When one door closes, another door 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. – Alexander Graham Bell
If you ask who said this phrase, most often it’s credited to Alexander Graham Bell. Though in actuality, the first written mention of the phrase is in a Spanish novella published in 1554. The author was anonymous.
Regardless of who came up the with phrase, it’s given a lot of encouragement to people over the years.
What is the meaning of doors closing and opening?
People often interpret this saying to mean that other opportunities become available after one has been eliminated. Thinking about it, when you’re no longer able to pursue one possibility, your mind is more free to pursue a different one.
In some cases, a different opportunity can end up being better for you than the one you initially pursued. Other times, a door closes, and maybe another one never opens. If we’re being honest, that’s a possibility that should be acknowledged.
Nonetheless, it’s better to believe something better can come as a result of a closed door. I’ve mentioned many times in previous articles that those who believe in luck (or the idea that good things can happen for them), are more aware of good opportunities than those who don’t.
The research has proven it. We just need to try our best to act on it, which means believing that another door in life can open for us.
When God closes a door, does he open another?
It’s not been uncommon for pastors to use this phrase as a means of spiritual encouragement. One variation of the saying we’re discussing says, “If God closes a door, he’ll open a window.”
Pastors may reference biblical characters who endured hardships, such as Moses and Job, as an illustration of this idea. In scripture, there isn’t any verse that uses the door phrase. Still, you’ll find religious leaders that do think the message is implied in different stories.
Examples of doors closing and opening
There are numerous examples of people who metaphorically encountered one closed door and eventually came across another opening. Many of the historical figures of our time had initial failures and setbacks before reaching opportunities that brought success.
Here are two common examples:
- Before becoming president, Abraham Lincoln lost a state legislature race, a house speaker race, a congressional nomination race, a U.S. Senate race, and a nomination for Vice President. He had these and many other metaphorical doors close in life, until finally he was elected President of the United States.
- Before Mickey Mouse and all the other Disney characters, Walt Disney’s first cartoon business went bankrupt. But who knows if the metaphorical door hadn’t closed on his first business, if all the things we see today related to Disney would have happened.
When you think about the past, it was a lot harder to find success in life. These days, one day people are unknown, and the next day they’ve gone viral and have instant stardom and riches that come with it.
The time we’re living in now allows for many of us to find a variety of doors that can open us to the success in life we desire. Be open to the possibilities that are around you.
Take some chances that could potentially work out. Believe that one day a door will open for you that leads to all the dreams you could have hoped for coming true.
Tips for dealing with closed doors
It can be difficult to deal with a closed door in life. Sometimes we can feel deep regret over having missed a potentially good opportunity.
But staying in that feeling of regret might cause you to miss other opportunities that could be just as good. Here are a few tips that'll help you get over the moments when doors of opportunity close.
1. Learn from the closed door
Think about what may have gone wrong that caused you to lose out on something you wanted. Reflect on what you could have on different things you could have done better.
Once you've come up with a definitive idea of what you can improve on, take time to practice doing better. Think about new strategies that can help you be more successful the next time you encounter an open door.
2. Search for the next open door
If you want to get over something, that's going to require you to move on to finding something new. We can sometimes think we've missed out on the best opportunity we could have ever gotten, but that's not true.
There are many different ways to succeed in this world. You just have to keep looking for different possibilities to inquire about and see what happens.
Basically, you have to not give up. In my experience, I've found that if you just keep looking for different chances and trying out new things, something will eventually work out.
3. Believe you're going to succeed
There's a lot of power in the type of beliefs we have about ourselves and our life. In an Everyday Psych article titled, "The Science of Believing in Yourself," it notes research that has shown those who have growth mindset are typically more successful than those who have fixed mindset.
Start thinking that your skills are something you can improve on. Believing you can get better is one of the first steps to actually getting better.
4. Forgive yourself
We all mess up and make mistakes that we know we could have avoided. You can either keep beating yourself up over it or choose to forgive yourself.
Accept that sometimes you're not going to be successful in walking through that open door of opportunity. Choose to let go of the fact that things didn't work out.
As mentioned earlier, you can use those mistakes as a way to learn and grow. As you learn and grow, there's a chance that you can do better next time you encounter an open door in life.
5. Use your closed doors as motivation
Athletes do it all the time. They suffer a big loss in a game and feel really down about it, but then decide to use that emotion to fuel them to win in the future.
Decide you're going to use your setback to fuel your next great comeback. Choose to be motivated by your failure to do as much as you can to avoid it the next time.
6. Get advice
If someone was involved in deciding to close the door, see if you can get input on what you can do to be successful next time. You can also ask those close to you who've experienced closed doors for advice.
In particular, those who are older can potentially provide you a lot of wisdom on how you can be successful. You don't have to feel like that you have to figure out everything on your own.
Choose to be comfortable getting insight from the people you trust. You never know what advice you get that could be just what you needed to succeed next time.
7. Visualize yourself succeeding
Lastly, keep yourself inspired and motivated by visualizing yourself succeeding in the future. It not only can potentially help you feel good, it might actually help you succeed.
Athletes use visualization all the time to help with their training. Research has shown that visualization can actually help you build strength. Practice visualizing yourself succeeding the next time you encounter an open door of opportunity.
My own closed doors
I've had a lot of closed doors in life. I've gotten rejected job offers, missed out on romantic opportunities, and seen a lot of possibilities not work out for me.
There were times I wasn't sure I was ever going to figure things out and be successful. But I never stopped trying. I kept looking for new possibilities and taking a chance.
Because of that, I've become successful in my career, my love life, and much more. You just have to keep moving forward and believe that inevitably something can work out for you.
It may not work out by tomorrow, next week, or next month. But over time, good things can potentially happen, and you can potentially get the happiness you want. Be inspired to reinvest in your pursuit of the life that you hope to have someday.