Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The X-Factor, My Cousin, and Risk Taking

This past weekend, my cousin Kristin auditioned for "The X-Factor."  Although in the end she was not selected, she gave her very best, was allowed to show off her immense talent, and walked away proud of herself.  She knew she had given her all and had earned the right to hold her head high.  She's already looking forward to her next major audition.

I watched as the whole thing unfolded on my Facebook page.  Regular updates from both Kristin and her sister Kassie allowed me to vicariously experience the excitement, the nervousness, the sheer joy of performing in front of an audience.  In the end, I wanted to stand up and give Kristin a standing ovation for having the sheer guts, the  faith in herself to do what so many are never able to do.  She took a huge risk.  Maybe she wasn't selected this time, but the confidence she gained and the desire to push on are priceless rewards.

Kristin with Tommy Tutone, one of the judges.
Photo courtesy of Kassie Moxon

Why am I posting about this on a blog primarily about writing?  Any talent-based venture, be it music, writing, dance, art... each begins by taking a risk.  By standing up and saying, "I can do this.  I want to do this."

The way I see it, success in these ventures can be broken down into just two primary pieces:  talent and perseverance.  Bicker all you want about how big the percentage is of each piece, but without both, there will be no success.

Although a lucky select few are born with a brilliant innate talent, many of us are able to take advantage of a single spark of talent, or the hint of a talent.  Over time, with practice and teaching from others who have gone before us, we are able to hone that talent and make it shine.  Change it into something that others also find valuable.

You can have all the talent in the world, but it is useless without the drive and the perseverance to deliver it.  You must show off this talent.  Let others see it.  Put it in front of their faces if you have to.  If you have something to sing, get up on that stage and sing it.  If you have something to say, post it where everyone can find it.  Artists, paint your hearts out and then show the world.  You will get "no."  It's inevitable.  But eventually, you will get "yes."  Take that first "yes" and make it work for you.  Let it snowball.

Today I applied for a writing position that some might consider above my head.  I have faith that, given the chance, I could rock this position.  And who cares?  I took the risk.  I'll take it again.  You remember what they say about the lottery, right?  You can't win if you don't buy a ticket.


  1. Sorry to hear your cousin didn't make it, but good for her for trying! And great post, Amelia. Taking risks certainly can be painful and full of failure, but they also can be fantastic and open up tremendous opportunities.

    I'm in a similar boat as you. I recently jumped on board a few projects that may seem bit over my head, but I know I can handle it. How, I have no idea yet, but I know when I dive into the work, I'll manage and make it work.

    Good luck to you. Hope you land that writing job!

    1. Thanks for reading Andrew! I always feel intimidated, but the moment I start writing, I'm just fine. I just need to remind myself of that in the lead up!

  2. Besides, taking risks ends up being a whole lot of fun.