Written by Napoleon Hill and published in Hill’s Golden Rule Magazine, 1919.
By Napoleon Hill
A little old stoop-shouldered woman walked into one of Pittsburgh’s department stores one rainy day and wandered up and down the aisles. She did not look like “ready money,” therefore the clerks “didn’t see” her, none except one of them.
This young man was not one of the “regular” clerks. He had only been with the store a few days, therefore he hadn’t “wised” up yet. He stepped up to the old lady, helped her with her purchase, escorted her to the door and raised her umbrella for her.
As she left she asked for his card!
Later an order came to that store for furnishings for one of the finest mansions in the world. With the order came the request that this same young man be sent to oversee the installation of the furnishings. The manager of the store protested that the young man was inexperienced; that the store had more experienced men; but the customer insisted that this young man was the one she wanted to oversee the work.
The customer who placed that order and requested the services of that young man, was Mrs. Andrew Carnegie; none other than the little old woman whom this young man had shown unusual courtesy while all the other clerks were “looking the other direction.”
Opportunity knocked at that young man’s door and found him in! Opportunity never comes in silks and satins, nor seldom is it heralded with the blowing of horns or led by a brass band. It usually sneaks up to us when we are not expecting it.
Opportunity stands at our side from morning until night.
Every time a little old lady comes along near us opportunity comes with her – opportunity to at least be courteous and receive happiness for our efforts. Every time there is work to be done which no one else wants to do, opportunity beckons us to step up and embrace her, because it is here that the first step toward leadership is taken.
The poet who wrote in his verse that opportunity knocks but once, did the world a tremendous disservice! Every time a person does you an injustice you are fact to face with opportunity – a glorious opportunity to prove to yourself and to the world how big you are by applying the Golden Rule, forgiving and forgetting.
Every time you have a chance to get the better of your fellowman in a business deal you are face to face with opportunity – opportunity to increase your own self-respect and gain the confidence of your fellowmen by doing the unusual thing of not taking any advantage.
It makes no difference what your calling in life may be, or how lowly the work you are currently doing, you have a glorious opportunity to raise yourself into more important and more profitable work by the simple process of performing more service and better service than you are actually paid to perform.
You know where your neighbor keeps his family skeleton. You could drag it out and humiliate him. What a wonderful opportunity stands at your side every moment and bids you be big enough and great enough to let that skeleton remain undisturbed.
Your competitor “knocks” you and tries to take away business that you are entitled to. What a splendid opportunity you have to remain silent and permit him to defeat himself with his own weapon.
The world says mean things about you. What a wonderful opportunity you have to prove the world a liar by your good conduct, your kindness toward your neighbors, your fair dealings in business, your splendid example of forgiving and forgetting.
Opportunity is always and everywhere beckoning to you to embrace her.
When you are alone she stands by your side and bids you impress upon your own heart and mind, through the principle of auto-suggestion, that you are an honorable, sympathetic, just, kind, progressive citizen, and, that you are enjoying happiness by helping your fellowmen find it.
What greater opportunity than this could one want?