OPINION – Not so long ago on the British equivalent of American Idol, an unremarkable mobile phone salesman from Wales took to the stage. When asked what he’d be performing, he replied, “I’ve come to sing opera.”
Not surprisingly, there is a quiet but audible groan from the judges and audience as if to say, “Alright, let’s get this over with.”
The music started and to the astonishment of all, the man sang a flawless and heartfelt solo from Turandot. The judges and the audience could be seen catching their collective breath as mouths dropped open in amazement. Ultimately the audience came to its feet with many wiping away tears as the man’s magnificent performance ended.
Even Simon Cowell, best known for his wickedly sharp criticism of the contestants, was visibly and favorably moved by the singer’s amazing voice.
The incredible contrast between audience reactions before and after the man’s performance was striking, to say the least. Perhaps some of them felt a small pang of shame for so thoroughly misjudging an individual who had found his voice in a way that few others ever will.
The old truism about not judging a book by its cover could certainly be applied in this instance, but there’s also powerful lesson for those individuals who are in the process of finding their voice: do not give up.
Finding our voice may take a vocal form or our voice may be expressed in writing, in art, in music or even in actions. Once we’ve found our unique voice, it can have a far-reaching effect on the world around us.
Consider the example of composer George Frideric Handel, who suffered failure after crushing failure throughout his career. Facing the prospect of debtors’ prison and with struggling with his health, he received a small commission from a Dublin charity that gave him a project of composing music for a libretto about Christ.
Three weeks later Handel had found his voice in the incomparable oratorio Messiah, which continues to inspire audiences nearly 300 years later.
Another example of a gifted young woman who found her unique voice is that of Akiane, an artist and poet who started painting at age 6. To describe her artwork as visually stunning in its detail and insight is a huge understatement; like saying that St. George can get a bit warm in the summertime.
But rather than using her amazing talent as the springboard for self-aggrandizement, Akiane instead paints to promote faith in God, whom she credits as the source of her gifts.
Too often we tend to regard examples of those who’ve found their voice as exceptions to the rule. We refuse to believe that each of us has a unique voice of our own that could change the world around us. This perception would quickly disappear if we truly believed that seeds of genius are present within each of us regardless of our station in life.
We choose to focus on our deficiencies and what our critics are saying as an excuse for not seeking to find and use our voice. How many people do we know who, when describing themselves, start with the words, “I’m just a…” They haven’t yet caught a glimpse of their true greatness.
Perhaps Helen Keller felt that way as a blind and deaf individual. Still she became a powerful voice in her own simplicity when she said, “I long to do great and noble things but it is my destiny to do small things in a great and noble way.”
Small things done in great and noble ways change the world that is undeniably real to those whose lives they touch. Retiring Congressman Ron Paul, in his farewell address to Congress, openly admitted to having little measurable political influence during his 30-year career. But he is widely recognized—even by his opponents—as one of the most principled voices of freedom and prosperity in our time. The liberty movement he sparked continues to expand and enlighten, now under its own momentum.
Like making small but regular deposits in a savings account, the small things we do to find and utilize our unique voice will build into something of great value over time.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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