“Opportunity knocks but once” is a proverb that dates, in various forms, to the 1500s. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” is a jocular take on the old proverb that has been credited to comedian Milton Berle (1908-2002) since at least 1993.
It’s not certain when (or if) Berle ever said it. The joke does not appear in his 642-page book, Milton Berle’s Private Joke File: Over 10,000 of His Best Gags, Anecdotes, and One-Liners (1989).
One Door Closes, Another Door Opens:
Turning Your Setbacks Into Comebacks
By Arthur Pine and Julie Houston
New York, NY: Delacorte Press
“If opportunity doesn’t knock . . . build a door.”
Milton Berle (b. 1908), Comic/Entertainer
How to Find a Job:
Your 30-Day Action Plan for Success
By Robin Casey
Nashville, TN: Oliver-Nelson Books, Thomas Nelson Publishers
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. — Milton Berle
10 June 1996, Providence (RI) Journal, “DR graduates told doors of opportunity await them” by Pia Sarkar, pg. C1:
Parents, relatives and friends packed into the brown fold-out chairs on the school’s courtyard to hear the commencement speeches, several of which played off the words of entertainer Milton Berle: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
16 April 1999, Rockford (IL) Register Star, pg. 9C, col. 2:
“IF OPPORTUNITY DOES’T KNOCK, BUILD A DOOR.”—Unknown Source
25 February 2005, Daily Herald (Chicago, IL), sec. 1, pg. 14, col. 3:
“If opportunity doesn’t work, build a door,” a meaningful quote that describes a true leader.
(Letter by Karen Thorstenson of Gurnee—ed.)
Jump for Journalism
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
This entry was posted on July 31, 2013
I am a big fan of the cheesy inspirational quote, and I saw this quote just after I had decided to write a blog post about making opportunities for yourself – it was the perfect match for my post.
(An illustration of the quote is shown—ed.)
I fully stand by this quote, and without knowing it, it is a quote I have constantly followed for the last couple of years in relation to my own journalism career. This firstly started with work experience.