I’m sure our collective parents all collectively meant well when they collectively told us that we could “be anything we wanted to be” when we grew up.
Unfortunately, this is a lie. Or, at least, a big misunderstanding of the truth.
The truth is that we can’t be anything we want to be.
I call this American Idol Syndrome.
We’ve seen this over and over on Idol through the years — a good portion of these folks actually think they can sing and then are first, mortified, and second, heartbroken, when Simon mercilessly crushes their hopeful, ignorant spirits.
My question is: who told them to keep singing in the first place? And why? What good is that doing at all? It’s certainly not helped them, has it?
For some reason, the people who come and audition for Idol (assuming they don’t actually want five humiliating seconds on national television) have a terribly maladjusted view of themselves and what they’re good at. They don’t understand their own talent. And they don’t understand that just because we want to be a good __________ (fill in the blank), it doesn’t mean we CAN be.
I really enjoyed playing basketball growing up. I convinced my parents to install a hoop on the side of our shop and pave a nice chunk of concrete below it. I think we even painted some lines. But I am not exceptionally athletic, and the truth is, as much as I may have wanted to be an NBA star, some combination of my genetics and natural proclivities simply weren’t aligned to make it a possibility.
But as I’ve grown to know myself better, I’ve learned I would have never been happy doing that, even with all the money and fame in the world. Because the fascinating other side to this coin is that, deep down, we don’t really want to be just anything. Sometimes, we don’t even really want to be what we think we want. Our souls, inner beings, or whatever you want to call it, want to be exactly who we were made to be.
The trick for each of us is how to figure out who the heck that is.