Just Say Great… May 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2219)

American Idol contestantThe contestants line up to offer their small-town, country-fair talent contest versions of popular songs in front of judges who have illustrious careers but still are looking for ways to create a bit more “sheen.”

And then it’s time for the critique.

We call it American Idol. But actually, it’s merely a few notches above the Rotary Club’s talent search at a local high school. And the critiques rarely offer any legitimate criticism.

Why? Because they can’t.

Between a booing audience, which thinks any offering of correction is mean-spirited, and the singers, themselves, who deflate like cheap balloons whenever anything is suggested that doesn’t end up with the affirmation, “you’re great,” the individuals who have been selected to move the show forward and find talented, excellent artists, are tied up and thrown into a corner and told to shut up.

We, as Americans, have become obsessed with our former greatness, which we insist is still intact. Every comment, suggestion, notion or even fresh idea has to be cushioned with the preface: “Of course, this isn’t any big deal. You’re already great. But maybe you might like to try something new.”

We seem to be almost comatose in the face of the reality that as of later this fall, for the first time in over 150 years, the economy of China will become the number one commerce in the world. Not since 1871 has the United States been eclipsed.

Yet if you offer this observation or even put forth the assertion that there is room for improvement, the masses will stare at you in disbelief and say, “You’re not saying we aren’t great, right?”

What I am saying is that greatness does not require praise, but rather, opportunity.

There are three cardinal principles located in the gospel I follow which launch a human being in the direction of success, enhanced by individuality:

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit.

It is the admission that I am not naturally good. Because I’m not. I want to cut corners. I would cheat if I could get away with it. I want to blame other people for my mistakes and I don’t want to hear criticism.

2. I am an unprofitable servant.

The message here is that even when I have done well, I need to realize that I am not naturally better. Better is something that comes my way when I admit my need, make adequate adjustments and receive the benefit of my repentance.

3. Go the second mile.

I am not naturally excellent, either. I have a tendency to spend my time asking an abundance of questions about what is necessary to fulfill the commitment instead of blowing past the competition and guaranteeing myself placement.

You know what the power is of going the second mile? You are a mile ahead. That means if you want to rest, slow down or push forward–getting further distance between you and the competition–you have that choice. No one is nipping at your heels and the only thing you have to compare to is the quality of your own work.

Shows like American Idol are frustrating, but also enlightening because they portray how far we’ve fallen from the pinnacle of passion.

Even though it seems to be popular to insist on being called “great” when you’ve barely shown up for the race and slid on your sneakers–please, don’t do that for me.

I will set a standard and if I find that standard is not up to the par of what is required, I will push myself joyously to escape the criticism that I know my spirit will not handle well.

Sooner or later America must understand that if we allow other nations to supersede us economically, they will gain a voice in our world which will control the spirituality and emotions of our planet–when they may not be worthy of such a calling.

We are still a nation that believes that all men are created equal.

But the purpose of that creation is to strive towards excellence, taking pride in the sweat of our brow instead of sitting around, waiting for the next affirming statement to our self-esteem.

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