“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
― Albert Einstein
When I was a kid playing pick-up sports with my friends, it was always a big deal to get “picked” first. If you weren’t a team captain, you had to wait until one of the captains picked you. It was a decent system. Everybody got to be on a team, and the teams were balanced. But if you were picked first, then you knew that other kids respected your ability. It meant that members of the group valued you.
Sometimes, of course, a captain picked a close friend over a talented kid. Sometimes a captain just picked the tallest kid there (especially in basketball). It wasn’t a perfect system, but if you played hard and got better at the game, you might be the one picked first next time.
Waiting to get picked certainly exists outside of backyard sports. It’s only natural. We like the validation, and we get a euphoric feeling when we’re chosen. So, we wait, and we work a little, and we wait some more. But that problem doesn’t get solved because we weren’t picked to solve it. That book isn’t written, that app isn’t built, and that product isn’t sold because we didn’t get selected to do the job.
If you’re sitting around hoping someone will pick you, it’s probably going to be a long wait. But you don’t have to wait. You’re the captain of your own life, and you have all the tools you need. You don’t need permission. Go out and find an opportunity to contribute.