We have all seen those hilariously awkward episodes of American Idol when theatrically intense “singers” slaughter various pop tunes in the hopes of impressing the judges only to be turned away. It is these people’s reactions that serves as the icing on this cake; their incredulity at being told they aren’t good. GASP!
I have gotten some good chuckles out of instances such as these, but the more I watched the more they made me think. How do people get this way?
In Acquisitions for a publisher I see quite a few proposals from writers. There is a distinct flavor of this same inability to recognize faults and limitations in many of these as well. In general over-confidence and excessively high views of one’s own talent are rampant.
Where does this delusion come from? How do people get like this? More importantly and more personally, how do I help my children not be like this?
We need to find that balance between the rubbish of “you can do anything you set your mind to”, a recipe for crushed dreams, and being harshly critical dream crushers all by ourselves. I need to be a filter for my children, my wife, those close to me to help them see what they are bad at AND those things at which they are great.
There are few greater disservices than allowing or encouraging someone to believe they excel at something at which they don’t. You are being a part of, at the very least, wasted time and effort, and at the very worst a wasted life. There are few greater services than clear, pointed encouragement to pursue something at which someone is good or has the potential to be good.
When I see clips of those early-season American Idol tryouts, my thoughts go immediately to the family and friends of those horrendous failures. Because it is those family and friends who hold great responsibility in their embarrassment and failure. Just as we hold great responsibility for the successes and failures of those close to us. What direction are we encouraging them?