Is waiting to be chosen the right approach to take in life? Here are 8 pros and cons.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot more about the decision making process. I’ve been trying to buy a house lately, and it’s absolutely full on. I had some basic ideas on what’s involved, but I had no idea it was such a big emotional time, or that it would involve so much effort and energy. The ones to go for, the ones not to, the amount of your offer, the stipulations on your contract, just… ugh. Sometimes it’s a bit much. But it’s definitely all going to pay off in the end.
I’ve found myself comparing the experience of buying a house to a lot of other big decisions in life. The decision to settle down, the decision to study, the career you pick, the place of employment, the country you live in. All massive decisions to make. Because of my current mental state, I’ve been extremely attentive to when people discuss how they make decisions, and why.
And here’s a little line that gets thrown around a *lot* – “I’m just waiting to be chosen”. Or, “The right one will notice me”.
These lines are mainly in the context of relationships – even over the last 2 days, I’ve seen and remembered 13 separate people posting to Facebook something to that effect. It’s not just love though – it’s also people waiting to be chosen for “the right job”, or waiting for someone to pick them for a sporting or business venture, or even as a friend.
Something I like doing is weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of certain decisions, and I also like giving similar assessment to the approach we take. Because maybe the approach can be our bigger problem.
So here we go – 8 pros and cons of waiting to be chosen.
Pro #1: You don’t get hurt as much
This would be the largest reason people adopt this approach in life. Rejection sucks – no one likes it. To have your interest buffeted, or your offer looked over, or your application rejected – it’s very easy to take it personally and let it really wound you in ways you didn’t know you could hurt.
It’s a bit easier if everyone else is putting in their application to you. I envy the people who are selling their houses at the moment. They get to choose from some well laid out and explained choices, and pick one. Some people in other areas have the same experience where it’s always others giving them choices to pick from, rather than needing to explore them themselves. I imagine the pain levels are much lower. Rejection is a part of life, and there are ways to deal with it – not getting rejected in the first place probably minimizes the hurt the most.
Con #1: What if you don’t like what chooses you?
Here’s one I always laugh a little about, especially when it comes to relationships. Sometimes we can say, “The right one will recognize me”, or “I’ll be forced into the right option”. And what happens? Mr or Ms Interested comes along, or an interesting job opportunity on LinkedIn, or a proposal put forward by a friend or mentor, and we’ll say “ah no sorry that’s not it”. But I thought you said you’d be chosen by the right one…?
The problem with the “waiting to be chosen” approach to me is that it doesn’t spell out the full picture here, and most people never actually live out the full extent of what this statement says. You still have a choice. You still have things you like and don’t like. And if it’s all left up to what comes your way, you may not always get what you bargained for. You and I know it – that’s why we don’t always say yes to every opportunity. But if this is our approach to life, it’s even further limited by our reluctance to follow through.
Pro #2: You can set priorities
A good thing about the downtime in waiting is that you can set your priorities. Without too much of a time pressure or any other factors, you’re able to take all you need to work out what you want and where you’re going. That’s not a bad thing.
I think sometimes we throw ourselves off course by starting to move without taking the time to think about where we’re moving first. Sure, they say it’s easier to turn a moving ship, but it’s hard to correct course when you’ve been traveling down another road for 5 years. And it’s super frustrating being down a road you don’t see the point in taking.
Con #2: Maybe you won’t be able to sustain what comes your way
I always think of how athletes approach big events. Imagine if you saw a runner lying around every day. No training, no activity, no nothing. You ask them what they’re doing. “Ah the Olympics is in 4 years, I’m just waiting to be chosen for it”.
They’re probably not going to be chosen. And even if they are, they probably won’t be able to sustain the effort required to compete at that level.
I wonder if we’re waiting for something we aren’t preparing for. I think waiting is more of an active thing. Laziness never pays off. Farmers prepare for new seasons. I think we do well when we do the same.
Con #3: You miss opportunities that require effort
When it comes to buying a house, it’s very obvious that this is not a decision that can be made by sitting still. There’s the inspections, the letters of offer, the negotiation, the building and pest, the finances, the settlement, the rah rah rah. So many steps required to get there. I would never be able to accomplish this milestone by doing nothing.
I wonder how many other opportunities we miss because we don’t put in the effort required to win the day.
Pro #3: You may be presented with opportunities you hadn’t thought of
Sometimes in life we can get tunnel vision. Well, I want this this and this, by this year, then this and this, but not that, and this. This kind of girl, that kind of house, this kind of job, that kind of employer. And then in the looking – bam. Have you thought about this person? Have you considered you could use your talents to do this instead? Have you ever seen yourself here or there? Well, no I hadn’t, but I may have been presented an opportunity to do something I hadn’t considered.
Maybe some of those options we hadn’t thought about are better than the ones we have.
Con #4: A passive state means everyone else does all the work
I absolutely hate it, especially in a professional environment, when one or a few people are left chasing everyone else up to get a job done. Even with friends or relationships or anything else, it’s so difficult when someone is waiting for you to do all the work. They want this done for them, oh and the sun would be nice, and if you could add the moon that would be even better… but they want someone else to take care of all of it for them.
We’re not 8 years old any more.
I believe in dreams and in biding our time, but I think sometimes this attitude generates a spoilt sense of entitlement, rather than a graceful sense of gratitude and hard work. We turn into little primadonnas expecting the world to do everything for us. Life isn’t like that, and it’s really unfair to expect everyone else to take care of all our problems.
Usually when we have that attitude, we actually end up attracting people who also share that attitude. And then no one is caring for anyone. Not cool.
Con #5: You are already chosen
So many of us are waiting, watching, wishing. One day, he or she will notice me, and there’ll be rainbows. One day, the perfect employer will pick my resume out of the pile and give me the most amazing business opportunity of my life. One day one day one day. One day, I’ll be chosen.
The tragedy is that this viewpoint misses something endlessly important:
You are already chosen.
I think the very fact we’re alive is proof that we’re born with purpose in mind. Selected for greatness. Engineered for something bigger than ourselves.
To still be watching and waiting and never moving seems to squander the existence we’ve been given. Wasting the days looking out the window instead of going outside and getting in the game.
Many are called, but few live like it.
Okay, so in thinking about this, I actually had more cons than pros in my mind – I guess it’s kind of obvious which side I tend towards. For me, I feel like I want to be a participator, not a watcher. I want to be one who is active and wise with my life, and to be willing to make or go after opportunities, rather than continue waiting for one to fall into my lap.
How about you?
Do you see any pros or cons you really resonate with? Or are there any you disagree with, or maybe that I’ve missed? Share your thoughts.