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Quotes about opportunity.
- I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon—if I can. I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done. All this is what it means to be an American.
- Dean Alfange, Who's Who in America, 1984–85, vol. 1, p. 42. These words have appeared at the end of his entry in several successive editions. Originally published in This Week Magazine. Later reprinted in The Reader's Digest, October 1952, p. 10, and January 1954, p. 122, lacking these words: "I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat" and "to stand erect, proud and unafraid."
- A thousand years a poor man watched
Before the gate of Paradise:
But while one little nap he snatched,
It oped and shut. Ah! was he wise?
- William R. Alger, "Swift Opportunity", Poetry of the Orient (1893), p. 281.
- A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
- Francis Bacon, Essays, 52. 'Of Ceremonies and Respects'
- I took over the Moran and Mack spot and wowed them. The theater owner's report to the booker of the entire circuit was a glowing review. A week later I was booked on a bigger circuit. I kept working and polishing my act until the GIANT door opened for me and there was the big time ... the Palace Theater [sic] on Broadway.
P.S. If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
- Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
- Thomas Edison, as quoted in An Enemy Called Average (1990) by John L. Mason, p. 55.
- Never waste a crisis. It can be turned to joyful transformation.
- Rahm Israel Emanuel, from an article in the New York Times (March 17th 2009).
- Sometimes, you need a door slammed in your face before you can hear opportunity knock.
- James Geary (b.1962), American magazine editor, writer and aphorist. From 'My Aphorisms', on James Geary's website, 2009.
- To attract good luck to oneself, it is necessary to take advantage of opportunities.
- George S. Glason, 'Meet the Goddess of God Luck', The Richest Man in Babylon. Signet (1988).
- When there's an opportunity, some people pass it by. I've been lucky enough to recognise opportunities and every day, in my business, there's an opportunity somewhere – to buy, expand, design.
- Laurence Graff (b.1938), British businessman. Interview in the Evening Standard's ES Magazine, 17th December 2007, interviewed by Godfrey Barker.
- The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word "crisis". One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.
- Variant: In the Chinese language, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity.
- "Remarks at the United Negro College Fund, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 12, 1959," box 902, Senate Speech Files, Pre-Presidential Papers, John F. Kennedy Papers, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library; "Remarks at Valley Forge Country Club, Pennsylvania, October 29, 1960," box 914, Senate Speech Files, Pre-Presidential Papers, John F. Kennedy Papers, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
- You can never find a lost opportunity.
- History repeats itself, opportunity doesn't.
- Opportunity has hair in front, but behind she is bald; if you seize her by the forlock, you may hold her, but if suffered to escape, not Jupiter himself can catch her again.
- Latin Sayings.
- Zeal and duty are not slow
But on occasion's forelock watchful wait.
- There's place and means for every man alive.
- Who seeks, and will not take when once 'tis offer'd,
Shall never find it more.
- A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.
- There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
- Urge them while their souls
Are capable of this ambition,
Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath
Of soft petitions, pity and remorse,
Cool and congeal again to what it was.
- O opportunity, thy guilt is great!
'Tis thou that executest the traitor's treason;
Thou set'st the wolf where he the lamb may get;
Whoever plots the sin, thou 'point'st the season;
'Tis thou that spurn'st at right, at law, at reason.
- William Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece (1594), line 876.
- Men who are resolved to find a way for themselves will always find opportunities enough; and if they do not lie ready to their hand, they will make them.
- Samuel Smiles, 19th C Scottish author and reformer. 'Helps and Opportunities: Scientific Pursuits', Self-Help (1856), Ch 5.
- Opportunity is like a bald-headed man with only a patch of hair right in front. You have to grab that hair, grasp the opportunity while it's confronting you, else you'll be grasping a slick bald head.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 570-72.
- There is an hour in each man's life appointed
To make his happiness, if then he seize it.
- Beaumont and Fletcher, Custom of the Country, Act II, scene 3, line 85.
- This could but have happened once,
And we missed it, lost it forever.
- Robert Browning, Youth and Art, XVII.
- He that will not when he may,
When he will he shall have nay.
- Robert Burton, Quoted in Anatomy of Melancholy, Part III, Section 2. Memb. 5. Subsec. 5.
- There is a nick in Fortune's restless wheel
For each man's good.
- George Chapman, Bussy d'Ambois.
- Holding occasion by the hand,
Not over nice 'twixt weed and flower,
Waiving what none can understand,
I take mine hour.
- John Vance Cheney, This My Life.
- Who lets slip fortune, her shall never find:
Occasion once past by, is bald behind.
- Abraham Cowley, Pyramus and Thisbe, XV.
- Rem tibi quam nosces aptam dimittere noli;
Fronte capillata, post est occasio calva.
- Let nothing pass which will advantage you;
Hairy in front, Occasion's bald behind.
- Dionysius Cato, Disticha de Moribus, II. 26.
- Let nothing pass which will advantage you;
- Observe the opportunity.
