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Four Things You Can Learn From Talent Competitions

agtWhenever you turn your television on, there’s a high probability that you’ll find a talent show playing. You can find a talent show for just about anything: from singing, to dancing; and from cooking, to modeling.

My two favorite talent shows are America’s Got Talent (AGT) and Britain’s Got Talent (BGT).

Although I watch these two shows because I find them very entertaining, I also like to watch them for the life lessons that they teach. In this post you’ll discover four life lessons you can learn from talent competitions. These lessons are the following:

  • Pursue Your Passion
  • Overcome Your Fear
  • It’s About How You Recover
  • Keep Trying Until You Make It

Each of these lessons is fully explained below.

Pursue Your Passion

The majority of the adults who come on AGT and BGT have a day job. They’re teachers, brick layers, miners, and so on. However, their day job is just a way to pay the bills. In addition to their day job, they each have a passion.

That passion might be doing magic, dancing hip hop, being a trapeze artist, tap dancing, and so on. And they haven’t given up on their passion. That’s why they’re on AGT or BGT.  Here are some examples:

  • Jonathan Allen is a Restaurant Host who loves to sing opera. He’s on Season 8 of AGT pursuing his dream of becoming an opera singer.
  • When she was young, Francine Lewis did impressions. However, she never got to the level that she wanted. Then she stopped doing impressions when she got pregnant, and she became a housewife. After being out of show business for many years, she decided to make a come-back on BGT. She said the following during her BGT interview: “I love being with my kids, I really do. But I wouldn’t die happy if I didn’t do what I feel I should be doing.”
  • Marty Brown is a carpenter from the state of Kentucky who wants to be a country singer. He’s on Season 8 of AGT with his guitar, singing away.

In fact, if you watch these talent shows you’ll see that the judges ask the contestants two questions:

  1. “What do you do?” (They’re asking about their current day job.)
  2. “What’s the dream?” (They’re asking about their true passion.)

Right now you may be working as a marketing executive, but your dream is to be the next Beyoncé.

If you haven’t found a way to make a living from your passion, you need a day job. However, in your spare time, do whatever you can in order to pursue your passion. Here’s Marty Brown during his audition:

Overcome Your Fear

Before the contestants on AGT and BGT go out on stage and start their auditions, the viewers at home get to watch a short interview with each of them. During the interview we get to hear some of the obstacles that they’ve had to overcome and the struggles that they’ve gone through.

Contestants share things such as the following:

  • “Both of my parents were alcoholics”.
  • “The kids at school made fun of me growing up because I was fat.”
  • “My parents kicked me out of the house when I was eighteen because I told them that I was gay”.
  • “I’ve always loved to sing, but my family told me that I would never make it as a singer.”

As a result of these events, most of the contestants are afraid. They’re afraid of not being good enough; they’re afraid of being rejected; they’re afraid of being buzzed by the judges; they’re afraid of being criticized; and so on.

However, the contestants manage to overcome their fears. They walk out onto the stage; they stand in front of the judges, the audience, and the TV cameras; and they perform. If you’re going to succeed in life–whatever success means to you–you have to feel the fear, and then do what needs to be done despite the fear.

One of the best examples of someone overcoming his fear in order to pursue his passion is Paul Potts. Paul was a mobile phone sales man from South Wales who auditioned for the First Season of BGT. During his interview, Paul said the following:

“By day, I sell mobile phones. But my dream is to spend my days doing what I feel that I was born to do. I’ve always wanted to sing as a career. Confidence has always been a difficult thing for me. I always find it a little bit difficult to be completely confident in myself.”

He went on to win BGT in 2007. Here’s his audition:

It’s About How You Recover

Ruby is nine years old, and she’s an amazing dancer (she dances with her ten-year old partner, Jonas). In the Eighth Season of AGT, during the second round of auditions–in Las Vegas–she slipped and fell during her dance number. When the judges asked her about the fall, she started crying.

Afterwards, her father–who’s also her dance coach– told her the following: “All dancers fall; it’s how you recover from the fall that counts. You have to recover like a professional.”

Of course, that advice doesn’t just apply to dancers. It doesn’t matter what the dream is that you’re trying to pursue; it’s almost a certainty that sooner or later, you’ll fall. The question is: “How will you recover from the fall?” Get back up and keep going.

Here’s Ruby:

Keep Trying Until You Make It

This year, a dance group from Hungary called “Attraction” won BGT. They do shadow theater. However, BGT wasn’t the first talent show that they participated in. They had already tried their luck on both the Hungarian and the German versions of BGT. Although they performed well on both previous shows, they failed to win.

Nonetheless, they didn’t give up. Their goal was to get the world recognition that comes from winning one of these talent shows. So, they kept trying. They kept trying until they made it. You can see their winning performance on BGT, below:


Take inspiration from the contestants of talent shows such as AGT and BGT: pursue your passion, overcome your fear, get up each time you fall, and keep trying until you make it.  Learn these lessons and live your best life.

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Related Posts:

1. How to Develop Your Character – Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues
2. How to Level Up In Life – Turn Your Life Into a Game
3. Motivate Yourself By Appealing to Your Intrinsic Motivation
4. The Three-Step Formula for Success

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