Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lessons from Susan Boyle

I've been thinking about Susan Boyle's video. It has been on YouTube for four days and it has 5.6 million hits, as of now. I'm sure by tomorrow it will be up to seven million, or more.

This amazing story takes place on England's version of American Idol. Britains Got Talent has Susan Boyle as one of their contestants. She has a dream to be a professional singer. Susan is 47, a bit overweight and not real attractive. She's never been married, never even been kissed. She cared for her sick mother for years. The audience clearly expects a poor performance.

Then she sings "I have a dream." They are stunned. Quickly everyone changes their opinion of her. She has a great voice, as good as any professional singer, maybe better than most.

By the end of the video it is clear Susan Boyle is extraordinary, and she will be a professional singer.

Don't judge a book by its cover.

In the buzz around the internet there are frequent mentions that we should be careful about being quick to judge. We shouldn't judge a book by its cover. And clearly this is a good lesson to learn from this event. Susan is not polished and comes across as an average person.

Yet there are other lessons here.

Go for your dream

Susan says she's been singing since she was twelve. It appears she has been scared to take serious steps to realize the dream. One article said that after her mother's death Susan finally got up the courage to take a risk and appear on Britains Got Talent.

I think many of us have great potential, yet we too often don't step into a scary spot. There are probably dozens more Susan Boyles in the UK, maybe hundreds, people who can have amazing voices, but will never be known.

We need to take risks and go for our dreams.

Support others in their dreams

We've watched the video of Susan singing a dozen times in our family. It has brought great joy. Baby Bop claps each time he hears her sing. Her voice has enriched our lives. Her story has renewed our hope in humanity.

Yet there are others who won't be successful because they have little or no support. They want someone to hold their hand when they step into the scary spot. They want to be reassured that it is OK to try, and maybe even fail at first.

We should help others take risks as they go for their dreams.

Teach our children to work for their dreams

People don't just walk onto a stage and belt out a perfect version of "I have a dream." There are years of preparation. Susan has been singing for 35 years. As parents one of the important lessons we can teach our children is to put in the effort to realize their dreams. Our society has a meme that it just takes luck to be successful. It is true that luck helps, but true success also takes year of hard work.

Technorati tags: Susan, Boyle, dreams, success


Christy O said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Our family has so enjoyed Susan's experience and wonderful voice. Your words are a good reminder.

Bookworm said...

Thank you so much for sharing about this. I had not watched the video yet, so I am glad you posted it. I just watched it and am in tears!

I love all the lessons that you've shared here. There all so true.

Thank you....thank you!

Henry Cate said...

I'm glad you both enjoyed the video.

Things like this help me remember to try to be creative in my own life and not to shy away from challenges. They also remind me to try to nurture these traits in my own children.