By sean Kernan
Feel better about your life is spreading out your skillsets and releasing your ego.
It’s easy to feel demoralized in a world where talent is hyper-visible. No matter how good you are at something, there’s a 13-year-old on YouTube who could totally own you at it.
Think you’re good at chess? Watch this blindfolded 13-year-old beat five adults at once. Think you’re good at piano? Here’s a one-armed tween playing Flight of the Bumblebee.
More than two decades ago, I was a lanky 15-year-old, warming the bench on my high school basketball team.
That summer, between seasons, I walked over to the military base and played with off-duty sailors. Many of them were standouts in high school and college. Many could still run like the wind and windmill dunk while wearing a backpack.
I suspect they eventually faced the tough reality that, unless you’re in the top .01% of a sport, you’ll need to get a regular job.
Seven basketball courts filled the huge industrial warehouse. Every time I stepped into the building, I was greeted by a crescendo of bouncing basketballs and shouts from varying distances.
The entrance to the building felt like a portal to another dimension. There wasn’t a single day where I didn’t see grown men shouting, screaming, or fist-fighting over a pickup game. You’d have thought one of them owed the other money that was long overdue.
It also wasn’t uncommon that I was the only white dude and, candidly, the least vertical guy on the court. I called myself “The Great White Nope”. Coordination, speed, ball awareness, were all absent from my athletic gifts. The only thing I had going for me was that I was tall.
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