Why Does The World Love An Underdog?

Susan BoyleUnless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt heard about Susan Boyle, the 47-year-old woman who became a media sensation after singing on Britain’s Got Talent.

It seems like she’s everybody’s darling, and the Susan Boyle bandwagon is almost full — with celebrities, non-celebrities, and even people, like peers of ours, that normally view this type of phenomenon with a critical eye.

And now people are up in arms because she’s gotten a makeover (including hair style and dye job, eyebrow shaping and a new wardrobe) that makes her look more her age, instead of 10-15 years older than she is.

Susan had acknowledged that she didn’t realize how “frumpy” she looked until she saw herself on TV, and that with the world watching her now, she wanted to look her best. But some people are intent on keeping her “frumpy”.

According to Toni Jones, assistant fashion editor from British tabloid The Sun, the paper’s readers want Susan to remain “one of us”… and the powers that be at Britain’s Got Talent want her to “look ordinary” and stay “real”.

Funny, because she looks pretty “real” to me now… and, yes, ordinary too.

There’s nothing wrong with that. But it seems the show actually wanted her to be beyond ordinary — because the more of an underdog they could make her out to be, the bigger sensation they would have on their hands.

Susan herself helped start the ball rolling by lacking a certain amount of drive and ambition, by choosing for many years to stay stuck in her comfort zone, and by deciding to think of herself as a victim.

But the TV producers played up on her low self-esteem on purpose.

Let’s take a closer look at why that might be, and what we can learn from it…

Yes, it’s true, the world loves an underdog.

And how dare I say she’s lacking drive and ambition, right?

Hey, I like proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover just as much as the next person. It’s always what’s on the inside that truly counts, and Susan has a beautiful singing voice.

So take that, all you people that judged her before she opened her mouth! Ha, she showed you! Right?

Well, what about the rest of the book’s content? Self-effacing humor, okay, that’s not bad… but what kind of example is she setting by saying that it’s okay to stay in your comfort zone, stuck in a rut?

That it’s alright to wait for opportunity to knock on your door instead of going out and getting what you want? Or that it’s okay to wait 35 years before sharing a talent, a beautiful gift, with the world?

One of the core secrets of success on any level is that you must give value to the Universe before you get anything back, and not playing the game is not an option, since it’s what we come here to do. Singing in the shower, or to your cat or your elderly mother, for years upon years, is just being stingy with the sharing of value.

And beyond that, if she really had such a strong dream to be a professional singer, why did she decide not to pursue it for so long?

What kind of limiting excuse is it that “nobody gave her a chance before”?

Come now, Susan…

Winners and go-getters don’t sit around waiting for somebody to come along and give them a chance. They go out and take that chance.

Alright, I know, she spent her own money ten years ago to cut a demo tape. But then she gave up after sending it out to just a few record companies and competitions, and gave the rest of the copies to her friends.

Well, that’s one step closer to giving more value to more people… but still not as far as a true super-achiever would go. There are hundreds and hundreds of record companies that she could have sent her demo to — just as most success stories start out with hundreds of rejections — if she really wanted the dream.

Super-achievers don’t let fear stand in their way, they face it head on and plough it over. They don’t care about the odds, they bend the odds in their favor.

Okay, I know what you’re likely thinking. “Susan couldn’t go out and pursue her dream, she was taking care of her mother,” or “Susan couldn’t do more than she did, because she has brain damage,” or “What do you expect? Susan is a victim of life!”

How about that her own mother encouraged her to follow through, get out of her comfort zone and get that dream — including trying out for Britain’s Got Talent, something Susan put off until after her mother passed on, calling it a “tribute” to her memory?

Well, what’s wrong with paying tribute to people while they’re still alive? I’m absolutely certain that this media phenomenon is something Susan’s mother would have enjoyed witnessing while she was here.

And what about the brain damage that occurred due to a lack of oxygen at birth? Well, obviously it was very slight, and hasn’t effected  her much. Her mother, who would have been the first to protect her if it was required (or even if it wasn’t required), knew it wasn’t a valid excuse.

Sure, Susan tried out for another talent show many years ago, and ended up too nervous to perform well. But again, winners never stop at one rejection… especially since she also had some small wins at local singing competitions under her belt.

And winners never think of themselves as victims. They think of themselves as survivors first, then thrivers. They think of themselves as victors.

Victimitis-thinking never got anyone anywhere, but further behind than where they started out.

No matter what has happened in this life, you can’t think of yourself as a victim unless you want to continue to be one.

That’s the most important thing to take away from this article, even if it makes you angry to hear it.

And if it does make you angry, chances are you’ve been thinking like a victim, too.

At least Susan’s finally stopped getting in her own way, and has started to think of herself as a victor now! Many people never do.

So now she’s making up for lost time, and working on her self-esteem by trying to look as good as she can, but people want to keep her down.

