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A life of pleasant surprises

23 September 2009

Susan Boyle’s appearence on Britains Got Talent was one of the biggest surprise acts seen on the show. So amazing it also rated as a popular YouTube clip. Since her “fifteen minutes of fame” critics have been saying her musical talent is good, but ‘not great’. Never the less, what she was able to do on stage stunned the audience. But really, the question should be why. As the program’s name suggest, aren’t contestants meant to possess “talent”?

The reason that she “exceeded expectation” lies in the prejudging faces of not only the judges and the studio audience, but of ourselves too. Our expectation of her ability was much lower than she possessed. As Susan stood in front of the questioning judges, stumbling through her answers, a pan of the audience showed enough rolling eyes to suggest that her performace was not only going to be an embarrassment but also a disaster. The same pan across the studio 2 minutes later, once she had found rhythm and note showed the feeling and thoughts of everyone watching. To their credit, very honest judges compared their feelings pre and post performance. Admitting they found it hard to believe a voice was contained in her appearance.

Expectation is a funny thing in life. A steady ship and control is often what we look for and indeed minimizing unexpected surprises is a sense of comfort. But Susan Boyle, as suggested by the shocked smiles reminds us that life should be filled with unexpected joys. Are we more surprised by Boyle’s ability or that we had been caught off guard?

Those who live life solely on expectations live a life trapped within the mind. Those that release joys and anguish that comes with life’s many twists and turns experience a life through the heart.

Live a life of pleasant surprises.

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