I don’t watch much TV these days but I decided to watch The Voice because it is based on talented singers performing for experienced coaches rather than judges, so there is none of the ritual humiliation of certain other series. I got the impression that the coaches - Will.i.am, Tom Jones, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue - were genuinely looking for and responding to authenticity.
If you haven’t seen the show, the coaches can’t see who is singing, which allows them to focus on the quality of the voice rather than the appearance of the singer. This is a clever twist, and it works well for those singers who can belt it out but don’t trade on image.
Many of the contestants had reality TV-style sob stories to tell, but at least all of them had natural talent. The auditions section of the show ended on Saturday with Will.i.am and Jessie J being reduced to tears by the voice of music teacher Jaz Ellington.
He certainly had soul, but what packed the emotional punch was not only Will.i.am’s reaction to hearing Jaz’s version of one of his own songs - Ordinary People - but the fact that he had passed on a couple of very good singers because his “gut” told him there was something better coming.
I was really touched by this because it was clearly heartfelt, and so rare to witness on primetime TV the magical results of trusting your intuition. Will.i.am explained that he would have pressed his button for other singers had he listened to his head and his ear, but his heart was telling him to wait.
It made me reflect on the times in my life when I didn’t trust my gut; when I allowed my logical side to rule or let myself to be carried away by fantasies created in my mind.
When I look back, I realise that there was always that moment before I decided on a course of action when I had a chance to listen to the still, small voice within but either ignored it, rejected it or didn’t hear it. There were also times when I thought I was following my instincts but it turned out I was being fooled by my ego.
A client of mine had a really strong intuition about a man she had met - she thought he was The One. When things didn’t work out, she told herself a story about how she couldn’t trust her instincts. I helped her clarify that she was unconsciously projecting her fantasies on to him, and he simply wasn’t the man she believed him to be.
I should know, I fell for that ego trick many times in the past. The giveaway is this: if you experience a peculiar intensity of emotion, more often that not you are projecting. Intuition has a much subtler feel, which is why it often gets drowned out. It takes practice and trust to hear your true voice.
Will.i.am’s masterclass in trusting your gut was an understated affair - quiet and focused. Now I know that intuition doesn’t shout, it whispers from the depths of the soul.