What's your take on 'Opportunity only knocks once'?
This was the question posed to me in a forum recently. I used to be good at extempore (note the operative word: used), but that was at school. To help(?) matters further, this question was posed during a coming-togther of select alumni during the School Day celebrations to commemorate the institution's 25th year of existence.
Now that I have had more time to contemplate the question, while I did say some of the following, here is what would've made a better answer...
To answer the question, lets first get the full proverb for completeness -- Opportunity only knocks once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.
Its only human to confuse temptation for opportunity. If there is a doubt, read the proverb again. During teenage years, urge to rebel is not opportunity. When among friends, just a 'harmless' cigarette ("What the heck.. its just this once, nobody will know!") is temptation. Its imporant to know and understand what is what. Answering the question 'If I let go of this possibility now, will I ever get a second chance?' should make the distinction clear.
My generation came out of school at the cusp of India's transition to a free market economy. One can argue that our career choices were invariably 'socialism tainted'. Study well, get a job, settle in life... Risk taking and offbeat career choices were neither easy nor encouraged. Exceptions do exist though.
In contrast, today's youth have a surfeit of choices. The set of people on stage is a good representative example -- we have an accomplished musician, a lawyer, an accomplished artist, a few journalists, a couple of architects, an event manager/choreographer, just to name a few. There is even an aspiring race driver with considerable achivements in karting already.
This is not just refreshing, but is also an eye-opener for my generation of how its no longer a 2-lane highway. Its important to note though that medicine and engineering aren't bad career choices either ;-)
With more choices come more opportunities. It is therefore important to contemplate on what opportunities to 'let go'. Yes, 'let go' - exercise your choice in this matter. In hindsight, it is paramount that you never regret the choice you made.
Go out, its your world. Make the most of it!