They don’t want her to look good; they don’t want her to improve. They want her to stay the same.

Seems the reason the world loves an underdog is not just because the underdog wins against all odds and shows everybody what they’re made of. It’s not just that people like to see others succeed in the face of adversity.

But it’s because they like to see others fail to an extent, they like to keep others on their level, and in fact, the underdog allows people to feel superior in some way.

Now it becomes not, “Oh, sure, she looks funny and frumpy, but listen how she can sing! How inspiring!” but, “Oh, sure, she can sing, but see how funny and frumpy she looks!”

The producers of Britain’s Got Talent know all this, of course, and want to milk it for all it’s worth. That’s why they specifically got shots of people laughing at Susan as she came out. It made a bigger impact when their faces changed as Susan began to sing.

Why have a wardrobe specialist suggest a more flattering dress? Why have a hair and makeup artist brush her frizzy hair when she looks more like an underdog with the Brillo-pad effect?

And why let their ratings cash cow work on improving her looks or her self in any way?

People will always gravitate towards their comfort zones, even when it means keeping other people in their comfort zones.

Breaking out of that rut is the way to make an impact in life.

Have you done it yet? Well, what are you waiting for?

Nobody’s going to give you a chance unless you ask for it.

Keep Unwrapping The Mysteries of Life!

Heather Vale Goss

Please note: Comments on this post are now CLOSED because the vast majority of comments coming in are DEstructive, while the post was written to be CONstructive.

There is nothing here against Susan Boyle personally, or her talent, or her looks; this post is simply meant to point out limiting patterns that she, as well as other people, have repeated — which always results in suffering. By the same token, recognizing these patterns can stop you, or anyone you love, from falling into the same traps, and spending your life WISHING you’d done it differently.

While the negative comments really just prove my point — that the world loves an underdog, and will rally around him or her, supporting and giving credence to any and all excuses for failure — many of them are really off the mark. They are full of emotional reaction, rather than thoughtful response to what I’ve written here. They personally attack me, when there are no attacks in the original post.

It seems that the people leaving these comments are mainly those who have found this page by searching the internet for Susan Boyle. In other words, they’re Susan fans, and hence they arrive here in a completely different mindset than the audience this post was originally written for.

That target audience is dedicated to personal development, and becoming super-achievers. They follow my husband, Barry Goss, and I at our company, LWL Worldwide. If that sounds like you, and you’d like to be part of our community, follow the links on our Life Without Limits blog.

If you’re a Susan fan who’s angry about what I wrote, here’s a suggestion: take a deep breath, and read it with an open mind. Listen to your heart. Do you feel any truth in what’s there? And more importantly, can you use it to make better choices, and achieve more in your own life?

If you choose to write a thoughtful comment, I may approve it, even if you don’t agree with me. There’s nothing wrong with debate, or even anger, if you express it in a healthy and mature way.

But if you just want to rant at me, and throw around some juvenile names, I’ll just have to say, “Move along, now… nothing to see here!” 😉

25 comments to “Why Does The World Love An Underdog?”
25 comments to “Why Does The World Love An Underdog?”
  1. Well Heather, she did leave her Comfort Zone even if on the late side – better late than never, no? 🙂 And I hate it too when the producers of Britain’s Got Talent and other folks want to keep her with the grumpy look on. She looks much better now and that’s what matters. She is now on her way to get what she always wanted – become a famous singer, and I wish her all the best 😉

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Umm… yeah, I think I said that! 😉

    Thanks for reinforcing my views.

  2. Heather,
    Since you have never looked frumpy or dumpy (at least to others), then you cannot judge how you would have behaved if you had to live with Susan’s looks. Methinks your confidence level would have been in the sewer too.
    Look at 99 percent of marketing guru promotions: the endorsements are made overwhelmingly by WASPish young gents who look like their testosterone and self-confidence levels are superb. They sell a greatness concept to wannabes who often have never received a word of honest encouragement.
    Napolean Hill said that an individual must have/develop sex appeal to be a resounding success. Yes, that is possible, but not easy to do. Most people don’t need products or systems half as much as they need self-confidence and self-esteem.
    That this lady got her moment in the spotlight rather late in life is inspiring. We like underdogs because most people feel detached from the Heather Vales, Mark Joyners and Brian Tracys of this world.
    Susan, like millions of others on this planet, go unnoticed although these millions have a universe of untapped talents and energies ready to be manifested.
    Paul Newman may have become a bagger at Costco, if he had looked like Alfred E. Newman. There are very few W.C. Fields – ugly – who make it to the top in our connected, superficial contemporary world.
    Many marketers unconsciously mock the majority of people in this world who come from dysfunctional families, never found a mentor in childhood (important!!) or were born just plain and hideous looking through no fault of their own.
    Winners do come from losers. Yet I believe a majority of online marketers look at the weak as a deficit to their bottom line. Internet Marketers – affiliate marketing JVers in particular – are just an extension of the cynical, elitist mindset of MLMers of yore. I was one of them. Over and over I heard and still hear in unsubtle tones: “Some will, some won’t, so what…next!”
    Paradigms shift but still there are always just a few who can rise while a majority sing the blues. Living the IM millionaire life means that you hang around with the beautiful people, including a few prodigies with such exceptional talent that others in the elite group will overlook their frumpiness.
    I hope Susan can win at the game of life while remembering her ugly roots. Such unlikely success people are exponentially more important to leveling the playing field than are super achievers such as Shawn Casey, Jay Abraham, Tony Robbins or Robert Kiyosaki.

