By DARREN LAU TOH FAI
One of the ‘rituals’ my family had when I was growing up was gathering around the television and watching the shows that my mother liked. One such show was American Idol.
There was just something about the chemistry between the judges and the participants’ stories that pulled us in, which is why we would always be excited whenever a new episode would premier on TV. We were just huge fans of the show.
Unfortunately, American Idol ended after 15 seasons. Thankfully in its place, shows like The Voice, America’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor rose to prominence. While it is true that these shows just provide platforms where participants showcase their talents, I gather six valuable life lessons from watching them.
1. Be passionate in the things you do
If you can’t figure out your purpose, then follow your passion. Your passion will lead you right into your purpose.
One of the main reasons why participants audition for these shows is because they love what they do and wish to carve a career out of it. I believe that this mindset is something crucial in order for a person to succeed in life. Sure, we could just work a typical nine-to-five desk job but if we are not passionate about it, would we really have the drive to keep working like that?
I’m not saying that we have to be passionate about everything we do, but if you’re doing something you love, or working for a cause you believe in, the sense of fulfillment from it will always motivate you.
2. Age is just a number
Numerous auditions from America’s Got Talent season 12 have gone viral, most notably the auditions of Celine Tam (9 years old), Angelica Hale (9) and Merrick Hanna (12). They are a testament that even though they may be young, they are impressively packed with powerful voices in the case of Tam and Hale, and amazing creative dance moves for Hanna.
Check out Hanna’s storytelling through his dance moves:
These children seem to have a really bright future ahead of them and who knows, they might end up emulating Grace Vanderwaal’s feat of winning America’s Got Talent at a tender age of 12.
3. We have to chase our dreams
If you were to ask children what their dreams are, chances are their eyes will light up and they will start talking to you about them animatedly. Chances are those dreams are almost imaginary, and as they grow up, those dreams start nailing them on the ground to become more realistic.
From wanting to become a spaceman or a superhero, our dreams are reduced to wanting to buy a better car or a bigger house. The thing is, dreams don’t have expiry dates. For example, Paul Zerdin got his big break by winning America’s Got Talent when he was 42 years old.
4. Don’t judge a book by its cover
We meet all sorts of people from different walks of life. Some may not look as ‘proper’ as others or conforming to society’s expectations, but there is always something you can learn from them. We should not discredit someone simply by judging the way they look.
In 2009, an unemployed 47-year-old Scottish woman auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. It was clear that the judges were not expecting to see much from her… until she started singing. The moment she did, jaws dropped. Today, she is the world famous Susan Boyle.
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It is indeed difficult for people not to judge others, so let’s be reminded to really get to know a person before jumping into conclusions.
5. Everyone has their own story
One of the more recent viral auditions that was shared on Facebook was the audition of Mandy Harvey, a deaf singer-songwriter. She lost her hearing when she was 18 due to a degenerative connective tissue disease. She had to use muscle memory and visual tuners in order to get back to doing the thing that she loved: singing.
Without wanting to spoil too much of her audition, suffice to say that it’s an inspirational audition about someone being given a bad card and dealing with it in the best way possible. It is definitely a recommended watch if you haven’t already.
6. Don’t be afraid of failures
We should not allow the fear of failure to cripple us in this journey of life. Instead we should use it to strengthen us. Without failure, there is no learning experiences. We would not be able to showcase our real talents if we are too afraid to fail.
Most of the time, we fail to realise our dreams not because we are incapable, but because we are too afraid of failure. So we conform to what society wishes for us to do instead of what we want to do. In order to succeed, we can’t let this happen.
Take, for example, the Hungarian dance group ‘Attraction’ that won Britain’s Got Talent in 2013. It wasn’t their first time participating in a talent show; they had already participated on both the Hungarian and German versions of the show. But they didn’t let the disappointment from not winning those shows stop them. Instead, it pushed them to come back stronger each time, and in the end, their efforts paid off when they succeeded in winning Britain’s Got Talent.
I believe that everyone has their own talents; we just have to find them and then nurture them. Don’t worry if you don’t know what is it yet. And even when you do find it, it won’t be a walk in the park to be the best in it. Just try again and again, and never give up. As Walt Disney once said:
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”