Friday, March 10, 2006


I was not an American Idol fan. I don't have time for TV programs. With homeschooling my kids, writing, and involvement in the various organizations I belong to, who has time for TV? Especially reality TV. So, I've never watched a season of American Idol. That is until this season (okay, I watched season two about a year and a half after the fact, because my mother is a Clay Aiken superfan and taped the entire season and I had to see what all the fuss was about).

I have to say, that it's addictive and you start to root for these artists so much you don't want to see any of them kicked off.

My husband and I were discussing this morning how very indicative of life, this show is. Take the judges for instance. Randy loves music and knows the industry. His criticism is okay, but he's so close to the music that at times it seems he fails to give constructive criticism. Paula is an artist. She knows how difficult it is to perform and to be good each and every time. She's so nice that it's irriating. But I can understand where she's coming from. I find it challenging to critique other writers for the same reason. I've been where they are and I know what they're going through. I don't want to kill their creative spirit. But in doing that, I can fail to be an effective mentor and help the person grow. Now Simon. I hate to say it but he is mostly right. He is the guy with the money. He is only concerned with finding a person who is marketable. And he tells each artist the truth (as he sees it). He doesn't baby them. Doesn't try to protect their feelings. Doesn't give them false hope. Is he mean? Yes, lots of times he is, but reality isn't always wonderful, is it?

Coming back to real life. In each phase of our lives we can see these three "type" of people who will try to help us in their own way. In school, didn't you have some very nice teachers who just wanted you to be happy and love school, but didn't quite challenge you (Paula)? And how about the real jerk who forced you to re-write reports or took off points for just a tiny mathematical error? This was the one who forced you to improve, sometimes just to prove to them that they are wrong about you.

How about in your love life? When you dated a guy(or girl) that wasn't quite right for you, didn't you have friends who told you it would all work out no matter what, while others told you to dump him immediately. And a bunch who were in middle?

And I'm sure in your professional life, you've found the same thing.

The challenge seems to be in being able to listen to the differing opinions, and figure out who is being the most honest. Not who is trying to spare your feelings and not who is trying to hurt you, but who is speaking the most truth. Then alter your behavior just enough to improve yourself. And then trying again.

The reason my mom's Clay Aiken has been so successful, in my opinion, is because he took all the criticism that was valid and helpful and used it to make himself more marketable. And he ignored the dumb criticism about his looks. He focused on his assets -- his incredible voice.

So, I'm enjoying watching MY first season of American Idol. The competition, the striving to be the best, the lessons about learning not giving up -- it's all inspiring.

And I love to be inspired! Don't you?


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