I originally shared this post in 2011. The “what ifs” continue to taunt me. How about you?
I have a (now not so) secret love of reality television shows. I try not to watch too many of them because I get hooked every time. The thing that hooks me is the rise of the underdog story that prevails in every episode. Now I am not naive enough to think that all of this happens without the help of some gifted editor or director but schmaltzy as it may be it gets me every time.
On an opening episode of The Next Master Chef there were three or four contestants that I was routing for immediately. Each had their own version of down on their luck, or pulled themselves out of the rubble type story and this show was IT, their shot at something bigger and better for their lives. In addition to their less then stellar start in life each of these folks had an amazing humble attitude that just made you want to root for them.
Now I don’t know what the producers of these shows have to do to find these humble stars, Undercover Boss finds 4-5 of them in every episode, but the sheer prevalence leads me to believe that it isn’t as hard as it might seem. Which further leads me to believe that approaching life like the director of my own reality show might actually be an access for appreciating and discovering humility all around me.
If I assume that every day, among the people I meet, is at least one unsung hero and it is my job to notice,who knows what I might find. That guy on the corner selling strawberries. The neighbor I barely ever see. The disgruntled store clerk who doesn’t find my daughter’s “help” charming. The sweet woman who asked for my help reaching the top shelf in the grocery store. They are the people I see.
I rarely if ever give any of them more then a momentary thought as I navigate my day but what would happen if I looked for something more?
- Maybe the guy selling strawberries is 2000 miles from home, and he supports 10 people back home and it is his dream to move his entire family to the United States and open a restaurant.
- Perhaps, the neighbor has three jobs so he can pay his sister’s medical bills and help her kids through school.
- What if the disgruntled store clerk had a sick child at home who never had a chance to be a nuisance?
- Or the friendly woman was spending every penny she could scrape together to feed homeless people at her church?
The thing is we don’t really know do we? Why is it then, that we are so much more likely to think that neighbors we never see are “up to something” or street vendors are “trying to scam?.”
When push comes to shove it seems I am more likely to think less of people. I don’t always go so far as to think the worst, I am an optimist after all, but it is rare for me to walk around thinking the best possible of people. This is exactly why reality shows work for me. Yes, I am rooting for the underdog but even more significantly, a part of me is genuinely surprised by these people who, if I had bumped into while in the grocery store I NEVER would have guessed that they had great culinary skill, angelic voices, or even a huge heart of gold.
Case in point, this young fellow from Korea’s Got Talent, who’s video I shared last week on the Bliss Habits Facebook page. (Give yourself the gift of watching if you haven’t already.)
His humility is palpable. His talent is remarkable. However, if I had been walking by at nearly any point in his existence I would have missed both. My life lens just isn’t calibrated for this kind of magnificence. He would have been a dirty kid I may have worried about, possibly even have helped out with spare change or food if I thought it would help his “wretched existence.” I would not have guessed such grace and talent were hiding right in front of me.
As I write these words, I feel myself wishing for an aha moment in which I could change that. I want to be able to change my lens and see that magnificence in hiding as if playbills had already been printed. I don’t want to think that I may miss a diamond in the rough or slight an angel, or crush a flower before it blooms.
“What if ” can not go unanswered. These gem’s of potential ARE all around us! I have no choice but to believe we all have that innate potential.
- What if the next great voice is that stranger on the bus?
- What if the next great Chef is that guy from accounting?
- What if the next great invention will be designed by a friend?
- What if the next great artist was born this week.
- What if the next “exactly what the planet needs” came from ANYONE and maybe even you or me?