I’ve always said that out of all the talent show competitors, the ones that surprise me the most are children. I can relate to many of their struggles with self-confidence because I had them myself. When I was young, I liked singing but never really did anything with it because I didn’t think I was good enough. But for me, self-confidence was just the start of it.
I also stuttered, and that alone prevented me to do anything that involved speaking in front of crowds. I read a lot about this problem in books, hoping to find a solution. I couldn’t really find any specific advice on how to ‘cure’ it, but I did find some tips. I did everything from paper clips in my pocket to breathing techniques. None of them seemed to give me the answer I was looking for.
I guess I was one of the lucky ones because the problem went away as soon as I started high school. This high school that I went to was new in the city, and I got to meet a lot of new people. Fortunately for me, none of my classmates from middle school were there. I think that it was the new surroundings gave me the impulse I needed. I guess I thought that if no one there knew that I stuttered, it would go away.
And it did. I regained my confidence and felt comfortable speaking in front of people. Now, as far as singing went, I had decided to leave that for a hobby I could do in my spare time and maybe pursue something else. Even though I had stopped stuttering, I later found out that I would still get stage fright. For someone who doesn’t have any ‘issues’ with themselves, this might even sound exaggerated, but I assure you it’s not.
Stage fright takes control of you when you feel the most vulnerable. I remember I would start to feel that I was about to make a mistake. The fear got so serious that I would just freeze and not speak a single word. Fortunately, my classmates had my back and as soon as they saw I was in trouble, they would step in and take over. This went away when I started one activity that would change me in many ways: teaching. Teaching gave me the confidence I needed, and made me a better person in the process.
I am older now and can turn back and remember those times and even laugh about it. But for children experiencing it, it’s no joke. Especially for this 9-year-old contestant of Britain’s Got Talent. The judges were asked by the mother to take it easy on him because of his stage-fright problem. They asked him a couple of questions and he was set to go. He picked one of Beyoncé’s hits and was doing alright. Suddenly, his nerves got the best of him and he froze. The program went on a commercial break while his mother and one of the judges were trying to calm him down. They asked him if he wanted to continue, and he said, “yes.” Wait until you hear his second try!