    Richard Posner
    Tokorozawa City Japan

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Actually, Richard, I was a painfully shy and mousy child who cried every time I had to face people, and I had to do a lot of work to overcome my self-esteem issues. Nearly all achievers do that, whether it’s looks or some other mental stumbling block they need to overcome.

    And, funny enough, the internet marketing field is notoriously filled with people that wouldn’t necessarily be considered beautiful in any other industry (say, Hollywood) but who have become big successes in spite of their looks. Why? They have developed confidence!

    We can ALL look frumpy or dumpy when we decide to let ourselves be… and we can ALL look good if we decide to be (again, it starts with confidence, not the other way around).

    What you’re talking about is what we call an “entitlement mentality”, whereby people say that those who are “victims” in some way (perhaps poor, or a certain race, or disabled, or in this case, average-looking) deserve special treatment above and beyond everyone else.

    Well, let me tell you: we’re all equals, we all have strengths and weaknesses (some are more visible than others, but we all have them), and we all deserve the same treatment when it comes to getting a hand-up from life (and none of us deserve hand-outs, meaning something-for-nothing, despite all the millions who believe they do).

    By the way, after I worked on my self-esteem and my looks to be the best I could be, I found a new set of stumbling blocks — people always assumed I was an idiot because I was pretty.

    Susan had already worked on her self-esteem issues in terms of her voice, she just hadn’t gotten around to caring about her image. But it wasn’t her looks that held her back, because she could have gotten a hair cut and eyebrow shaping like in her new picture at any given time… and she was still taking baby steps in the meantime, she just kept giving up.

    So don’t judge people based on their looks, whether you have a limited belief that only “beautiful” people (by some set standard) can make it, or that “beautiful” people aren’t smart enough to make it, or any other belief that categorizes people based on how you perceive them to be.

    Self-esteem comes from the inside, but it’s helped by the outside — by what WE feel looks good, not what “everybody else” thinks. And that self-confidence comes in all shapes, sizes and looks.

    But the whole point of the article was that people shouldn’t keep others down to make themselves feel good… and the true heroes in life are those that take action — not just wait and wish — and give value to others rather than keeping it for themselves.

    And that ability to change the world for the better works best without excuses based on limiting beliefs, or victimitis-thinking.

  3. Heather, even though I can understand and even agree with some of your comments, I disagree with the whole thing about super achievers. I don’t know how much you know about this story, but she shares her voice every Sunday night in karaoke night at her hometown.

    We make a lot about the fact that Susan Boyle is ugly and frumpy and surprisingly talented. A lot of people are. What is success to you clearly is not the same for her. Achieving is all subjective. Maybe for Susan, being successful at one point was taking care of her mother and letting her hometown enjoy her beautiful voice. I know I am not the pretty girl I was when I was younger (I am 42 and for a while, I let myself go). But because I do have high self esteem, I am happy where I am. I gave all my energies to raising my daughter, and now I am going after conquering my little piece of heaven.

    It is as easy to manifest $100 as it is $1 million. That is true. And it is also as easy to define achievement by our own individual measure, whatever that is. I believe we are not in this world to judge what others’ idea of achievement is, and should just be happy to be able to enjoy them for who they are, makeover or not.

    As far as the company behind Britain’s Got Talent, aka, Simon, they are selling the dream. Sure, they are going to fear any change to the formula. But if you remember Paul Potts, he got a little makeover before the season ended, and he still won…and so did Britain’s got Talent.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Roxana, the definition of a super-achiever is someone who achieves their dream, or their vision; Susan has been clear that her dream has been to become a professional singer.

    Singing karaoke is not professional. Taking care of a mother who is ENCOURAGING her to pursue that dream, and yet STILL holding back, is not pursuing the dream.

    She is on her way NOW, but she’s been putting it off while waiting and wishing for the past 10 years because “nobody gave her a chance”.

    The point is that, if a super-achiever has a dream, they don’t wait for somebody to give them a chance — they take it.

    AND… we can all be super-achievers if we choose to be.

    We can also all be victims of circumstance if we choose to be.

    Susan once chose the latter… now she’s choosing the former, and if she chooses to also raise her self-esteem with a makeover, all the more power to her.

