OPEN DOORS PART TWO: Finding the Right Door in Life Means Looking, Being Positive, & Being Helpful

OPEN DOORS PART TWO: Finding the Right Door in Life Means Looking, Being Positive, & Being Helpful
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.


<p>Become a Possibilitarian. - Norman Vincent Peale</p>

Become a Possibilitarian. - Norman Vincent Peale
Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities — always see them, for they're always there. - Norman Vincent Peale

I hate to say it, but the truth is that we might spend more time in life thinking about things than the time spent during the events in our lives. In other words, we may dwell on the positive or the negative continually.

But if you're reading this, you’re likely trying to avoid living in “the negative.” In this way, a person who is focused on finding open doors in life is actualizing possibilities every day and simply being positive. You are not just talking about it, you are doing it. And if not you, then who else can have positive thoughts for you?

In the first part of this series, I asked you to think about three "famous" or "infamous" closed doors in your life. These could have been dramatic turning points or even simple coincidences, though I am not always comfortable with making things that you are proud sound like they happened "by chance." Coincidence, after all, is defined as the linking of two events in a remarkable way!

Yes, your job was to reflect on three closed doors. Have you thought about them? If not, take a moment to think about (1) or even (2) or (3) closed doors that occurred in your life. Hopefully as you consider your closed doors, you might also find a door that is opening. Quite often it is right in front of you!

As we think about closed doors in life — wherever and whenever they occur — there’s a benefit in thinking of them as leading to open doors. To keep one step ahead, I will describe three types of open doors that can — and should — result from closed doors in life.


If you really think about it, one of the most powerful things we have no matter where we are in life is truth. It is easy to know when we are telling the truth because we do not have to remember the details: it flows freely when compared with lies, half statements and wish-this-were-true statements.

Truth can be life-saving, and often involves us doing the work. Walking in truth in our life each day requires:

  • Authenticity
  • Humility/willingness to change
  • Care and compassion for others and ourselves

There is a great philosophical divide when it comes to caring for ourselves, but the TRUTH is that if we do not show others in our charge (students, children, and coworkers, etc.) how we care for ourselves, how can we expect, or hope, for them to learn how to do this for themselves? Yes, care and compassion starts with our thoughts and actions towards ourselves and extends to all those within our reach. And it shows others how to continually do the same.

If we avoid truth in our life, we will quickly find a lack of resilience in our health, opportunities for serving others, and our capacity for happiness, fulfillment, and joy. Moreover, you could call a lack of resilience a closed door each time it happens.


As you drive down the road, make a habit of looking at other drivers from time to time. Are they smiling or frowning? Or as you are walking around the grocery store (a little safer by the way), are folks smiling or not? Or look in the mirror; what do you see?

Ask someone else how happy you seem to be and what they think you could do better? I usually try to keep focused on the idea that being positive is my job, but observing others and asking them for their thoughts can help us learn more about ourselves as well.

Now consider this: if you are in a car or train and headed from POINT A to POINT B, it is not a good idea to start looking for open doors. In fact, make sure that all the doors are closed! What I am trying to say is that during routine times in life, looking for open and closed doors is not always helpful or healthy. Instead, it is during those times that we should continue onward to our destination because it is the best and safest thing to do.

Consider a second example: that long walkway in an airport or another large building. Now, if you are in the MIDDLE of the walkway, you are not going to find any closed or open doors along the way. Instead, the only path is to continue onward to your destination. Continuance can be a great confidence-builder and way to serve others right where you are. Also, being positive during these times is simply how to help others with a smile rather than a frown. Moreover, positivity is inner trait of resilience that shows in our words, our perspectives, and our goals.

If we avoid persevering and being positive, we might become habitually (1) quitters and (2) unhappy. Now don't get me wrong, unhappiness and downright brokenness are an unavoidable part of life at times, but we don't have to stay in broken thinking. We also don't have to give up. We simply don't have to.

Consider the amazing example of Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, a married couple who were both seriously injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Their depiction in the recent film Patriots Day (2017) shows just how resilient this couple is as they faced all fears and the ran this race again in 2014 to the finish line! #BostonStrong


There is no law against being positive or towards seizing your dreams in life. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Consider that even the framers of the US Constitution aimed our citizens towards life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Let's look at these three qualities for a moment:

  • LIFE involves being alive, being emotionally alive, and being a life-giver to others
  • LIBERTY involves not being forced to make bad choices, but envisioning what is good and helpful and then having the courage to do it.
  • PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS is more about pursuing something (I.e. Action) and finding joy in it. In a simple way, my actions can help others and myself to find joy in life - and that, in essence, is the pursuit of happiness.

I have found that something amazing happens when you have the courage to seize a dream in life. That means you are (1) remembering or thinking about or nurturing WHAT IT IS you are dreaming about/desiring/hoping for and (2) often finding that new dreams come AFTER you accomplish an earlier dream. What I mean is that when you set your mind, heart, and actions towards a dream that you have, and then you accomplish it, you often develop newer and even more amazing dreams in life.

The second and newer dream often comes from doing the first one. And I would add that accomplishing a dream does more in your life for nurturing new HOPES that are based in REALITIES than much anything else you could do. The corollary here is that helping others to accomplish and fulfill their dreams has the same, if not greater, effect of creating hope in their life and in ours as well.

If we avoid dreaming and hoping for the future, we lessen the amount of joy we can have each day. It is not our actions that always boost our life and create results, but rather it is our ability to dream, hope, and then take action.

Now I'd like to ask you, what are you DREAMING FOR or HOPING FOR?

In the final Part Three of this series, we will look more deeply at Dreams and Hopes in life and their significance on our daily outlook and ability to plan for the future. Finally, we will examine how Dreams and Hopes are most ultimately connected to our view of Closed and Opening Doors in life.

Dr. Jonathan Doll often writes on issues of wellness, educational impact, and hope. He wrote a chapter in the book, Closing the Education Achievement Gaps for African American Males. Also, he recently published a story about his amazing mom in the Chicken Soup for the Soul (2017) series on Best Mom's Ever.

* * * * * * *

Before You Go

Popular in the Community