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Knock Knock

Knock, knock…Who’s there?

Orange…Orange who?

Orange you going to answer the door?

Ugh…I know how bad that sounds, but hang in there with me for just a minute and I promise to deliver something pretty special.

The knock-knock joke is perhaps the best-known format of a joke, the first one most of us have ever learned, and for the purpose of this lesson…it provides us with a brilliant example of a “call and response” exercise.

Call and response is a form of interaction between speaker and listener in which all of the statements (calls) are punctuated by expressions (responses) from the listener.

You may be surprised to learn that it was William Shakespeare who first penned the immortal “Knock, knock! Who’s there?” in his play Macbeth in Act 2, scene 3 written in 1611.

And, while you and I tend to associate a knock knock joke with humor, Shakespeare in this particular scene associated it with treason, murder, tension, anxiety and fear.


Lest you determine that I have finally stepped off the curb, here is how this relates to you.

There will NEVER be a day of your life that does not contain a series of call and response situations that you either rise to or fall from.

Your past, present and future have been and will always be the byproduct of your call and response interactions.

This might be a good place for an example or two…

  • When opportunity knocks / calls, do you respond with a warm embrace or cold resistance?
  • When problems arise / calls, do you respond with a solution or look for someone to blame.
  • When temptation presents itself / calls, do you respond by summoning strength or surrender to weakness.

The answer to each question is found by examining your behavior for the simple reason that behavior never lies.

Deep down, every human being knows that he is in this world just once, and that the best response to each call is the one that is positive, uplifting, and goal-affirming.

Intellectually, we all know it, but too many of us choose to hide that understanding like a bad conscience. Why?


Overall, people respond to life’s challenges by choosing fear over courage, and what they fear most are the troubles with which unconditional honesty and intellectual maturity would burden them with.

People hide their under-performing lives behind fear, and by doing so, they violate the greatest principle of all: the principle that every human being is is capable of GREATNESS…and that greatness, ultimately is a choice.

The fact is…fear is unworthy of your companionship, and you should never allow yourself to be associated with any emotion or response that compromises your potential.

If you’re ever going to find your greatness, you must decide that what you want is BIGGER and more important than the fear which prevents you from achieving it.

By doing so, you will always respond to each call and to every challenge with confidence, conviction, and certainty.

Everything Counts!

Gary Ryan Blair

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