Life is not Fair!
- Clara Shih
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The other day, Joel was having a conversation with a couple of our students who were contemplating whether or not to start competing. Of course, as past competitors ourselves, having thrived on the competition scene, Joel and I always encourage people to get into it. The problem is that more and more these days, we seem to come across people with so many reservations… How come???
It seems to me that people these days take competition way too seriously. They see the hardcore people who are practicing 6 days a week and taking regular private lessons once or twice a week, and feel that there’s no way they can compete against them. In all honestly, of course it is difficult to compete against people who have more time and financial resources than you do. It’s also difficult to compete with people who have other advantages, like natural talent and ability or a better ‘ballroom look’…
However, that’s the great thing about competition! Anyone can enter! Whether you’re tall, short, blonde, brunette, rich, poor, experienced or not … you can enter the competition nevertheless! It’s like the reality TV shows these days: So You Think You Can Dance or Canadian/American Idol. Anyone can participate, and anyone can have a truly rewarding experience from it! Remember Susan Boyle’s performance from Britain’s Got Talent? If even people like she, who don’t fit the mold, who are going up against all odds, can persevere and make people take notice, then so can you!
The judges out there are simply looking for the final product. Unlike your coach, they are not concerned with how much you practice; nor do they care about how many private lessons you’ve taken. What they care about is how well you dance and how genuine you look on the floor. My true belief is that anyone can prevail; even those with less resources and less natural advantages.
I know it’s hard when you’re faced with an uneven playing field. I’ve been there myself. Back when Joel and I were competing, Canada was one of the only countries that prohibited their Amateurs from teaching. In almost all other countries of the world, the Amateurs were making money to support their dancing, and could therefore afford to travel to the dancing hubs to take hundreds of lessons from top coaches around the world and participate in frequent large scale competitions. How could we compete when we were at such a disadvantage?
Let’s face it. There will always be someone out there who you may perceive to be more fortunate than you. They may have more money, more time, less responsibilities or more connections than you do. They may be at more of an advantage for a certain position at work or acceptance into a prestigious school. Nevertheless, we cannot let it discourage us. We just need to accept it and do our best with what we have available to us.
One thing that my dad taught me early on in my childhood is that ‘Life Is not Fair’. As kids, my brother and I used to love to cry out, ‘That’s not fair!!!”. My dad, being the realist that he is, would always respond by saying, ‘Life isn’t fair. Get used to it.’ Boy did he teach us! It sounded rather cold to me at the time, but it certainly has held true all these years. I quickly stopped complaining and started doing what I wanted to do.
So we can’t afford the number of lessons that everyone else is taking. So we can’t practice as much as our fellow competitors. Who cares? Let’s not let other people’s fortune dash our hopes of personal achievement. We can still do it! Perhaps we cannot get the frequency of lessons and practice that others have, but if we concentrate, focus, and do our best with what we have…who knows? Maybe we will become the next Susan Boyle… [By the way, if you haven’t seen the inspiring clip of Susan Boyle on Youtube yet, you have to go and see it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY]
Bottom line is: Life is not fair. But if you want to compete, just get out there! Do your best with what you’ve got and most importantly, have fun! Everyone loves to see people taking a chance and giving their best with an attitude that is positive and genuine. There’s nothing stopping you from getting on that dance floor, and when you do… I for one, will be certainly rooting for you! 🙂
Clara ShihAll stories by: Clara Shih
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