It’s one of my favorite/most excruciating things to do this time of the year. Watching the Top 10 on So You Think You Can Dance. You get to see ten people with mad genius talent, doing performances directed and created by some of the best choreographers on earth. But it’s like going to see Titanic. You already know it doesn’t have a happy ending...
Sure one of those people is going to have a blissful finish. But nine others are guaranteed to lose. They’re not going to win the cash, magazine spread, or earn the title, “America’s Favorite Dancer.” During each show, I watch in euphoria, drinking in the brilliance. Then at the end of each show, I watch in anguish, as someone with breathtaking talent is eliminated.
Many of those eliminated will see getting sent home as evidence that they don’t have what it takes to make it in a career as a dancer. When of course, what they should really understand, is that simply making it that far, is proof they’re one of the most talented people in the world at what they do. Easily in the top two percent.
If I had a chance to speak with those finalists (or the ones on Idol, X Factor, The Voice, or other talent competition shows), there are some things I would want to tell them. I don’t have that chance, but I’m going to tell them to you. Because even though you’re probably not competing on a talent show in front of millions of people, you probably fall prey to some of the misconceptions, fear, and insecurities those contestants do.
First of all, let’s start with the premise that there is simply no objective way to quantify the best, most talented, or technically proficient contestant in a competition of dancing, singing, writing, acting, or pretty much any art form. It’s a totally individual, idiosyncratic and subjective opinion. Whether it’s a talent show like these, or the Emmy, Oscar, or Tony awards, there really is no definable determination of genius.
Sure we can measure by popularity. But the popular vote won’t actually reflect the measure of your popularity. If a contestant comes from L.A. or NYC, the locals are going to be too jaded or distracted to vote for them with ferocity. However, if a contestant comes from someplace like Mississippi, Wisconsin, or North Dakota, every newspaper, radio and television station in the state will be campaigning to drive up the vote total. If the producers do a special feature on another contestant and you’re not featured in a package, you’re at a disadvantage. If you cover a Fleetwood Mac song and Stevie Nicks sends out an Instagram post lauding it, your vote total spikes up.
So even a popular vote is not actually a scientific determination of popularity. And if you really believe in your artistry, the last thing you can concern yourself with is popularity.
A lot of votes will have nothing to do with talent or artistry. If there are two black guys, or two Asian ladies, or three teen heartthrobs in the finalists, they’re going to split the vote. If you’re gay or lesbian, or look like you might be, some will vote against you. The wrong haircut, funky tattoo, or ethnic last name, is going to cost you votes. People vote their fears and dreams, their prejudices and biases.
You can’t let voters like that (or anyone else) define you.
Talent will always win out. Travis Wall, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, and other amazing talent didn’t win their seasons, but they’ve gone on to have brilliant careers. Because they didn’t give up. How many others got eliminated from a show or competition and took that as a sign from the universe that that should get a degree and a “real job” to be safe?
Every time I write a new book I hope it’s going to be a bestseller, and so far they all have been. But it wouldn’t matter if they weren’t. Because the real person I write every book for is me. The writing process allows me to crystallize my thoughts and speak my truth. Right now, someone is probably tossing an old book of mine into a garbage bin, or selling it on eBay for 27 cents. Doesn’t matter. It’s still my truth.
I seek to get my books published because I want to share my truth and I’m hoping they will help other people accomplish the things they desire to do. But what they take from my books and how they apply it is entirely up to them. I write because that’s what writers do.
Please. Don’t define yourself by the opinions of the masses. Never give away your power by trusting other people to vote on living your dream. Most people are scuffling through their petty lives, desperately seeking approval from other empty vessels. You are not the amount of people who follow you on Twitter. You are not defined by how many people “like” your Instagram posts. The insiders, experts and “cool kids” don’t decide your real value. The only person who gets to make that vote is you.
The voting is now open on all carriers. You can vote up to 20 times per voting method. Message and data rates may apply.
Vote for yourself.
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