    But saying that she didn’t have a choice in how she looked before is just a cop-out (she obviously did), just like saying she didn’t have a choice to pursue the dream is a cop-out (she obviously did too).

  4. Heather, you are right with: “The point is that, if a super-achiever has a dream, they don’t wait for somebody to give them a chance — they take it…. AND… we can all be super-achievers if we choose to be.”

    It’s obvious that most of us are NOT Super Achievers. And the majority IS waiting to be given a chance. And, than – only very few are taking that chance when they have been given it… 😉 This is WHY most of the people who saw Susan B performing loved her voice and guts she showed with her frumpy looks.

  5. Heather,

    I read your article about Susan and, as I kept reading, I got angrier and angrier. You seem to have no empathy at all! You just keep spouting off your textbook definitions of success. Yes, you’re right, but the way you present it, point by point telling us how Susan was so wrong all those years even though she did what she could all along the way…your presentation is offensive!

    I don’t usually bother replying to editorials, but yours angered me so much, I just had to say something. I’m writing now in the heat of the moment, so I’m probably rambling and not building a good ‘rebutal’, but I don’t really care. I just want you to know how INSENSITIVE you sound!

    Susan has achieved so much and good for her that she had the wherewithall to hang in there. I didn’t know she paid for her own demo and sent it out; that’s amazing! But you downplay that and blow it off like it’s nothing!

    You should get another job!

    Susan Fan

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Hi Suzanne,

    I’d say your “angrier and angrier” and “offended” emotions probably clouded the true meaning of my post, so you didn’t get the core of the message… that’s what happens when we let emotions take charge over rational thinking.

    The article isn’t about putting Susan down. It’s about the fact that people want to keep her down, just when she’s finally getting out of her comfort zone and wanting to achieve something… something that she could have done years ago (and if she truly had the drive and ambition to be a professional singer, probably would have done years ago).

    But Susan has had a fear of success, like many people do, and she’s let that keep her down. Now she wants to move up, and others want to keep her down.

    My post is for people to learn from, so they can achieve the most they can, instead of falling into the same trap that Susan did. And, so that when they do decide to achieve something, they don’t let naysayers stop them.

    That’s why my blog’s overall theme is about “unwrapping the mysteries of life”… fear of success is one of the biggest mysteries there is, and the underdog phenomenon is another.

    Heather

  6. Wow Heather Goss! What a cold attitude you have! Go after your dream and if it doesn’t happen then you didn’t try hard enough.

    Everyone will know Susan Boyle’s name and she’s 47 – I’ve already forgot yours.

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Candy, it’s not about being cold… it’s about investigating the mysteries of life, including limiting patterns and beliefs that people have about themselves and others. That leads to the need people have to keep others small and “in their place”.

    The personal development community that subscribes to read what my husband and I write learns from posts like this, because we take a contrarian view to what the “average Joe” thinks and help them see their own blocks.

    This post is about people judging Susan unfairly when she wants to improve herself… and likewise, you’re judging me when I want to help others improve themselves.

    I’m looking at the ways people hold themselves back, AND want to hold others back… and you’re doing exactly that to me.

    So as it turns out, you’re the one who has the cold attitude (we call that the “mirror effect” in personal development).

    cheers
    Heather

  7. don’t love her because she’s an underdog. Love her because she has an incredible voice.

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    But the point is, people DO love her because she’s an underdog. The same voice in a prettier package would not have gotten the same reaction, which is why people got upset when she wanted to get a makeover.

  8. You are so right but you are also so wrong when writing about Susan Boyle and what she should have done. Susan obviously was held back by low self-esteem, fear, no money for many years. But she did succeed. She did it. Who’s to say it was too late. She did it when she was ready to do it. She has had a hard time with success. Not everybody loves to be the center of attention. They’re happy to get noticed but they don’t need to be on center stage all the time. Not everybody that has talent is a type A super-achiever. So let her be. You come across as a bit sanctimonious.

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Actually, Kathy, it is you who are “so wrong”… not about Susan, but about me and my article. It seems like you didn’t read it, but just skimmed it here and there, and assumed what the rest would be about. Like some of the other commenters, it comes across like you let your emotions lead your reaction.

    Yes, I agree that she was held back by low self-esteem and fear — and I already said as much. The criticism was towards producers who played up on that, and the average Joe and Jane who are still trying to keep Susan down when she’s finally ready to shine — like I said, they were up in arms because she got a makeover.

    I never said it was “too late” for anything; I said that acting like a victim, and choosing to stay stuck in a rut, will guarantee that someone doesn’t get anything they say they want, whether they “have a dream” or not. We make our own dreams come true.

    You say “She did it when she was ready to do it. She has had a hard time with success. Not everybody loves to be the center of attention. They’re happy to get noticed but they don’t need to be on center stage all the time.”

    But whooooah, Nelly! If that was the case, then why did she say it’s been her dream for years, but nobody gave her a chance before? That’s victimitis-thinking: that the world “owes you” something when you’re not willing to give value to others first.

