[10 Positive Lessons from Taylor Swift ] By: Ng Wah Lok (22 May 2012)

I am doing some "cut and paste" article written by my Tung Ling principal Ng Wah Lok whom I was surprised that he is a big fan of Taylor Swift. He told us in the class that he is going to write some things he learn from her and here is what he wrote about Taylor Swift.. yes.. the 10 things you can learn..

Thanks Pastor for your insights.. here we go...

1. Dare to Dream
Taylor Swift started dreaming of becoming a songwriter/singer at age 10 years. Her whole  life dream was to write songs.
"I started singing at festivals and fairs and karaoke contests — anywhere I could. I begged my mom to take me to Nashville; eventually she did. I would walk into record labels alone (my mom would wait in the car) and hand them my demo CD. I'd say 'Hi, I’m Taylor. I’m 11 and I’m looking for a record deal.'...I didn’t get much response; so I returned to Pennsylvania and learned to play guitar and write songs."

2. Work hard to achieve your dreams
Taylor says her success comes from her determination to realize her dreams. "Being raised by two parents who brought me up with the idea that the world didn't owe me anything really helped,"

"In order to develop and reach goals, I think it’s important that you never feel entitled to them. Take it one step at a time, because its very rare people just get 'discovered.' It takes meeting lots of people and spreading the word and making connections and following paths that are sometimes dead ends.

3. Overcome obstacles
She  recorded a demo of karaoke covers, and traveled with her mother to Nashville, for spring break, leaving a copy of the demo with record labels along Music Row. She received label rejections and realized that "I needed to know how to do something more than just sing a song".

At 14, Taylor moved from Pennsylvania to Nashville, where she played her demo CD for anyone who would listen. Her persistence certainly paid off—she was only 16 when "Tim McGraw" first hit the airwaves. 

4. Use Modern Technology to engage fans
Taylor uses modern technology to develop a very large fan base. She uses facebook, you tube, my space, websites etc to engage fans. She has one of the highest download sales of all time (41.8 million downloads).

5. Constantly learn and evolve
She used to do opening acts for big country stars like Keith Urban, Tim Mcgraw, Kenny Chesney etc.. She observed and learned from their work ethics. Eventually she won the Country Music Entertainer of the Year Award, an award traditionally  won by male country stars. She actually beat the top male country stars she used to do opening acts for because she learned their work ethics. She also learned songwriting by co-writing with some top songwriters.

6. Honor your parents
Taylor has a strong bond with her parents. She considers her mum her best friend. Her father relocated his work to Nashville so she could have better chance to pursue her music career. Her song “Best Day” is a Mother’s Day gift to her mum. Also the song “Never Grow Up” talks about missing home when she first moved to her own apartment. For the Fearless tour, she was constantly accompanied by her mum. To date, she has already bought 2 houses for her parents.
What makes me happy is just curling up in with my mom in her bed and watching a marathon of CSIand Grey's Anatomy episodes with pints of ice cream” – Taylor Swift.

7. Promote Moral Values
Taylor dresses moderately, does not drink or party or does not do any overly sexualized photo shoots. She has not put on a tattoo because her mum objects to it. In her song 15, she encourages teenagers to be careful not to give in to pressure “to a boy who changed his mind”.

8. Gives back to society - Philanthropy
Taylor Swift earned $18 million in 2009, $45 million in 2010, $45 million in 2011 and $57 million in 2012 (according to Forbes). But she does give back something to society. Here are some of her donations ( not a complete list).

December 13, 2009  - Donates $250,000 to various schools around the country which she had either attended or been involved with
May  2010 - $500,000 during a flood relief telethon hosted by WSMV, a Nashville television station.
May 23, 2011 Speak Now Benefit Concert – Raised 700,000 for tornadoe relieft
July 2011 – Donates $250,000 to Nick Kids to aid tonado relief efforts in West Alabama.
May 2012 – Donates $ 4 million to Music Education

At age 22, she has already a host of good works behind her name.

9. Don’t let success get to your head
Taylor remains down to earth and humble despite her phenomenal success.
“No matter what happens in life, no matter how many records you sell, be good to people...Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind." – Taylor Swift

10. Be good in one thing
Taylor excelled in songwriting. It is probably this special gift that took her very far. Although many of her songs are about falling in and out of love, this is not unexpected as most of her own hits were written between the age of 17-21. As she grows older, she will probably evolve to more serious themes. Already, I can see a slight change of themes as she turns 22 this year.



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