Every morning, the line of cars waiting to get onto the Hutchinson River Parkway exceeds 40. Of course, you don't have to patiently wait, you can drive down the center lane, passing all the civilized suckers and then, at the last moment, cut over.
Drivers hate this, and for good reason. The road is narrow, and your aggressive act didn't help anyone but you. You slowed down the cars in the lane behind you, and your selfish behavior merely made 40 other people wait.
This is a different act than the contribution someone makes when she sees that everyone is patiently waiting to enter a building through a single door. She walks past everyone and opens a second door. Now, with two doors open, things start moving again and she's certainly earned her place at the front of that second entrance.
Too often, we're persuaded that initiative and innovation and bypassing the status quo is some sort of line jumping, a selfish gaming of the zero sum game. Most of the time it's not. In fact, what you do when you solve an interesting problem is that you open a new door. Not only is that okay, I think it's actually a moral act.
Don't wait your turn if waiting your turn is leaving doors unopened.
- Seth Godin