March 9, 2010 Belief.
A friend of mine posted this video on twitter and I was completely moved by witnessing this side of Lauryn Hill. At only 13 years old, she was able to stand before a stadium of people, who were there to judge her, and sing. The fact that children that age would risk such public rejection to share what they understand to be their gifts is so brave. Just the act of beginning said multitudes. However the full strength of her courage was demonstrated a few seconds in when the audience began to boo…and she continued to sing. She continued to sing in the face of mass disapproval and her resolve paid off . By the end of the song the audience had changed their mind. The quality of her singing didn’t change drastically from the beginning of her performance to the end. But more importantly, her belief in herself and her right to be on stage never changed either.
At 13, where did she learn to stand on such seemingly unshakeable faith in herself?
I am a decade older than what Lauryn Hill was in that video and I can tell you now, that I do not know if I have the chutzpah to stand before a booing theater of spectators and carry on. Many of us would probably have stopped and left, deciding that the crowd had confirmed the sneaking suspicion we are not good enough. By standing her ground, she gave people time to come around and recognize the value of what she was offering. I saw this and thought about my own ambitions regarding the world of social entrepreneurship.
How often do we put of starting for fear of the worst thing being confirmed; that we are not good enough to start a business or a nonprofit or a think tank. After starting do we hold enough belief in our ideas to carry on in the face of opposition? Can we stand in belief long enough for everyone else to come around to believe in our wacky vision too? If Muhammad Yunus had listened to conventional Bangladeshi Bankers, he would never have contributed to alleviating poverty for millions of people throughout the world through microfinance. If Barack Obama had listened to all the politicians who said that a campaign on the dreamy notion of “change” wasn’t enough for the American people, we would not be guided by his historic leadership today. And If you, like Barack, Yunus, and Lauryn Hill are planning to do something to change the world, start by developing a fierce belief in your contribution. A belief so solid you can stand on it, so hot it burns through all the resistance, and so transformative that naysayers who are exposed to it for too long are forced to reconsider.