    “Dreaming” and yet refusing to take steps to make that dream happen is one of the biggest problems in this world. It causes people to complain about what they haven’t gotten out of life, and it causes people to jump at others who point that out… which is what you’ve done to me.

    I made enough points in this article already to support what I’m saying here, and I even wrote several times what the “classic” or “standard” responses from people might be… which happen to be pretty close to what you’ve said above. So I don’t need to repeat all that; I’m just asking you to read the article next time, and absorb the spirit of what’s being said, before you comment.

    The bottom line is:

    1. If you’ve got a huge dream and you’re willing to stand in front of millions of people and say so, then be willing to go after that dream instead of feeling sorry that it never came true. Otherwise it just makes no sense to declare it.

    2. When you see someone finally going after their dream after many false starts, don’t condemn her for wanting to put her best foot forward, or try to keep her down, which is what the general public did when Susan got her makeover.

    Heather

  9. Okay I’ve seen Bill O’Reilly enough times to know that it is pointless to argue against a media host in their medium because they always get the first as well as the last word. However, against my better judgment, I’ll bite this time.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: I’m not a fan of O’Reilly, and I’m nothing like him, soo….

    Heather,
    I agree with the first and last part of your article and believe you hit the nail on the head when talking about why people want to keep Susan “frumpy” so she is more down to their level. You also did a good job of pointing out that it is our stupid insecurities that want to keep people in that state and that as a society we need to change this. However, the middle of your article is what I—and it seems like everyone else that has commented on this page—have a problem with.

    What’s funny is that you could have made the points you claim were your main points without sliding down into what is the middle of your article.

    As my grandfather would say, “Boyaah… Just ‘cuze the feeder’s on the other side of the pin don’t mean you got to walk through the wallow to get there.”
    But you chose to go make that detour and therefore showed us a severe lack of humility on your part. This then rightly, brought the wrath of your readership down upon you.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Actually, the commenters aren’t my “readership” — these seem to be mostly people searching for articles on Susan Boyle. In other words, they’re Susan Fans, and that’s why they get upset. My regular readers know that pointing out limiting patterns people have fallen into, and how they can be avoided and overcome, is what I and my husband do… because of that, very few of our regulars have commented here.

    Your article went wallow diving the moment you started berating Susan for her perceived “[lack of] drive and ambition” Instead of celebrating her success after so many years of hardship you too decided to try to drag her down beneath you because of her past weakness—as opposed to your apparent ability to conquer your own weakness so much sooner—and you continued to do so all throughout the rest of the article. This is a bit worse that the general public wanting to hold her at their level by keeping her “frumpy.” You managed to attack her, and everyone else that is not on top of life, enough that the only redeeming value the middle of your article has—a possibly motivational message to not “sit around waiting for somebody to come along and give [you] a chance…[but to] go out and take that chance”—was soon buried in the filth.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Actually, I celebrated her success AND said that if it had “always been her dream,” as she claimed — and if she’s going to take the stance that “nobody gave me a chance before” — then something’s got to change. The only way to achieve a dream is to take it, not wait for it to be handed to you.

    Instead you choose to focus on ideas that have been perverting the self-help new-age community for a long time and your audience knows this and pointed them out to you. First, is the idea that people are completely responsible for all the good or bad that happens to them. If this were the case then no baby would be born severely handicapped especially not with the knowledge that they are handicap.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Absolutely not, I’ve never made the assertion that we’re responsible for everything that happens in our lives. Check my post here for more on that:
    http://www.lwlworldwide.com/blog/are-you-a-responsibility-addict/

    I do not discount the positive benefits of acknowledging the behaviors one has that are detrimental to them or the idea that one must try to make the best out of the cards that are dealt to them. I will even go with the idea that positive thoughts and actions help make one’s life better and may possibly even attract things to them. However, the fact is that crap happens and blaming yourself for things that happen to you out of your control is not helpful and only places blame where it does not belong, keeping the person down even more.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: I’m also not a positive-thinking advocate. But I DO believe fully that if you’re going to act or talk like a victim, i.e. “Nobody gives me a chance,” or “It’s too hard,” then that’s exactly what you’re going to get. As for the “blame” part, read the above link I gave you. Some things are beyond our control, and some are not (for instance, our personal achievements are mostly not).

    The second myth is that only one’s self matters or that self-confidence comes from within and does not depend on anything or anyone else. This could not be farther form the truth. Yes, there is a certain amount of inner strength but psychologists will point out that people need other people to build that inner strength as well as strong support systems needed to maintain a healthy life and help them through stressful times.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Again, you’re arguing something that I never said. But I will say that we can certainly change or improve how we deal and communicate with those other people.

