Always someone better

By Elise Adams

I grew up performing. I was literally on stage from the time I was two and a half. My first solo was at about three years old, singing ‘I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus’ in front of an audience of 500.

Attending Brigham Young University and majoring in Music Dance Theater was a personal lifelong goal. When as a senior in high school I got the letter of acceptance I was elated!

I have a vivid memory of being a freshman at BYU sitting in a room full of very talented young people. I felt very intimidated. My professor was an incredibly accomplished vocal coach and performer herself. I had been a big fish in a small pond in my hometown. I quickly realized that was the case no more. I had quickly become a very average fish in a large lake!

In a class such as this, we sang in front of each other. Basically that was the entire class. We each took turns going to the front, and while our classmates took notes on our performance and technique we sang a solo. After we finished, our professor gave us feedback. Then after a 10 minute class discussion dissecting the nuances of our song, vocal abilities, etc. another student went up front and it all started again.

One day near the end of class our instructor and vocal coach, Gayle, taught a lesson I will never forget. She said, no matter how long you perform, no matter where you go, whether you make it to Broadway or not, there will ALWAYS be someone better than you. And there will ALWAYS be someone not as good as you. There will always be someone who can teach you something. Likewise there will always be someone you can, in turn, assist.

I was mind blown. I had never thought of this concept. Had never learned it. Ever. For a moment I was frozen in time. I remember this moment perfectly. I know where I was sitting in the room. I remember feeling a tingle knowing what she had said was true.

I have often pondered this lesson. Mostly regarding my performance capabilities. More recently (almost 25 years after learning it) I have considered what it means to me in other aspects of life.

The Law of Relativity is unique in that it broadens our perspective, and adds gratitude. No matter where we are in life we can be assured there is someone who is worse off. Is our ailment financial, physical or emotional? Be certain someone is suffering more deeply than you. Likewise, however prosperous you become, there are others who have more. Abundance comes in a variety of ‘shapes and sizes’. Whatever the definition is for you, more money, more house, more cars, more children, more health, more of anything…there are people who are comparatively more abundant. And those who are not.

The perspective this law adds to our lives naturally leads to gratitude. Gratitude for what we have, and the potential within us! We can be thankful for the knowledge there are opportunities to serve all around us! Grateful we are not worse off than we are! I suggest when we focus on what we have and what we can give, as the Law of Relativity suggests, there will be more room for gratitude and growth in our minds and hearts.

Elise Adams
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