The secret to having a great visit at Disneyland is to go on a day when it’s not crowded. Show up when it’s packed and you’ll spend more time waiting in line than doing anything else. But arrive on a day when Mickey and friends are serving a fraction of their total capacity and you’ll get more rides per hour, more bang for your buck, and more fun per single visit. You’ll still need to make the effort and the rounds—the fun isn’t just going to come to you. But when there’s nothing stopping you from zooming through Space Mountain one more time, why not take the ride? The small crowd makes that possible.
Some of the most appealing pursuits in high school are crowded (which in many cases is exactly what makes them appealing in the first place). The club everyone seems to join. The class everyone wants to take. The college everyone else wants to attend. The crowds make it harder to avail yourself of what they have to offer. You either can’t get in at all or you manage to get in only to compete with a large crowd for all the opportunities. If you’ve identified something you really want to do, don’t avoid it just because of crowds or competition. But if an alternative could suffice, maybe it should?
Why not join a club that’s just begging for someone to lead and make an impact?
Why not learn that class’s material a different way, like through an online course, a community college, or a self-directed study?
Why not find some colleges that may not be as famous but still present the same offerings and opportunities that drew you to the crowded one? (There are plenty of them—trust me.)
The more opportunity you have to initiate, to lead, to solve problems, to make an impact, to make a difference, and to enact positive change, the more you’ll get out of whatever you’re choosing to do. And those opportunities are often a lot more readily available when you avoid the crowds.