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  • Writer's pictureJohn Selzer

Take a Chance on Me

Opportunity might knock, but it first needs a door.

Congratulations. You took a chance. A chance on me and on my little corner of the world wide web.

Unfortunately, though, I believe that the word “chance” itself is problematic. It implies risk or that luck is somehow involved. Chance better describes the Midway at the state fair (as in, "You have little chance of winning those rigged games.") Perhaps it is better to realign our thinking and instead embrace the concept of “opportunity”.

I am passionately involved with two non-profits: Educational First Steps (EFS) and the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). Spend a little time with me, and I am sure to regale you with the amazing impact of each organization – or to invite you to prison.

There is a common thread between these organizations: opportunity. EFS sets young children in low-income areas on a different trajectory through increased access to higher-quality education. Think of it as creating a strong foundation for a house yet to be built. PEP, on the other hand, relies on the adult participant to actively seize – and act upon – a new opportunity set through entrepreneurship. In each case, the power is with the individual to make the most of what is before them.

I believe the potential of opportunity is directly influenced by action. Failure to reach for the extended hand or to push open that door? Inaction. Make the leap and accept that huge new job, up and move to a new country, invest time or money in a fledgling startup or give someone a hand up? Action.

See, it is not risky to create opportunity. It is exciting. Exhilarating, even. The outcome might not always put another hash in the win column, but it is the very act of creating the opening itself that is fulfilling to the giver and greatly valued by the recipient. Unlike the failed promise of cold fusion, opportunity creates its own energy from within. It is a force in and of itself.

Most of us strives for that one shot. A break. An opening or an expression of belief that you are worth something more. An answer to our call of, “Give me that opportunity, and let me prove to you that you made the right choice.”

Opportunity is a gift. Give it freely.


A classic tune from one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, ABBA. The Swedish band took the world by storm, and dominated the charts from the mid-70s to the early-80s. Given that I did not really hit my musical stride until the mid- to late-80s, I much prefer the 1992 version of the song by Erasure.

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