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What Reality TV Program Taught Me About Competitiveness

Lately I have gotten the free time to watch some TV programmes other than the prime time news. I usually don’t spend much time watching TV in order to avoid excessive exposure to advertisement. Plus, I think life is worth much more to be experienced directly.

But having the chance of watching two reality tv programs has gotten me to think  about competition and being competitive. The two programs are related to singing and dancing and the followings are a few lessons I managed to pick from the programs:

1. Competition is the fiercest when entry level requirement is the easiest. The singing program draws a lot of people – talented and without talent – to try their luck. Almost every single person that can speak is able to sing. This easy requirement enables almost anyone to compete in the competition.

How this applies to us? If we decide to jump into a field that has a lot of competition, we have to apply the Pareto Principle and be the top 20 percents who dominates the field. We can’t afford to be just another cog in a giant machine. Become an irreplaceable linchpin instead.

2. Most people overestimate their talent and ability. And it leads them to attend an audition without adequate preparation. The end results? Comedy and disaster. It is the same like a man thinking he can last long in bed because he is good at masturbating.

How to avoid overestimating our talent and ability and not being too pessimisitic about our own talent?

Practise and feedback and putting ourselves in a simulation closest to the real thing. I always think I have a great voice when I sing in the bathroom. But I know I suck at singing when I put the microphone near to my mouth to sing. My voice coming out of the speaker is a form of feedback to me.

3. Delivering your best is the substitute to impressing others. The mode of thinking to deliver one’s best is an internally focused frame of mind which helps to put control in one’s hand. At the end of doing something, we ourselves know whether we have done our best or not. It also helps to not being too attached to the final outcome.

When we do things to impress others, we leave the final result in the hands of other person.

4. Gatekeepers are willing to bend the rules for you, if you are exceptional. In one of the program, the judges wanted to select only one group from a region to compete at the national level. But at one of the audition, there were two groups that were equally outstanding and in the end the judges decided both got to compete at the national level.

This ties back to point number 3 which is to deliver one’s best and become outstanding. Because if you are great, people are willing to get you in at whatever cost.

5. If you have art, ship it (credit to Seth Godin for this concept) - I am sure there are people sitting at home thinking that they can sing better than those participants but if they did not go to the audition, nobody knows they can sing.

Just like this piece of articles, I had it in my mind and if I decided not to share it, it stays there in my mind. But now it’s out in the world for everyone to read :-)

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