Our Biases Cost Us Dearly

My very favorite YouTube video (if you want to see it just click here) inspires.

Every time life throws me another curve, my spirit is lifted.  Sometimes, I’ve replayed this video for an hour to fill me up with what I need to get up and go again.  Life has been quite tough for a while as I face challenges I never dreamed I would ever face.

Most importantly, it’s a lesson in our human psyche.  For any of us who have ever experienced discrimination because of others’ biases, this video shows us in full color the cost of bias.

In color for all to see . . .

A real live example of age and physical appearance biases.  We all lost for a very long time because she didn’t “fit” the false belief that a person has to be slim, gorgeous,  and polished with flawless skin to have talent.

Real looking people have real talent too!

The opinions were swift to show . . .

There she stood.  Ridiculed when she told of her dream.  How dare she have a dream like that at her age and with those “looks”!  They laughed.

She ignored their jeers – she probably had heard them her whole life.

Little did they know that they were just about to have an experience of a lifetime – coming face-to-face with the darkest parts of themselves in the form of biases – – talent isn’t wrapped in slim, current standards of beauty – talent comes in many unexpected forms.  Could they ever know what was about to hit them?


The Aftermath . . .

How many in that audience actually went home and thought about how they themselves had reacted that day and changed?  How many people changed?  How many people started to address their biases?

She just didn’t sing.  She held up a mirror to society’s phoniness!  36 years to hold on to a dream – the tenacity, the strength, the endurance and the dedication is beyond what most of us would ever even think of giving any goal!

“I’m going to make that audience rock” , she said – do you think she did?  She made them rock on the ouside and the inside!  I took only a couple of bars and they were on their feet – shocked!  She reached down into their souls – she does it to me every single time I view this video.

“I Dreamed a Dream” – she did for 36 years!  How many of us would have that courage, that fortitude?  Yet, they laughed.

A major lesson can be learned by us all . . .

I hope that parents who have children bullied at school will show this inspirational video.

I hope those of you who are discouraged because your life has had a turn for the worse for a very long time, take inspiration and courage from this individual who waited so long to share her talent with the rest of us.

A nice, plain lady with an extraordinary talent.  How was that talent missed all these years?

Our biases.

In your workplace and at home, look for the talent – nurture it, make it blossom and enjoy the gift.  The right talent most often is not in a nice little package with the right wrapping, ribbons and colors – sometimes, the right talent comes from a place we wouldn’t expect.

I had  a situation like this in the workplace.  A wonderful human being.  All people could see was that she was overweight.  The bias was obvious.  She worked hard and was very smart.  She was willing to do what it took to move ahead in her career.

I gave her chances.  She shone.  Eventually, she rose from clerk to senior assistant in the head office.  Then, in private industry, she became a manager – her bosses loved her because she delivered excellent work and was dedicated.

What would have happened to her if we hadn’t met?  Would she still be a clerk because no one gave her a chance?

When employers complain they can’t find good help, they should look in the mirror first.  What is it in themselves, as an employer, that is not reaching and hiring the type of people to fill the “good people” criteria.  If you an employer doesn’t have good people, it’s their fault, not the employees’ – a lesson I learned the hard wayLook at biases first and foremost.

In our lives in general, when we complain we cannot find good friends or connect with good people, look around – you may be blind because of your biases.  Where are your biases:  age, body size, type of dress, hair do, mannerisms, race, appearance, height, language – so many reasons for biases, none valid.

Eliminate your biases – look for the gifts – you might be surprised!  A diamond never comes out of the ground polished!

Lorraine Arams

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