Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kelly Osbourne on Dancing

Several years ago my wife suggested that we watch an episode of Dancing with the Stars. Reluctantly I agreed and I was quickly hooked on the show. Though I am not a fan of dancing, I found the graceful elegance of a waltz enjoyable, the sensuality of a tango mesmerizing, and the fun of a quick-step a pure delight.

It also became clear that the celebrities were way out of their comfort zone. Many had never danced before, and with few exceptions, they reveled in challenging themselves and competing against their fellow stars. Combined with the benevolence of the judges and hosts, the show has been a source of inspiration and enjoyment.

Another benefit of the show is getting to know some of the celebrities a little better. Rodeo star Ty Murray for example, was virtually unknown to me prior to his appearance on the show. Though he was clearly more comfortable sitting on a bucking bronco than dancing on live television, his conscientious effort to improve was fun to witness.

This season's great surprise has been Kelly Osbourne, the daughter of Ozzy. I knew little of her before this season, and what I did know was not favorable. I saw her as a rebellious brat, driven by whims. And for the first portion of the season my initial impression was confirmed.

In many of the first shows Kelly regularly whined about the difficulty of dancing, complained about various minor issues, and seemed destined to be quickly booted off of the show. She exhibited virtually no self-confidence. Yet somehow she managed to escape elimination (perhaps because of her fan base--viewer voting counts for half of the contestant's score).

And then something remarkable happened. As the season progressed Kelly became a very competent dancer, and in the process her self-confidence began to improve. Her somber, morose demeanor gave way to a cheerful expression. And she verbalized this transformation numerous times, stating that she has learned that hard work and persistence can create amazing results.

Her realizations are certainly not a news flash for many people. But to see her come to this understanding, and explicitly state it on national television, has truly been inspiring.

Several philosophical points are worth noting:
  • Kelly has demonstrated a focus on reality, both in her training and in her assessment of herself. As her long hours of training began to bear favorable results, she objectively re-evaluated her self-image. She recognized that she was getting better (and surprisingly so). She realized that she could achieve values, even when they seemed immensely difficult.
  • Kelly has shown us free will in action. Rather than simply accept herself as she was and complain about being a dumpy, talentless young woman, she recognized that she was making choices. She took responsibility for those choices, and in doing so, began to make better decisions.
  • Perhaps most importantly, Kelly has allowed us to witness the achievement of values. The struggle to improve her skills, the dedication required, and the pride that she has earned are all worthy of admiration.
Kelly has made the finals, and while I doubt that she will win, her success is a victory. She has overcome her own doubts and insecurities. She has proven to herself--and everyone who has followed the show--that we create our own character. She has demonstrated that we can become a better person.


Rational Education said...

Loved the post (can't find the adequate words so I will limit it to that).
Thank you!

Brian Phillips said...

Thanks Jasmine,
It's been nice to learn that Kelly is better than I first thought.