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14. The Mastery of Michael Jackson

It’s amazing to me that no matter how many times I watch Michael Jackson’s concerts or short films, he is still able to evoke the same emotional responses from me, even though I know what’s going to happen.

When I watch them I’m taken to another place in time as I am thoroughly engrossed in being entertained. His "Live in Bucharest" concert is one of my absolute favorites. I still feel the excitement building in me while I’m waiting for him to bolt up from under the stage, all the while wishing I would have had the opportunity to be there with the crowd chanting, "Michael, Michael, Michael!"

When he performs "Black or White," I’m right there with him jamming away on my imaginary guitar, pumping my head up and down to the beat, and he never fails to capture my heart when he sings "I Just Can’t Stop Loving You." An instant smile comes over my face and stays there until he moves me to tears with "She’s Out of My life." That happens every single time.

It’s not just me he manages to engage either. He does the same to my grandkids, who are 3 and 4 years of age. They love his short film "Thriller"; they call it the "monster movie." They both stand right in front of the television as close as they can get, watching with baited breath as they know they are about to be frightened when Michael transforms into the werewolf and shouts at them to "GET AWAY!!!" Then when the zombies all start dancing, their little bodies automatically start to move right along with them. It’s so much fun to watch.

I know of many fans working to make sure today’s youth are introduced to Michael’s music. Such is the case with Yvonne, (Yakers123) an elementary reading coach, and MJTP dot member, who loves to teach the children in her school about Michael. In an email to me she said, "For the past year and a half I have been using Michael’s inspiration to renew my focus in our school. It is very heartwarming to watch this young generation grab on to Michael’s music, dance and message with such excitement. I hear his name mentioned at least once a day walking the halls and visiting classrooms."

Another dot member named Linda (jamgold5also reached out to me letting me know how important Michael is to their family. She said, "I try to teach my children all of the right things in life and I never fail to teach them about Michael Jackson. My little boy Richard Michael, (who is 7) loves to sing ‘Thriller’ and ‘Ghost,’ while my daughter, Alexandra, 11 (a competitive figure skater) wakes up every morning at 5:00AM to the music of Michael Jackson to skate before school. He is her inspiration to work hard and to never give up on her dreams."

When it comes to inspiration, Michael is a great one to look to because he knew how to make his dreams come true. In fact, he’s a perfect example of what someone can accomplish when they believe in power of their dreams. He achieved a level of mastery in entertainment few others have reached.

A major difference between Michael Jackson and so many other people is that he seemed to view his dreams as a responsibility, something he was meant to do for the greater good of humanity on behalf of a higher power, and his artistic vision as a gift to be to be used for that purpose. Most others view their dreams as something meant to fantasize about, but unrealistic to pursue.

In the film This Is It, Producer Paul Gongaware said something in the section called "Staging The Return" that made me stop and take note. He said, "[Michael] had this artistic vision in his head and he just was relentless in getting to that vision." I was fascinated by that comment. That is the kind of insight I love to hear about him…"relentless in getting to that vision." What makes someone develop that kind of drive to manifest a vision, to the point where he would not take no for an answer?

In the behind the scenes footage of his short film "Ghosts" there is a scene where Director Stan Winston is trying to tell Michael that all the cuts for the film can’t be used. He said to him, "Right now there’s no way of cutting all the stuff we have." Michael quickly replied with conviction, "Oh yes there is!!" Stan just stood there and shook his head, smiling. He knew Michael wouldn’t settle for anything less.

In that same footage, Travis Payne gave us insight into Michael's drive for perfection, when he said, "He’s not easily satisfied. He’s very demanding in that he doesn’t allow us to settle." Who wouldn’t want to work for someone that demanded the best from you but also backed it up by holding himself to that higher standard as well? That is a true sign of mastery.

Michael had an incredible gift of being able to turn his dreams into reality; a drive to be the absolute best and the ability to inspire others to do the same, as well as a remarkable talent for entertaining at a level that many others strive to emulate but never quite achieve.

At the end of the behind the scenes footage of "Ghosts," he spoke about what he hoped his fans would get out of watching the short film. "I hope you enjoy it. I hope it’s inspiring to a lot of people and I hope it scares you. I hope it makes you laugh and I hope it makes you cry." That is why he was a master at entertaining people, because he was a genius at knowing exactly how to engage the hearts, minds and emotions of his fans.

He once said, "The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work." I wonder if he knew when he made that statement that he would end up at the top of that unspoken list.

To the dreamers of the world…this video is for you! Let Michael be the Wind Beneath Your Wings.

Linda Higgins

© 2011, Linda Higgins, All Rights Reserved

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