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What Can American Idol Teach Us?

I'll start with the premise, and whether you agree with it or not, hear me out. My premise is that whatever happens in the world in front of me is symbolic of what is going on inside of me. If I see someone who is mean to another it is a symbolic reminder of the meanness that I may feel toward others and myself, and it is something for me to improve upon within myself. It does not matter if I know the people involved or not, it only matters that I have seen this and it has affected me. On the other hand, if I see a beautiful sunset and enjoy it, it is a reflection of the beauty and joy within me.

I'd say about five years ago I started to watch American Idol though my first two years was quite sporadic. The third year I watched almost the entire season from beginning to end and have continued to do so each year. Let’s be clear, I am not the singer that anyone else would want to hear! My singing will be confined to home when no one else is around. Yet I found the comments and suggestions of the judges to the contestants could be quite uplifting, insightful, and useful in many spheres of life not just singing.

I watched as the contestants moved through the process of the Idol eliminations and could see the growth in their performances. I found myself inspired. I’d take the judges advice and apply it to my life and my work. The judges touch on many areas, work ethic and the need to believe in themselves is common; but most often it’s about the singers finding their most authentic selves so that they can connect with the audience. When contestants are able to get that combination right they soar, advance, and grow confident.

I was thinking about American Idol the other day and wondered how it would work with my initial premise – what is happening outside of me and affects me is symbolic of what is happening inside of me.

If I could step outside of myself then I should be able to see an overall growth and confidence. I should be able to look at my work ethic and see if it is working. Belief in myself would allow setbacks that appear to be viewed as temporary and as learning tools. And finding my authentic self would happen each time I stood in front of anyone – they would represent my audience and could be one or one hundred.

Like the Idol contestants who were not deemed right for the purpose of the show and eliminated, my outside self would see the relevance of eliminations in my life. I would have eliminated the parts of me that did not serve my purpose. That would leave me time to concentrate on what mattered and to work on my weaker areas.

American Idol was a practice run. Can I now look about my life in a little more detail and see if this premise works in other areas? Maybe the bigger question is, “Do I want to?” Do I really want to look at all the seemingly bad things going on in the world, outside of me, and know that the very same thing is happening inside of me? Yet there is much to celebrate in the world too and I think I’ll take the negative aspects as the parts that either need to be eliminated or worked on.

The American Idols who find the right combination of work, belief and the authentic self sing so well that the connection with the audience is inevitable. And the audience loves it! When you or I find the right mix in our own lives we benefit not just ourselves but expand the greater good for everyone we interact with bringing light and joy.

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