Winning isn’t everything.

I was watching THE X FACTOR today, I’m not proud of it, I just was; and I was trying to relate the career aspirations of the singers to my own as a scriptwriter. I know winning the competition will instantly put the victor at the top of the pile, it’s a huge boost into the music industry; but it’s not the only path. I found myself wondering what I’d do if I were in a similar competition as a scriptwriter.

Like the contestants, I have a belief in my ability, I have a passion for my chosen career and a drive to be successful. Like the contestants, I would love to win such a competition; but I can’t see myself focusing on it as the be all and end all. I keep plugging away at writing, convinced I will eventually achieve every goal I set myself; I try my hardest, if it’s not good enough, I pick myself up and try harder next time. Resilience and perserverence seem to be getting me where I want to go.

I may be wrong, I don’t watch the program regularly, but it seems to me that these people don’t think like that. They all act as if this one competition is the only route to the top. True, it’s a ladder from the bottom of the board to the winning square; but they don’t seem to realise they can also work their way around the board.

Few of them seem to be in bands already, or singing and performing on a regular basis. They seem to want success handed to them without all that tedious effort.

Great, don’t we all?

But the odds of winning the competition are very small, so why put all your eggs in one basket? Why not try as hard as you can anyway? Then, if you win, fantastic, you’re there; if you don’t, oh well, keep on plodding onwards and upwards. Losing a competition like THE X FACTOR isn’t the end of the game, it just means you have to play for a little longer.

The ones who don’t make it; why are they then rude to the judges? Do they genuinely think abusive behaviour and language will change their minds? If you believe in your talents, thank them for their comments, ask for any advice they might have, and move right along. Shouting and screaming just seems like burning your boats.

Say you are successful in the near future, you may need to work with the judges again; having called them names is unlikely to endear you to them. I’ve had offers of work from people who didn’t like the script I initially sent them; presumably on the grounds I showed some promise and didn’t abuse them for not recognising my “genius”.

If people knock you back, find out why they don’t like your work (not everyone thinks you’re as great as you know you are; doesn’t mean they’re right) and see if you can learn something. Be polite, you may find your detractors are willing to work with you the next time you meet. Above all, shrug, dust yourself off and press onwards. There are other ladders on the board, they may not reach all the way to the top; but every step is a step closer, regardless of how long the journey takes.

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