“No one's going to come knocking on your door. You've got to take the initiative.”

English Lesson: No one's going to come knocking on your door. You've got to take the initiative.

Your teenage son doesn't have a job. He seems depressed about it, but he hasn't been looking for a job very actively. You give him this advice.

No one's going to come knocking on your door. You've got to take the initiative.

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you've got to (do something)

"You've got to" is similar to "you need to". They're basically the same in meaning. However, "you've got to" is more common when talking about general qualities that you need in order to achieve a certain goal. For example:

Most importantly, you've got to be passionate about it.

If you want to get into an Ivy League school, you've got to have impeccable grades and an impressive list of accomplishments.

"You need to" is more common when you're actually telling the listener what they should do, right now.

You need to go talk to Mrs. Green about that.

You need to stop spending so much on entertainment and put some of that money toward your savings.

"You need to" also sound more angry.

No one's going to (do something)

People sometimes start sentences this way when giving someone advice. The advice is usually about working hard on your own and not waiting for others to help you.

No one's going to help you. You have to do it for yourself.

Success has to be earned. No one's going to do it for you.

(someone) comes knocking on your door

This phrase describes someone contacting you. They might literally come to your house and knock on your door, or they might contact you by phone, email, etc. People can "knock on your door" for positive or negative reasons.

It might seem like good fun, but one of these days, the police are going to come knocking on your door.

This isn't an everday expression. Use it when you want to sound especially interesting, like when you're giving someone advice. For normal situations, say that someone "contacted" you instead:

They contacted me to offer me a job.

(someone) takes the initiative

"Taking the initiative" means acting on your own, instead of only responding to other people.

You can "take the initiative" in situations like:

  • searching for jobs
  • making friends
  • finding new projects to do at work
  • asking someone out on a date

"Taking the initiative" is a really positive quality, so it's good when someone says:

You really took the initiative!