    Personally, I have lived in the wilderness off the land for a total of 6 months and among many other things I have learned that there is NO SUCH THING as a self-made person. We depend on others for our food, water and shelter as well as our emotional health to deny this is to be incredibly disrespectful to the people, plants, animals and systems that enabled you to get to where you are today.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Who denied it? However, “depend on” is pretty strong. We work in conjunction with others; it’s a symbiotic relationship (we rely on each other), not a one-way dependence.

    The only things that these two myths are good for is that is gives people—especially those on top—the belief that they are in no way responsible for, and thus completely immune to, the hardships that befall others. It gives them a convent excuse for not helping, feeling no sympathy or empathy, and allows them to believe that these things will not befall on them because they are better in some way—whether that means morally, physically, spirituality, intellectually, genetically, etc… they are all same, pick your deception.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Do you think one record producer who turned Susan down should feel “responsible” for her not achieving her dreams? What about the next? The world is FULL of success stories of people who were told “no” repeatedly but continued on because they believed in the power of their vision, and those are the people who can truly say they went after their dream.

    On a final note regarding you comment to Mr. Posner. Although we most certainly are equal in the fact that we are spiritual, human, and all deserve the same rights and treatment we are certainly not equal in the amount of benefits we have been blessed with. Yes, everyone has struggles but to say that everyone struggles equally is to be blind to the world. I guess it is easier to see in the extremes of the wild because those born with fewer blessings die quickly while with humans it is often slow, painful and hidden from view.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Sometimes it’s blessings, sometimes it’s tenacity. Sure, an animal with a broken leg won’t last long in the wild. But a runt with a fighting attitude certainly can!

    Yes, society needs to allow Susan to blossom the way see wants to without feeling that she is leaving us behind. Yes, there is a lot to be said about going forth and getting your goal. But It is not yours or anyone else’s to decide Susan’s value to creation before or after her transformation and you have no business berating anyone for their trials which you do not understand especially because you did not live with them. Having said that…
    Have a nice day.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: There was no berating, just lessons to learn. And the whole point comes down to whether you want to think like a victim, or go ahead and take control where you can. Susan could have done more, IF she had wanted to… and I’m not saying she should or shouldn’t have wanted to. But if she DID want to, then she dropped the ball a few times, and therefore can’t just say, “Nobody gave me a chance.” If she DIDN’T want to, then… well, it’s not accurate to say “it’s always been my dream.” Ya gotta make up your mind if you’re going to achieve anything, because you can’t just operate by sending out mixed signals… like, for instance, ending your critique with “Have a nice day.”

    P.S. There has never been any such thing as too pretty to be taken seriously. It just depends on how you present the beauty (elegantly, trashy, innocent, or ditsy/flirty) after the initial attraction factor has passed. Being ugly or deformed is a MUCH different story and brings a sense of initial repulsion that being pretty never has associated with it. There is no comparison between the two.

    [Heather’s REPLY]: Susan is far from ugly or deformed. She just chose to present herself in a frumpy way until she saw herself on TV, and decided she should spruce up her image. But in hindsight, she’s probably glad she did go with the original look, because it got her a lot of notoriety and fans… hence this article.

  10. Yes, Heather, your post does lean to the judgemental. Things happen in Diving Timing. Some people never give up, try and try and try, and never “make it”, because it was not the right path or not the right timing for them. It is now time for Susan. She did accomplish alot in her life. Caring for an aging parent is one of the highest achievements one can accomplish, and Susan did it. The world is now ready for Susan, and she gives us all inspiration. Our paths are all individual paths. We cannot judge what we may not understand in others. You are very good at writing, as you have gained posters who normally would not post, including me!

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Sandra, it’s not about judging, it’s about pointing out limiting patterns to help others achieve the most they can.

    “Divine timing” it may be, but that only happens in conjunction with what we DO. The world, and we as people, are neither entirely spiritual, nor entirely physical, so everything happens in a balance of the two.

    People may often try as much as Susan did and keep failing… HOWEVER, other people — for instance, Donald Trump — try a lot harder when they want something, and when they fail, they immediately turn it around into another success.

    It’s a different mindset, and that will greatly affect your ability to accomplish anything.

    There’s nothing wrong with waiting if you want to wait… but then you can’t use the excuse that “nobody ever gave me a chance.”

    Think what you will about him, but those words would NEVER come out of The Donald’s mouth… and he knows how to make things happen and get results (just one example off the top of my head).

    That slight shift in thinking can make all the difference in the world to someone as talented as Susan.

  11. I believe you misunderstood what was most important in Susan’s life. Although, her dream was to be a singer, I would imagine that her mother would have been the most important thing in her life during that time. And you’re wrong that we wouldn’t have loved that voice just as much coming from a Julie Andrews type (oh, wait..Julie does have a beautiful voice to). And one other thing, if Mike thinks “you are one hot babe,” then the poor guy sure needs glasses. Fairly attractive–yes. Pretty–no! Or maybe that’s just a bad picture of you here, but you sure wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. (At least not my crowd.) Sorry!

