I have to admit that I'm a huge fan of "American Idol". I love the idea of people pursuing their dreams and testing their talents in front of an audience. But more than that, I've discovered some life lessons (and even some about writing!) by watching the show.
1. Know who you are. The people who tend to win the show know who they are as an artist. They know the music they like to sing but they also know what their voice can do. They know what they want to do and where they want to go. They make purposeful choices based on that knowledge and don't let fads or whims dictate who they are.
2. Know what you are capable of, but push yourself beyond those boundaries. Playing it safe won't crown a singer as the winner. Those who take risks may see some failures, but by taking a chance they are more likely to reach a level of success those that play it safe won't see.
3. Listen to your judges, but don't let their words determine your worth. We all have critics in our lives, those who think we don't do everything at the best of our abilities. Winners are those who can listen to the advice, take it in but use what is true and reject the rest. Listening to everything will make you weaker by losing your sense of self. But ignoring all of it will leave you with a stagnant life where there is now growth.
4. Enjoy your successes but learn from your failures. Even the winners have off nights. The key to being a winner is that they didn't wallow and let those failures define them, but used what didn't work and came back better than before.
5. Being number one doesn't guarantee success. There have also been season winners that we don't hear from after their fifteen minutes of fame on the show. But names like Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Kellie Pickler, and Clay Aiken stand out for a reason. None of them won their seasons but they have gone on to achieve success of their own. Those who have made a career of music are those that followed the previous steps.
That's what I've learned from watching a television show. What life lessons (or writing) can you pass on?