Oct 24, 2019
How do you handle situations that feel like massive setbacks?
How do you react when you’re told, “it can’t be done,” "you’re not
good enough," or "you’re destined to be a failure?"
William Hung has received that harsh feedback many times. The
most memorable was when he was laughed off the stage by
American Idol judges for his rendition of Ricky
Martin’s “She Bangs”.
Those that laughed, judged + critiqued missed what was actually
happening: the power of an individual believing in his
Today's conversation is truly heart-warming. William shares
about taking chances, the courage to fail forward, and rising above
cynics to become a champion by choice and smiling every step of the
- William’s mother was very supportive + encouraged him to do his
best in a school.
- During high school, William excelled in math and science but
struggled academically while studying civil engineering at the
University of California, Berkeley.
- William won a talent show at UC Berkeley singing Ricky Martin’s
"She Bangs", giving him the confidence to audition for American
Idol days later.
- Recalling the 2004 American Idol audition, William knew he
wouldn’t advance to the next round because of Randy Jackson’s
- “I already gave my best. I have no regrets at
all.”: William’s response after Simon Cowell’s comment,
“You can’t sing. You can’t dance. What do you want me to say?”
- The primary motivations for continuing with his singing career
was not money but defending who he is and counteract others making
things up about him.
- William remembers watching other auditions from his season and
seeing contestants getting so angry they’d throw water bottles. He
understood that the judges were just playing their roles + doing
their job and it was no reason to get upset.
- During a UC Berkeley volleyball game, a record company
presented William a $25,000 check to record a record album. It went
on to hit #1 on the independent charts.
- “It doesn’t matter if you have the most talent. It matters if
you can bring happiness with your entertainment.”
- “You are already unique. You are already special. Keep
believing in that truth. Do not give up and you will succeed.”
- “I’m infamous, and some people think, a joke. That doesn’t make
me feel good because I am a genuine person. I don’t let it get to
me because I am who I am.”
- “It’s not what they say. It’s what you choose to hear.”
- “Looking back on my American Idol experience, I realize Randy
was smiling. Paula was smiling. Even Simon was smiling. I realize
when people saw me, I freed them to smile.”
- Today, William is a professional motivational speaker + hopes
his audiences choose to be happy in their lives
- “I don’t feel the need to justify my value.”
- Watch William Hung’s American Idol audition here.
- Listen to William Hung’s TEDx Talk here.
- William Hung’s latest book Champion by Choice inspires
others to choose to be happy by rising above the haters. Get a copy
If you enjoyed hearing William Hung's story, you'll love my
conversation with Lizzie Velasquez. Lizzie shares her positivity,
her life's work at spreading kindness, and how she's standing up to
bullies. Listen on ep. 71.
WILLIAM HUNG'S LIVE INSPIRED
- What is the best book you’ve ever
read? Tapping into
Wealth by Margaret Lynch.
- What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as
a child that you wish you still exhibited today? I
still have that kid in me.
- Your house is on fire, all living things and people are
out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one
item. What would it be? My wallet. I’m very
- You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous
beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with
anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Ricky Martin.
My first question would be, “What kind of impact do you want your
music to make on others?”
- What is the best advice you’ve ever
received? The only way you can fail is if you give
- What advice would you give your 20-year-old
self? Find a true talent instead of randomly putting
yourself out there on American Idol.
- It’s been said that all great people can have their
lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to
read? Live your best life and have no
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