Flamboyant, nutcase, confident, weird, showman, public relations genius, public relations idiot, performer, train wreck.
I suspect all those words have been used to describe Lady Gaga at one point or another.
Someone reading this has to be thinking, “Lady Gaga? Really. You’re about to write a post about Lady Freaking Gaga? And tie that into life and real estate? This I have to see”¦”
OK, OK. Listen, anyone that knows me just a tiny little bit has to realize that I am not exactly the type of person that Lady Gaga typically attracts to her rapidly expanding fan base. Though I tend to migrate toward the “classic rock” and “singer/songwriter” genres most often, I do have pretty mixed and varied tastes in music. Much of what I listen to depends on what kind of mood I’m in.
But I don’t think I have ever been in the mood to fire up the Lady Gaga. Dance/electronica/techno is WAY up my list of least favorite music genres. And I’ll be honest, I just can’t get past some of the over-the-top outfits Gaga wears. They’re distracting as hell and I prefer not to be distracted when I’m watching a performer.
But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary.
Yesterday my friend Bill Risser, also of varied and eclectic musical taste, asked me if I heard the Howard Stern interview of Lady Gaga and her subsequent live performance of The Edge of Glory on Stern’s show.
“Dude. Gaga? Seriously?” was my initial reaction. I vaguely recall watching Gaga’s performance of Edge of Glory on American Idol this season (yeah, I watch Idol. So shoot me). I could only vaguely recall her act because I only watched about 30 seconds before hitting fast forward on the DVR. Again, I couldn’t get past the”¦ headdress.. she was sporting to take the performance even remotely serious.
But I trust Bill’s take on most things music, so today I found the video. Regardless of your opinion of Lady Gaga, take five minutes to watch this. Trust me, it’s worth it”¦
Wackiness aside, Gaga’s got talent. Loads of it. As Bill said on my Facebook post of this video, “In this age of auto-tuned, lip-synced, over produced crap, she is one very talented, powerful, emotional musician/singer/songwriter?…”
Where am I going with this?
Preconceived notions. I have them, you have them. We all have them. If you say you don’t, I think you’re lying ”“ or at least fooling yourself. We’re human beings, and as such we are going to judge and make decisions and act based on the way people look. What they drive. How they dress. How much money they make. How they talk. Their intelligence level, their weight. For God’s sake, we judge people by what they say and how they act on Twitter. And dare I say a lot of people out there will hold preconceived notions about someone based solely on the color of their skin.
Hell, sometimes we even listen to other people’s preconceived notions and let them think for us. That’s crazy talk! But it’s true, isn’t it?
I did it with Lady Gaga. I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve read the news about her wearing a “meat dress” at the MTV Video Music Awards. I fast-forwarded through her performance on Idol.
In other words, I judged her based solely on what she wore, on how she appears to act. I wrote her off ”“ just because I thought she was a freakazoid.
And she may well be a freak. I don’t know her. I know nothing about her private life, and that is none of my business anyway.
If she is a freak, she is a thoroughly talented freak.
That is a fact that escaped me until this morning when I got over my preconceived notions and just listened.
No, I won’t be filling up my iPod with the Gaga catalog. Her general style just isn’t my thing. (Release a CD of solo stuff behind a piano and I’ll buy that..) I do respect her talent though.
So hear I sit, a full fifty years into this life and I still find these little “ah ha” moments. As I’ve been chewing on these thoughts of preconceived notions today it has me wondering some things. How much business do we lose due to our preconceived notions? How many potential friendships are slipping by without ever having been given a chance to develop? Ever gotten a call or email from a potential home buyer and thought to yourself, “this guy’s practically illiterate, they can’t buy a home”. Ever read something someone wrote or heard some remark and thought, “what an idiot. How does that person survive?”
Just a day or two ago I was having difficulties with a real estate broker working the other side of a transaction we are involved in. I spotted their “@aol.com” address and thought, “Great. They probably don’t read or answer email.” That’s a preconceived notion, and one that really serves no purpose. Best to just deal with the issue at hand and not be bothered with how a freaking email address may or may not affect the situation.
Yes, you are going to make judgments on people, places and things. Some of those will be snap judgments. Some need to be snap judgments. But sometimes it might just be prudent to not go into a situation with preconceived notions. Approach people and situations with a clean slate. Let their actions formulate what you are going to do not the way they look, what they drive, or which email service they use.
I can not sit here behind this keyboard and tell you to how to act, or to not judge people. It’s not my place to do that. What I can tell you is the next time I start to have a preconceived notion about someone I’m going to think about Lady Gaga. Not visualizing her dressed in slabs of beef, but about her sitting behind a piano and singing her ass off.
You never know what someone is capable of until you give them a fair chance.
Photo Credit: Michael_Spencer on Flickr. CC Licensed.