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Well, meeeowww! Sharpen your claws!

    If singing was truly her dream — and her mother was truly the most important thing — then her mother’s wishes for her to follow her dream would be of the utmost importance.

    Besides, her answer as to why she hadn’t pursued a singing career wasn’t, “I was taking care of my mother, which was dearly important to me,” it was, “Well, nobody ever gave me a chance before.”

    HUGE difference… the former would have meant that singing was secondary, and was now a new focus. That’s coming from a position of strength.

    The latter puts the strength into the hands of “other people”… it’s a position of weakness and victimitis.

    BTW, whoever said anything about Julie Andrews? She’s another one who has always depicted herself as an “average” type, especially in the roles she played, so it’s a strange example to pick. But if Susan had looked like Cindy Crawford, she wouldn’t have had the same people rooting for her. Otherwise, those people wouldn’t have gotten upset over her makeover.

  12. Heather
    I am concerned about your display of repetitive `pop’ psychology and assumtions about an individual’s motivations based on a very few pieces of this woman’s life. You fail to examine factors other than her apparent fear of achievement which is often a fear of failure. There are a number of social factors other than the internal ones you so enjoy talking about, that could have slowed Susan down and frustrated her ambitions.
    You emphasise her mother’s encouragement as proof of Susan’s lack of drive, but this is simplistic and none of us knows what her relationship with her mother.
    There is a phemonen where a dependent relative, frequently a mother), who, whilst apparently encouraging is also sending the message that she needs her `carer’ to stay by her side just in case she gets sick, or lonely, or whatever. This mixed message is bound to cause significant confusion.
    It is interesting that Susan Boyle made her move two years after her mother’s death.
    Another social issue is that, in many, if not all, families, members are assigned `roles’. The `leader’, the `flake’, the `carer’ for the aging parent/s are unsaid but all know that this is your slot and leave it at your peril. It is possible to surmise that the shy, plain, `baby’ of the family was slipped into a role that she did not choose but did not know how to leave.
    These are just a few alternative possibilities that might have influenced this woman’s life.
    Comments about the assumptions made by the judges of BGT’ should be a lesson to us all. They are just assumptions.

    Maybe it was just that she was in a part of the garden that didn’t get much light until now.
    Anyway, should we really care, Cinderella HAS gone to the ball and all is well in her garden now, and the album rocks!

  13. i dont know about y’all, but i thought that dress she wore on idol was cute. very 30s-40s style. old fashioned, but classic. i liked it.

  14. Regarding Heather’s Disparagement of Susan Boyle –

    Sour Grapes.

    Heather’s long, boorish tirade against Susan Boyle is nothing more than a common poison pen rant, and makes the author look jealous and stupid.

  15. Susan Boyle is such a star!!!!!!! Are you guys going to watch the Susan Boyle special on TV Guide Network tomorrow night? I was talking to some other Susan Boyle fans and they hadn’t heard about it so I wanted to make sure you guys knew! Make sure you tell your friends about it, because that’s the only place they’ll be able to see it in the US!

    http://www.tvguide.com/special/susan-boyle/

  16. I don’t believe she missed out on opportunity. She dedicated her life to taking care of her aging mother and then strangers from Blackburn’s Our Lady of Lourdes church. Doesn’t it seem like the karmic universe was waiting to reward her?

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    That’s a nice way of looking at it, and it worked out the best in the end. For instance, her record sales would probably not have been as good if she hadn’t gone through this whole underdog journey in front of the world, and her self-esteem wouldn’t have grown so much.

    However, too many people sadly “wait” for “karma” to reward them and end up disappointed. If someone has a talent or a gift (and we all do) I think they owe it to the Universe to share it.

  17. I believe Susan’s words, “Nobody ever gave me a chance before” .. modern society often reacts that way to women who are not conventionally attractive. Using Donald Trump as your example strengthens this argument, because it’s a man’s world since men typically do not have to have the looks, the brains, and the drive.. they make do with the brains and the drive alone. My husband jokes that I’ve made it as far as I have on good looks alone; not because I’m unintelligent, but because I had a knack for finding trouble, skating the edge, and bending rules. Supervisors tended to let my antics slide because I knew how to be charming. Conventionally good-looking women tend to be GIVEN more opportunities than the Susan Boyles of the world. Sad, but true.

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Yes, there’s some truth to what you say. There’s also truth in that often people don’t take a pretty woman (or even a very “pretty” guy) seriously. It seems like in the entertainment industry, looks are a huge plus (for both genders, unless it’s someone who makes a living as a character actor) but in the business world, average looks, or moderate good looks, are sometimes a benefit.

