I have a confession to make.
While I don’t watch a lot of television, there is one program that I have a weakness for and I try to make sure that I don’t miss any episodes.
The program is America’s Got Talent.
Why would such a menagerie of talent (or lack of apparent talent) have such a magical appeal to me?
It’s because the contestants on this show, whether talented or seemingly not, put everything on the line to make their dream come true. Some risk embarrassment and humiliation to bring their dreams to fruition, laboring for years in relative obscurity before deciding to go for it.
How badly do they want it?
Let’s consider another program, Dragon’s Den, shown on CBC in Canada and on other networks around the world.
In the Consent & Release document for the CBC version that all participants must sign in advance, paragraph 9 is particularly revealing (emphasis added is mine):
I understand that I may reveal, and other parties may reveal, information about me that is of a personal, private, embarrassing or unfavourable nature, which information may be factual and/or fictional. I further understand that my appearance, depiction and/or portrayal in the Program may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavourable nature which may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation. I acknowledge and agree that Producer shall have the right to (a) include any or all such information and any or all such appearances, depictions or portrayals in the Program as edited by Producer in its sole discretion, and (b) to broadcast and otherwise exploit the Program containing any or all such information and any or all such appearances, depictions or portrayals in any manner whatsoever in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, or for any other purpose, throughout the universe in perpetuity.
In the business world, most of us would never sign a document with such a paragraph.
And yet, people following their dreams, putting everything on the line, happily sign this consent form because they believe in their dream.
The World Is Filled With Talent … But ….
I have been blessed to meet many people over the years with incredible passions, talents, insights and emotional involvement.
They clearly have a calling.
But for some reason, their calling is not making its way to a public manifestation that would inspire others or positively impact the world in some way.
The passion, energy and belief structure is not there that would help them overcome the fear or other sources of inhibition that holds them back and they never “go for it”. Their dream simmers inside them, aching to escape and see the world.
They are dying with their song still in them.
That’s a shame. The world would be a better place (and certainly a more interesting one) if they could launch their dream, not caring how they are perceived by the rest of the world.
The unfortunate thing I see in shows like America’s Got Talent, Dragon’s Den and similar program are the number of viewers who poke fun at the people we perceive to be less than talented and who appear to be making fools of themselves.
Instead of poking fun at them, we should applaud them for following their dream no matter how outrageous their dream seems to us.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we were driven as strongly and as passionately and if we could encourage others to be the same.
These participants have a gift that many of us could use a heftier dosage of.
It is the gift of courage to see a dream come true no matter what.
So the next time we accuse someone of making a fool of themselves for following their passion, we should ask ourselves this.
Who is the greater fool – the one who risks losing it all or the one who never goes for it at all (or worse, actively prevents or discourages others from going for it)?
The world is waiting for your gifts.
WHAT are you waiting for?
In service and servanthood.