Editor’s Note:  This article was written in April 2011  but its message continues to be relevant today…..

I’ve gotten hooked on American Idols this season.  Judging by the ratings, I’m not alone.

I have watched the program in the past and loved the singers, but I grew weary listening to some of the negative comments made by the judges.  I sometimes felt the undue criticism was given only to make the program more controversial and drive up ratings.  It drove me away.

This year, the program is better than ever!  The judges have a great chemistry and you can tell they all truly care about the performers.  When there is any criticism, it’s always constructive.  You can tell that Randy, Jennifer and Steven truly want to bring the best out of the contestants.  And when you get down to it, don’t we all want everyone to do their best?  I know I do, so I am loving how the judges are drawing out the finest from the performers.

And these performers are fantastic!  After they got down to around the final 12 or so, I’ve not wanted anybody to leave – they all deserve to win!  And, as someone said one night, they are all “artists” – not just pop stars.  They represent all kinds of musical genres.

I’ve been thinking recently that the program offers some lessons for all of us…

Answering that internal call – each of us have something within us that pushes us to express ourselves in our own unique individual way.  It could be expressing creative talents like the “idols”, but it can also come out in so many other ways…teaching, writing, sewing, leading, working with your hands, programming computers, wiring buildings, parenting your children…and on and on.  We frequently feel frustration when we don’t answer the call.  We feel joy when we do.

Listen to the wisdom of others but also follow your heart – when presented with a choice, it’s sometimes easier to follow the lead of others.  It’s good to gain wisdom by listening to those who have gone ahead of us, just like the idols listen to the judges and their musical coaches.  But at some point, after taking in the guidance offered by those around us, we need to also listen and heed our internal compass.  Each of us has the ability to tap a wisdom that flows through us and offers us direction specifically for our lives.  Often the idols have chosen songs over the objections of their coaches and more often than not it turned out to be the right thing to do.  Watching someone follow their heart is a beautiful thing.

We are all here to raise each other up – just as I described how the judges on American Idol have truly shown an interest in drawing the best out of each artist, we can do the same with those around us.  I have loved how the idols obviously care about one another and are truly saddened each week when one has to leave due to the nature of the contest.  Similarly, we are surrounded by people who care for us just as we care for them.  We want the best for our loved this just as they desire the best for us.  Think about those you care about deeply – you want them to feel joy, happiness, love to express themselves to the highest of their capabilities.  We can all play a central role in the lives of one another, to call out the best in those around us, to encourage others to live their highest possible lives, to follow their dreams.

Every one of us is an “American Idol” wanting to live out our dreams.  Let’s all vote for each other to make it happen!

Mark Gilbert

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!