Recently the internet has been a buzz. Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) sang the national anthem for the NBA All-Star game. Apparently it didn’t go very well. (I listened to a few seconds of it, but moved on.)

Here’s what I find so fascinating about moments like this — people go out of their way to make fun of her because of her bad performance. Musicians are the worst culprits.

If you are one of the folks who shared around the video and added your two cents of Fergie-bashing to the chorus, I have a few lessons for you:

Lesson #1: They didn’t ask you to sing the national anthem.

Whether you could sing it better than she can is irrelevant. She got the call. You didn’t. You can pick her performance apart until you’re blue in the face, but she must be doing something right.

Lesson #2: It’s easier to criticize someone else’s risk than to take one of your own.

When you bash a musician for her poor performance, you are simply telling yourself, “See? This is why you don’t take risks. Play it safe. Don’t step into the limelight, because you might screw up.”

You are now less prone to dream bigger, less prone to seek out a new opportunity. You are more likely to stay home in your PJ’s and watch the real risk-takers on TV.

Lesson #3: You are where you choose to be.

I need to lose around 55 pounds. I am intentionally overweight. Why? Because I’ve never accidentally eaten anything. (Stole that one from Zig Ziglar.)

Regardless of your feelings towards Fergie as a person or a musician, she is likely more famous than you. She is more famous than you not because of raw natural talent or even luck, but because she has made different decisions.

When I see someone “fail” publicly, I get excited. Why? It’s not because I relish in someone else’s failure. I get excited because I know that if I am willing to risk failure, I will likely succeed more often than not. Most people are far too scared to risk failing. They’d rather stay home and criticize.

For the people brave enough to risk, things start to happen.

So thank you, Fergie, for reminding me that it’s better to have risked and lost than to have never risked at all.

Joe Gilder
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