The Message Without the Mess

Many moons ago, I auditioned for Germany’s Got Talent. My talent? Soccer tricks. I bombed the performance and never heard back. What I did do was start to pay attention: Who do they pick?

As it turned out, the participants who made it on TV weren’t only talented, they always seemed to have the craziest backstory. They were raised by wolves, had sailed around the globe in a canoe, or had survived falling out of an airplane. I’m exaggerating, of course, but you get the point.

I realized I would never be picked. A boy with good grades, from a small town in which nothing ever happens, with a normal, intact, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary family? Forget it. Where’s the mess? Where’s the chaos to put on display?

There’s a saying that you should “make your mess your message,” and I agree. If you struggle with something and reveal that struggle to the world, the universe will support you. You’ll no longer fight alone, and you’ll inspire others to win their own, similar battles. But what if you don’t have a mess? Does that mean you don’t have a message? I don’t think so.

Comfort and discomfort are equally powerful gifts. You can share both of them. Extend them to others to make them see the world in a new light.

If I’m calm and happy, I have time to put myself in your shoes. I can buy a friend a cup of coffee, call my grandma to ask how she’s doing, or send a few words of inspiration your way. That too is worth a lot. It’s not messy, but it does send a message: I care about you. You’re not alone. It’ll be okay.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a messy message. Struggle is not the only path to growth. Healing and comfort are always in demand – and the stick only works if some of us hand out carrots.