limitation. To walk through an open door is to turn our back on other options. Of course, not every open door is open for us, nor is every opportunity an open door. As Coco Chanel wisely noted, "Don't spend time beating on a wall hoping to transform it into a door." What would I be doing today, where would I live, and who would be my wife if I had walked through the first open door, or if I had broken down a wall that was never supposed to have a door for me? I have set before you an open door - a door of limitation. 

3. Inspiration. An open door can provide enormous inspiration as we move from one space to another. And that inspiration may begin as a tiny spark, for as Albert Camus said, "All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning." Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door. The shape of your open door may not be a rectangle. I set before you an open door - a door of inspiration. Someone said, "Opportunities always look bigger going than coming." 

4. Participation. Going through an open door requires one step, not an entire journey. We all know that every long journey begins with that first step. The application must be filled out. The appointment for the interview must be set up. My friend Carl said it well, "No you always have unless you go for yes." That first step is always the hardest. I set before you an open door - a door of participation. 

5. Perspiration. Open doors rarely head to well-manicured walkways or four-lane boulevards. In fact, most doors of opportunity have signs on them which say, "Push." That's why Orison Swett Marden said, "Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them." I have set before you an open door - a door of perspiration. 

6. Realization. How different the open door appears after we've gone through it. Our perspective is never the same. On the one side an opportunity may appear impossible but, as Charles Swindoll said, those "impossible situations" can become a series of "great opportunities." When we walk through the right open door at the right time and in the right way, it is then that potentiality becomes reality. I have set before you an open door - a door of realization. 

I have set before you an open door. Now is the time to open it and walk through it. 

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
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