Stuck and waiting; that’s what I thought too.

On Initiative — How’d I get stuck in a parking garage

I assume someone is working on my problem. Bad assumption.

I’m on my way to meet a friend for dinner. It’s a 15 minute drive but I hit traffic — in a parking garage.

The line is 15 cars long and it’s getting longer. I assume that someone is working on fixing the problem.

Ten minutes pass and I see brake lights from several cars ahead of me. No one is getting out of their car. I shut the car off and approach the lady at the gate who has been sitting there for a while. She’s blocking all the traffic from exiting.

“What’s the problem?” I ask.
“The machine is asking for $2 and it’s not taking my cash”.
“Use a credit card”
“It’s in the back seat and it was hard to reach for it” she says.
“Use my card, and I’ll take your $2 cash”.

She declines. She reaches in the back to grab her own card.

I get back in my car and the line is still not moving. Once again I approach the lady and she says the machine is not taking her card.

No one is getting out of their car.

I grab the red phone on the side of a wall and it connects me to an operator. I tell him to open the gate. The gate opens and traffic finally escapes the garage.

Wrong — No one is getting out of the car

If I didn’t get out of the car, I’m pretty sure we’d be waiting forever. Today I learned that taking initiative is not natural.

You assume that everyone around you is hustling and taking action. Wrong. Other people are assuming what I assumed: Someone else is taking care of the problem. That means no one is actually solving the problem.

It’s easy to do nothing rather than something.
It’s easy to think that guy over there is better because he’s in a suit.
It’s easy to overestimate a man’s title.

It’s inaccurate and it’s an illusion.

The individual who takes initiative is in the minority. That’s the reality. He knows he’s vulnerable and he’s okay with it.

No one is getting out of their car, amigo. It’s an illusion and it prevents you from doing work that you assume someone else is already doing. Don’t overthink; take the first step and start instead.