    In the end, no matter what we do, we’ll all be judged positively or negatively on our appearances, including Donald Trump (you must have heard comments about that hair!) No, it’s not fair. And they may be mostly fiction, but the music industry is full of that stereotypical story of an average-looking incredible singer laying down the tracks, and a beautiful but tone-deaf singer being the face of the words, lip-syncing their way to ultimate disaster (Milli Vanilli, the movie Singing in the Rain, and several other forgettable movies I’ve seen).

    However, my post wasn’t about stereotypes and biases (which would be about making excuses to fail)… it was about forging through roadblocks, and refusing to accept the stories others assign to us (which is about finding ways to win).

    Yes, it can be hard. And Susan probably blurted out the first thing that came to mind. BUT… it was at the core of what she thought, and that type of thinking conditions us to become victims, which almost always brings more suffering. The lesson is not to view ourselves that way… Susan could have bypassed years of frustration with a slightly different attitude, as we all can.

  18. Very interesting and thought provoking article and replies. Yes, I agree with you that Susan should be what she wants and if she sees herself as frumpy on TV and wants to improve her image and not be frumpy then she should. If she decides that being more “attractive” is not important to her then so be it. It just seems like you are also saying get some self-confidence or stop whining. Maybe some people are fortunate enough to have the type of life that enables and builds self confidence and some people don’t have that life and for whatever reason their self confidence is very low. I think sometimes it is not so easy to just “be” self confident and that is why we need to be tolerant and try to help people with lower self esteem. And that is why Susan Boyle was an underdog to me. How hard it must have been for “her” to go on that stage and face all those people and do it in spite of her low self confidence because I am sure that would have been hard even for your self confident high achievers. Her performance was amazing and brought a moment of shear joy to my life watching it.Even if the show had not played up the underdog angle her performance would have still been a showstopper. At the moment I see Susan Boyle as a beautiful fragile flower that I hope is cherished, protected and nourishied as she blooms and grows. I wish her well in her future struggles. I think Susan Boyle would have been a better example to use in explaining how important it is to foster self esteem but using her for an example in your article did generate alot of interest. Your choice to use her for your article might make a good article.

  19. PS- You commented that if someone has a gift or a talent they owe it to the universe to share it. When I heard Susan sing it felt like Christmas morning and I had just opened the best gift in the world. I didn”t feel like Susan had just paid her debt. I understood your underlying meaning but it felt like you took a feel good moment and threw mud at it.

  20. Some comments were emotional and defensive. Other comments while offering a diferent opinion then yours were, in my opinion, as well thought out and as well written as yours. Neither were “validated” (really enjoyed the short film and its message.Thank you for posting it).
    I believe your article was written with good intentions, to encourage people to not let others dictate their life and to believe in themselves and to examine how they treat others. And for doing that I say “Good for you!”.Those skills need to be taught and fostered when you are a child.And if you learn to persevere, to not plame others for you failures,to be confident in yourself and your talents then your chances of being sucessful and fullfilled are not guaranteed but are certainly much greater. How should society deal with those who can’t or don’t learn those lessons? I don’t believe everyone has the ability to knock doors down.I believe some people need to slowly and gradually walk through the door with encouragement and kindness from those people surrounding them and hopefully they will grow as a person and have confidence to live a more confident and in control life. With all the validation Susan Boyle is getting I hope that will help her to be a more self confident person and have a very fulfilling life. I hope she is emotionally ready for stardom and that the people around her are good people.Her lesson to the world might be to teach us to be tolerant, forgiving and not to judge.
    The replies to your article are an opportunity for you to reflect on others opinions as they have reflected on yours. I really did like your article even though I didn’t agree with all of it. I more enjoyed the comments and discussion afterwards. I normally hate to write and can never think of anything to say. Your article motivated a non-writer to write. I’m sure you could severly critique my writing skills but you wouldn’t be telling me anything I don’t already know.

  21. Heather, I agree with you on some points, such as the fact that people do love a good underdog and I too believe that it is ridiculous for people to want to hinder her desires of getting a makeover simply to make themselves feel better.

    However, I can not agree with the fact that she was playing the victim in her earlier years and that she could of become a professional singer years ago and it was her mistake in not pursing this. Clearly, she didn’t pursue it years ago and you seem to blame this on her “staying in her comfort zone” and “playing the victim role”. You don’t know if these reasons are correct and no amount of research could tell you. The only person who knows why Susan Boyle didn’t start her music career earlier is Susan Boyle herself. She could have a very legitimate reason, or it could be complete BS. But we may never know the real reason behind it, so who are we, or you, to speculate upon it?

  22. Maybe you are looking at Susan and what you feel as her obligation to share her talent from your own perspective. How can you judge anothers persons capacity for doing more without living in their circumstances for your life? Even then you cannot judge because each persons psychological and emotional make up is their own. She has no obligation to share her talent with the world. It is nice she has done it but really when and why not before now is really none of our business. It is Susan’s life just as your life is your own to do with whatever and when you want (of course with the exception of criminal activity and causing pain to others).

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