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What Is the "American Idol" Mentality?

While promoting new album, Oceania, Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan tells KROQ in a recent interview his music in is a middle-ground. “I think we’ve broken into two cultures, and I would say there’s a lot of music that fits in the middle that’s not accounted for and I would say, essentially, we’re in that middle. On one side you have let’s call it the American Idol mentality which has permeated even alternative rock. You have a lot of robots with full sleeves and the faux hawks that don’t know who Henry Rollins is.”

So, what really is the “American Idol mentality”? Maybe it is generational but a shift has definitely occurred in the minds of consumers. We have forgotten this is a TV show meant to boost ratings for television. Since American Idol began, The X Factor, The Voice and many others have sprung up. All of these shows ‘find’ talent and yes, some people do become famous from the exposure. However, these tv shows have created a negative ‘instant success’ mentality. We are rarely shown the behind the scenes footage of lugging gear, training, training, lugging gear, playing shows, getting no sleep. And why not?? Because it doesn’t make a good story for TV! The rags to riches stories are always more glamorous. Otherwise Cinderella would not be the age-old story it is. In reality, the truth is that it takes a lot of hard work, determination, discipline and sacrifice.

What makes one person more successful than another? We all make excuses to address why we are not more successful. We say ‘I’m better than ______ ‘ (insert name of celebrity). “I’m smarter, better looking, more talented than _______.” But at the end of the day, that ‘celebrity’ put in the hours of hard work. Have you ever heard of the 10,000 hour rule? Malcolm Gladwell researched why some people become world-class and others do not. His book Outliers: The Story of Success states “This is a book about outliers, about men and women who do things that are out of the ordinary. Over the course of the chapters ahead, I’m going to introduce you to one kind of outlier after another: to geniuses, business tycoons, rock stars, and software programmers.” And what was the common factor? 10,000 hours. Yes, 10,000 of hard work can make you a master at your craft. Mr. Gladwell goes on to say, “so, let me reiterate: an expert is someone who has a level of mastery about a special skill or knowledge in a particular field. They are not the freakishly good. The world- class. The first-name-only celebrities. Those are the “outliers.” The “experts” are everyone else.”

Finally, there are a myriad of reasons we don’t achieve our goals in life. Who is keeping you from your dreams? It’s alright to have self-doubt, everyone does, JUST DON’T LISTEN TO IT. Silence those insecurities and get to work. Keep in mind the ‘instant success’ mentality is great for TV shows ratings, but working hard at your goal will pay off and get you to your dreams!

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