Taking responsibility is liberating
It seems natural for many of us to wait for someone to pick us. To ask a question in class. To go to a party. To get a job. Waiting patiently in-line. For many things we might wish to do, however, there is no need to wait to be picked. We can pick ourselves.
The Industrial Age was a time of scarcity, e.g. get into top university or the best office. We focused on ways to get picked, e.g. with good qualifications and working late at the office to impress the boss. The dynamics changed as the internet drove the cost of creating and distributing digital goods near to zero. The Long Tail was born. If we want to write, teach or sing then we can do that at minimal cost and share our work via free platforms. No one can stop us. Should we wish to make a living from our craft, 1000 True Fans considers the smallest viable audience.
Don’t wait to get picked
If I had to choose between my kids getting good grades and working on ambitious projects of their own, I'd pick the projects. - Paul Graham
It’s never been easier to decide to be responsible for your own work. Instead of waiting to be picked, we can pick ourselves. We can share something we believe in and see if others want to engage with us. Being accountable and not making excuses for inaction is both liberating and scary. The outcome is still in doubt, but we give ourselves a chance to make a difference.
Pieter Levels, one of My Top 5 Startup Teachers, was jobless, living with his parents and depressed. He challenged himself to launch 12 startups in 12 months. In the process, he setup his highly successful Nomad List business.
Ali Abdaal is the son of a single mother and immigrant to the UK. While practicing as an NHS doctor, he developed his side-hustle as a YouTuber. He now employs 20 people in his £4m per annum business.
For me, there is nothing quite like initiating and taking personal ownership of a project. This blog is one example. I struggled with English at school and, hence, to have hundreds of engaged readers is a source of great satisfaction for me.
Platforms and tools
I feel incredibly lucky to have so many powerful platforms and tools available which are inexpensive or free to use. Here are some:
Don’t Wait to Get Picked interview with Seth Godin
Pick Yourself and Responsibility post by Seth Godin
What is Your Problem? post by Phil Martin
I understand that one of the top regrets of the dying is not pursuing their dreams, but, rather, trying to live up to other people’s expectations. Until next Sunday, don’t wait to get picked; pick yourself.