- Ecclesiasticus, IV. 20.
- Seek not for fresher founts afar,
Just drop your bucket where you are;
And while the ship right onward leaps,
Uplift it from exhaustless deeps.
Parch not your life with dry despair;
The stream of hope flows everywhere—
So under every sky and star,
Just drop your bucket where you are!
- Sam Walter Foss, Opportunity.
- "Oh, ship ahoy!" rang out the cry;
"Oh, give us water or we die!"
A voice came o'er the waters far,
"Just drop your bucket where you are."
And then they dipped and drank their fill
Of water fresh from mead and hill;
And then they knew they sailed upon
The broad mouth of the Amazon.
- Sam Walter Foss, Opportunity. "Let down your buckets where you are," quoted by Booker T. Washington. Address at Atlanta Exposition. See his Life, Up From Slavery.
- Der den Augenblick ergreift,
Das ist der rechte Mann.
- Man's extremity is God's opportunity.
- John Hamilton (Lord Belhaven). In the Scottish Parliament, Nov. 2, 1706, protesting against the Union of England and Scotland. Also found in John Flavel's Faithful and Ancient Account of Some Late and Wonderful Sea Deliverances. Pub. before 1691.
- I beseech you not to blame me if I be desirous to strike while the iron is hot.
- Sir Edward Hoby, to Cecil (Oct. 14, 1587).
- Rapiamus, amici,
Occasionem de die.
- Let us seize, friends, our opportunity from the day as it passes.
- Horace, Epodon, XIII. 3.
- The actual fact is that in this day Opportunity not only knocks at your door but is playing an anvil chorus on every man's door, and then lays for the owner around the corner with a club. The world is in sore need of men who can do things. Indeed, cases can easily be recalled by every one where Opportunity actually smashed in the door and collared her candidate and dragged him forth to success. These cases are exceptional, usually you have to meet Opportunity half-way. But the only place where you can get away from Opportunity is to lie down and die. Opportunity does not trouble dead men, or dead ones who flatter themselves that they are alive.
- Elbert Hubbard, in The Philistine.
- I knock unbidden once at every gate—
If sleeping, wake—if feasting, rise before
I turn away—it is the hour of fate,
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death, but those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore,
I answer not, and I return no more.
- John J. Ingalls, Opportunity.
- They do me wrong who say I come no more,
When once I knock and fail to find you in;
For every day I stand outside your door
And bid you wait, and rise to fight and win.
- Judge Walter Malone, Opportunity.
- Not by appointment do we meet delight
Or joy; they heed not our expectancy;
But round some corner of the streets of life
They of a sudden greet us with a smile.
- Gerald Massey, Bridegroom of Beauty.
- Nostra sine auxilio fugiunt bona. Carpite florem.
- Our advantages fly away without aid. Pluck the flower.
- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 79.
- Casus ubique valet; semper tibi pendeat hamus.
Quo minime credas gurgite, piscis erit.
- Opportunity is ever worth expecting; let your hook be ever hanging ready. The fish will be in the pool where you least imagine it to be.
- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, Book III. 425.
- Oh! Who art thou so fast proceeding,
Ne'er glancing back thine eyes of flame?
Mark'd but by few, through earth I'm speeding,
And Opportunity's my name.
What form is that which scowls beside thee?
Repentance is the form you see:
Learn then, the fate may yet betide thee.
She seizes them who seize not me.
- Thomas Love Peacock, Love and Opportunity, in Headlong Hall. Imitated from Machiavelli's Capitolo dell' Occasione.
- He that would not when he might,
He shall not when he wolda.
- Thomas Percy, Reliques. The Baffled Knight.
- Occasio prima sui parte comosa, posteriore calva
Quam si occupasis, teneas elapsum
Non isse possit Jupiter reprehendre.
- Why hast thou hair upon thy brow?
To seize me by, when met.
Why is thy head then bald behind?
Because men wish in vain,
When I have run past on wingèd feet
To catch me e'er again.
- Occasio ægre offertur, facile amittitur.
- A good opportunity is seldom presented, and is easily lost.
- Syrus, Maxims.
- Deliberando sæpe perit occasio.
- The opportunity is often lost by deliberating.
- Syrus, Maxims.
- Crespe hà le chiome e d'oro,
E in quella guisa appunto,
Che Fortuna si pinge
Ha lunghi e folti in sulla fronte i crini;
Ma nuda hà poi la testa
Agli opposti confini.
- Torquato Tasso, Amore Fuggitivo. (See also Phædrus for translation).
- An opportunity well taken is the only weapon of advantage.
- John Udale, to the Earl of Essex (May 15, 1598).
- L'occasion de faire du mal se trouve cent fois par jour, et celle de faire du bien une fois dans l'année.
- The opportunity for doing mischief is found a hundred times a day, and of doing good once in a year.
- Voltaire, Zadig.
- Turning for them who pass, the common dust
Of servile opportunity to gold.
- William Wordsworth, Desultory Stanzas.