Miss Americana - the Netflix documentary about Taylor Swift doesn't shed a good light on the entertainment industry and life as a megastar in the spotlight. But in addition to the many negative aspects, this documentary also provides interesting insights into the topic of how important it is to find your element in life and to follow your passion. That's why it's worth taking a closer look at Taylor Swift's career.
Without a Dream, You Won’t Make It Big!
So what was it that turned a little girl into one of the most successful singers in the world? Actually, it's quite simple, it was a dream that Taylor Swift had as a child and which, unlike many others, she continued to pursue until it bore fruit.
Music Is Not Her Element
Taylor Swift has found her element, but it's not the music itself. Her strength is her incredible ability to observe everyday situations and her emotionality and openness with which she then communicates her experiences and transforms them into lyrics.
Although these are everyday situations, Taylor Swift manages to lift these events on a poetic level and passes on her emotional messages to her audience thereby touching their hearts.
Music is the medium that has helped her to make her innate talent accessible to the world. Taylor Swift started writing down her experiences in her diary as a child, which became lyrics and later world hits.
Passion, Hard Work & Perseverance
Many of us may have a misconception about how to make it to the heights of a profession or discipline and become a star.
Lionel Messi put it in a nutshell when he said: "It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success." There are mainly three things you need to get to the top: passion, hard work and perseverance.
The same is true for Taylor Swift. Like many others, she started small and had to work hard for her success. When she was 11 years old her mother drove her through Nashville and helped her leave her demo tape with every well-known label in Music Row.
It wasn't until she was 14 that the first signs of commercial success came, and this only after her parents began working with a well-known music manager. Nevertheless, it took countless efforts before she was able to release her first album in 2006.
Successful Parents as Mentors
Certainly, it helped that her father was a successful stockbroker for Merrill Lynch and that her mother had worked as a mutual fund marketing executive. But this was important from a very different point of view than most of us probably think.
Firstly, both were well acquainted with the structures and the way of thinking that is needed to get to the top in our current society, and especially in the United States. Secondly, and this was much more crucial to the future of Taylor Swift's life and success, both parents not only believed in their daughter's dream and talent, but also actively supported her on the road to success. The whole family even moved to Nashville so that Taylor Swift could work better on her dream.
Other parents would probably have told their child to come to their senses and learn a proper profession. In the beginning, her parents also had no idea how this story would end, of course. But they weren't afraid to trust their daughter and to give her the feeling that anything is possible, something she already believed in anyway. And Taylor Swift took care of the rest.
Never Give Up
Not only did Taylor Swift have a dream, but she was also willing to follow it and give everything to reach it. In high school, unlike many of her classmates, she didn't waste her time going to parties and taking full advantage of teenage life, but she did what she loved and didn’t let anything or anyone distract her from achieving the goals she set for herself.
She knew it would require inhumane efforts to perfect her talents and develop them fully, and so she worked obsessively on her success. But she did not do so because she was forced to but because she loved what she was doing and it was incredibly fulfilling for her.
Learn From the Best - and Then Go Your Own Way
Taylor Swift’s innate ability to observe also served her well in another area. She was able to use it to analyze the careers of other stars of the country music scene in detail and learn important lessons for her future.
This ability also helped her to learn everything about the history of country music and understand what this music genre was all about. It allowed her to redefine country music for herself, which ultimately helped her to achieve world fame. One of her biggest strength probably was that she managed to make country music more accessible to the younger generation and especially a female audience.
Talent and Work Ethic Are Hard to Beat
What you can't deny, if you recall different scenes from the documentary, is that Taylor Swift has a gift. She seems to be able to create new lyrics with ease.
This is something you can't learn, no matter how hard you work. How she can transform everyday events into poetry and then turn them into songs. Of course, hard work was a key factor in Taylor Swift being able to perfect her gift, but without talent and the right work ethic it would certainly not have been possible in this form.
The documentary also shows how Taylor Swift fully enjoys the creative process and that fun is an essential part on her journey. From an outside perspective, what she does might look like hard work, but she herself probably rarely feels this way.
Without Willpower, It Is Not Possible
Another skill that couldn't be more important, and can be observed over and over again during Miss Americana, is her willpower. She never gives up and believes in her dream, no matter what obstacles stand in her way.
When she left her demo tape with different music labels at the age of 11 and nothing happened, she didn't give up and continued on her path. Or later, when she was offered a development deal and declined because it wasn't exactly what she wanted to do. Or when a certain musician stormed onto the stage at an award ceremony and questioned the quality of her music in front of the entire world, even then she did not give up and continued.
Insatiable Hunger for More
Contrary to the opinion of many 'experts', Taylor Swift will remain with us and the music industry for decades to come, and she will be no less successful than now, provided she wants to.
The reason for this is that she is constantly evolving and manages to reinvent herself over and over again. Without this insatiable hunger for more, she would not have come this far. She never stops setting new goals and therefore you can never count her out.
You Can't Control Everything
Another strength of Taylor Swift is her understanding that not everything is in her control. She is aware that it is not in her power to sell 20 million albums. The only thing she can do is produce an album that she likes and is happy with and where she gives all she’s got in the process. The rest is not up to her.
Modesty and Gratitude
Taylor Swift keeps both of her feet firmly on the ground and has always remained humble despite her success. She knows that without the help of others and especially without the support of her fans, she would never have made it this far.
She shows her gratitude in many ways: by giving her best at every concert; by patiently signing autographs; by meeting her fans, always with a friendly smile and in a good mood; and not to mention her countless philanthrophical efforts.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Taylor Swift Deserves It
If you are not a Taylor Swift fan yet, you might want to change your mind after watching the documentary. The least you should do is to show her the necessary respect for her life's work, because she deserves it.
Not (only) because of her music and her success, but above all because of her inner strength, her passion and the courage she needed in this crazy world to not give up, to stick to her values and to remain true to herself and her dreams.
There Will Never Be Another Taylor Swift
There will never be another Taylor Swift, that's for sure, just like there will never be another Louis Armstrong or another Hank Williams, another Elvis Presley or another Madonna, another Whitney Houston or another Celine Dion.
All these greats will always remain unique because they redefined their field and put their stamp on it for decades.
Find Your Element - What Can You Do?
Never try to copy the success of others and never focus on becoming another ‘somebody', because this means you are selling yourself short before you have even started.
The most important thing that you need to understand, when you want to experience success at the highest level and make the most of your potential, is that each of us is unique and has a range of innate talents and abilities. No other person on this earth has exactly the same combination of strengths and weaknesses as yourself.
The trick now is to use this unique combination to find your element or calling: a task that you are passionate about, that inspires you and that you enjoy, a task that fulfills you and above all enables you to live a meaningful life.
It's About the Journey
Look at the careers of successful personalities and listen to what they say. And you'll find that they all share three traits which led them to their success: passion, hard work, and perseverance.
Not everyone will be loved by millions of fans like Taylor Swift. But once you've started looking for your element, you may realize that it's not about that at all; that, more than anything, it’s really about the journey.
Where Do You Start?
Maybe with my blog entry: The Sky Is the Limit - Never Give Up On Your Dreams