Business Management

Are You an Open or Closed Door Person (And Why Does it Matter)?

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
126 Articles Written

An open door is a symbol for boundless opportunities, a chance to do something worthwhile, to make life count. It beckons to the great adventure of life.

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The big question is: What do we do with open doors when we come across them? Do we walk through them or do we stay in the house, where it’s comfortable?

I’ve found that my life evolves to greater heights only AFTER I decide to walk through open doors. Whenever I question, fear, postpone, or ignore the open doors, my life goes nowhere.

Recognizing Open Doors

With regard to making major life decisions, someone once told me that the issue is NOT that we don’t know what we should be doing. The problem is that we simply don’t do that which we know we should be doing.

I chatted with a well-paid accountant who told me that she loves teaching and really thinks she should be a teacher. In fact she was just recently asked to consider a full-time teaching position at a local community college.

Related: Opportunity is Everywhere: How I Found Deals While Running Errands

She’s felt like this for a while but has never acted on it. Why? Because she doesn’t know how to pay the bills being a teacher. She doesn’t know how life would work with her being a teacher.

Closed Door Thinking

Closed-door thinking is characterized by fear, procrastination, wanting something and doing another thing, and an overwhelming desire to stay safe. I think that closed-door thinking is the most dangerous thinking of all because it leaves greatness on the other side of the door. It keeps us from living to our fullest potential.

Open Door Thinking

Here are some characteristics of open-door people.

Open Door People Embrace Challenge

The issue for most people is that they fear change in general and challenges in particular. Challenges push you beyond your comfort zone and you risk failure.

Open-door people welcome challenge because they see it as a growth opportunity. You can’t grow without stretching yourself.

Open Door People Act Without Being Fully Prepared

We want to know what’s behind the door before we step through it. We want to be fully prepared.

As we were expecting our first child, a friend of mine asked, “Are you ready for fatherhood?” My immediate response was, “Absolutely not!” Yes, I read some books and attended a class, but ask me if I felt ready to parent a newborn life into adulthood? Are you kidding? If we felt we needed to be absolutely ready to be a parent, none of us would be parents!

It’s the same thing with open doors: we can never be fully prepared before we step through the door.

I've met countless real estate investors who attend class after class but never actually implement anything they've learned. It's not that the system they're learning doesn't work, it's that they feel they're not fully prepared to take action.

And that’s a big mistake.

The truth is that even the most successful people were never fully prepared when they first started doing whatever brought them to success today.

Open Door People Don’t Wait for the Perfect Open Door

The perfect opportunity doesn’t exist. If you wait for the stars to align perfectly, you will never do anything.

I would say NO deal I’ve done was perfect. There was always at least one thing I didn’t like about the deal. Had I waited for the perfect deal, I wouldn’t have done a single one.

People tell me they’ll get started with apartment building investing once they have enough money saved up. When they get a raise. When their kids graduate from college.


Open doors are rarely perfect. See door. Walk through it.

Open Door People are Unhindered by Uncertainty

When we face an open door, we want to know for sure what’s behind it. We want to know ahead of time. But of course we never know. If we knew in advance what we were getting into, we probably wouldn’t get into it in the first place.

Related: How to Use Positive Triggers to Be a More Productive Investor

I’ve had some challenges in my entrepreneurial ventures, some that even cost me lots of money and emotional distress. Had someone sat me down and told me about all of the trials and tribulations I would face, I probably never would have started.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

It’s not that open door people LIKE uncertainty; they’re just not paralyzed by it.


Open doors are the gateway to the great adventure of life, but they can also be scary. Develop an open door mindset by acting without being fully prepared, embracing challenges, not waiting for the perfect opportunity (because it doesn’t exist), and not being paralyzed by uncertainty.

I believe this is a skill you can develop. Start with a small door. Just walk through it and see what happens. Then keep it doing it again and again. I guarantee your life will never be the same.

What open door are you facing at the moment?

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment buildi...
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    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great way of thinking about investing and about life. The great thing is that when you open the door, then you can see all kinds of possibilities that were not visible from outside. You may not even end up where you thought that door would take you, but somewhere even better. There may be people who will help you and travel with you on the other side of that door, but you don’t meet them unless you open the door. Also, sometimes a door gets closed, but a window opens!
    Joel Whitlock from South Bend, Indiana
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great insight Mr. Blank. People ask me all the time how my wife and I have four boys (under 6), and manage the yearly military deployments over the last 5 years. The answer, besides “by God’s Grace”, is ” I have no clue how we do it, more actually how she does it. And I probably never would have chosen our life if I had known everything that has come. I probably never would have had any kids had I known the difficult things, but I also never would have known the pure joy that makes up for it exponentially. I busted through the door of REI this last week, and got my first two duplexes under contract. All I could think about while sitting at the table on the first deal was “I have no F*$#ing clue what I’m doing.” But here is to the trials of adventure and the joy that comes with it.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Congrats on that duplex Joel …!
    Red Brown Real Estate Investor from Pryor, Oklahoma
    Replied over 5 years ago
    At times I have had to go a step further and figure out how to make a door first to open. The challenge is the best part!
    Thang Cao from Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for writing…
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Appreciate this article. My mindset was CLOSED DOOR until some 2-weeks ago. I contracted a LinkedIn marketing consultant… and expanded my mindset from 23 connections to 700+ … within 2-weeks… well on my way to exceeding 1,000… and then utilizing a smart LinkedIn marketing campaign. Learning to use Twitter is coming next. Conversions and meeting good people is gonna be fun!
    Rachael Collins Investor from Frazier Park, California
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for this Michael, It can be so easy to say you will do something when you feel completely prepared. Which you never are. Kids are the perfect example and when I think of the magnitude of we have to learn on the fly as they grow, taking risks with REI seems like peanuts in comparison. Great post!!
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks Rachael!
    David Pickard Rental Property Investor from Bloomfield, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great eye opening and motivating post. Thank you for sharing.