There has been a video circulating on social media of one performance from a recent episode of America’s Got Talent. You can watch the video here. In Summary, its a video of Kodi Lee. A 22 year old young man. He loves music and he is blind and autistic. In the video, Kodi plays the piano and sings “A song for you”.
I was in tears by the time I was done with the video. not because of pity or because he was autistic. I was in tears because I was mind-blown by his talent and amazed that someone with disabilities that he has is able to do exactly what his disability “should” stop him from doing. He played the piano in a way I doubt I ever could. He sang boldly yet calmly with an amazing and well controlled voice. Many people can sing and many people can play the piano. It’s a talent that a number of people have. What matters is what you do with the talent. How you cultivate.
I took guitar lessons at some point in my life and as someone who has sight in both eyes and could see the strings, it wasn’t easy to get my fingers to move between chords the way I wanted them to. It requires a lot of practice to switch smoothly without missing time. Now, Kodi can’t see physically. He can’t see the keyboard (black and white keys). So I can imagine how he learnt to play is a little different from how I’d learn to play. This is quite similar to Helen Keller’s story except Helen was deaf.
His singing simply took me away. The way he smoothly and easily hit the high notes left me in awe. I was shocked because despite his speech being impaired, he sang the song word for word with no hesitation, no slip ups. Nothing. Passion.
Now these are my own thoughts but I know he practices a lot. I don’t think him learning songs is something he hates because his mom told us it isn’t. She said she noticed how his eyes opened wide when he heard music and realized he was an entertainer.
I picked up so many lessons and reminders from this performance:
- Cultivate your talent. Practice. If there’s something you’re good at, don’t just sit on that something till it dies. Become better at it. Even if you don’t go public, at least do it for yourself.
- Discover what you love and run with it. Life is much better when you are doing things you love.
- Surround yourself people who will see good things in you that you may not see for yourself. Kodi’s mom saw how he reacted to music and helped him grow that part of him. So be the person who points out your friend’s strengths and help them grow them. Surround yourself with such people too.
- Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Confident. If you haven’t watched the video, please do and you’ll see how bold he was.
- I didn’t want to say this but I will. Don’t find excuses to get out of doing things that actually make you happy. Just do it.
- Find something you do do well, enjoy it, do it with passion and become great at it.
- Forget labels. Forget that you’re short, autistic, deaf, chubby, skinny. That’s your normal and we move.
If you want to watch the video again, here you go!