Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and is credited for this gem of a phrase:
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Oftentimes, we consider a door closing as an action that was brought upon us by someone else. For example: “They chose somebody else.” “They decided to go in a different direction.” “They fired me when they downsized.”
You get the idea.
We are left feeling as if we didn’t have any control for the eventual outcome. We may feel like a victim. We may feel like a failure.
Recently, I spent 10 weeks in the shop of a technical high school learning how to be a welder. I’ll give you the abridged version of where I am now.
Week 3: I realized that welding is a difficult skill to learn and it’s probably not the right career path for me. I met with the course coordinator and expressed my concerns. He encouraged me, “Stick with it. You may just be a late bloomer and all of a sudden it will just click for you.”
Week 7: No blooming. No clicking. I was the anchor of the class, the caboose. Dead last in showing competency, let alone progress toward meeting the course objectives. I was miserable.
I experienced something new in my life: I was horrible at something.
Whenever I’ve made an honest effort to learn something new I’ve always shown at least a basic level of competency. But not welding, no matter how sincere my effort was, how hard I tried, or how many attempts I made.
Week 8 – 10: Humility haunted me, and I dreaded going to the 6-hour class every night. I wanted to drop out. But, Pride prevented me from quitting.
I completed all 300 hours of the course. Never missed a class. No honors. No awards. No participation trophy. No ceremony. And No “almost guaranteed job offer.”
I finished what I had started, and for that accomplishment I hold my head up with pride (but not arrogance). I humbly (but not meekly) recognize my weaknesses.
I’ve found a balance point between pride and humility that I am comfortable with.
So, what does all this have to do with doors?
I spent 10 stress-filled weeks trying to open a welding door of opportunity. I failed, and I proudly admit that. However, I’m not going to dwell on what can’t be undone. I’m neither going to wallow in self-loathing, nor am I going to place blame that someone closed the door of welding on me.
Nope. It’s just locked tight. That’s all there is to it.
I am now free and ready to broaden my focus and notice the other opportunities which surround me.
They are all closed right now and I guarantee you that some are even locked.
However, with every opportunity I explore, with Primility, I get closer to finding the open door.
So please, keep on trying and keep on knocking, despite the difficulty you may be having.
Because there is an open door somewhere. I promise!
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.