What the “Third One from the Left” taught me about sharing my truth

So the Billboard Music Awards (BBMA) ended recently, and BTS went viral. Not only were they the first K-pop group to be nominated and awarded, their visual member – Jin – started trending online as “third one from the left” because of his good looks.

I’ve followed BTS’ journey for almost 2 years, and Jin has been the most underrated member – he’s not a naturally good dancer, is a so-so vocalist, and can be pretty awkward on stage compared to some of the more polished and confident members. He is not known for much else besides his good looks.

Imagine how that must feel, knowing you are not much more than the handsome one in the group, and everyone else can sing better, dance better, and converse more confidently and smoothly.

It’s what makes Jin a great example of the underdog – the one people underestimate and dismiss … until he does something unexpected that people appreciate … and suddenly everyone is raving about him.

Days after BBMA, the boys performed in Sydney, and I witnessed for myself how much Jin has improved vocally and presence-wise. His solo performance of ‘Awake’ was as confident as, if not superior to, the studio recording. You could hear the emotion in it, and he even held his high notes longer. The audience roared and cheered their approval, and the YouTube comments were fulsome and lavish as people noted his confidence with the high notes and his improved vocals.

If you look at the lyrics carefully, there’s something very intimate and vulnerable right there that we can all relate to.

Maybe I, I can never fly
Like the flower petals over there
I can’t become like those with wings
Maybe I, I can’t touch the sky
But I want to stretch my arm
I want to run just a little bit


That vulnerability and honesty … that admission that maybe I’m not good enough … haven’t we all felt that way at some point?

We feel that our work isn’t good enough to go out in the world.

We feel we’re not attractive or articulate or unique enough to share our message.

Which makes me wonder – which comes first, the message – or the validation that we are on point?

Surely we must put something out first, to get a response. But putting something out, especially our truth, feels dangerous and risky. What if people don’t agree with what we say? What if they post hurtful remarks attacking our message and our work? What if …

Yeah it’s my truth
It’s my truth
It’s probably covered in scars
But it’s my fate
It’s my fate
But I want to struggle

Thanks Jin, for teaching me about honouring my truth, working hard and enduring in the face of criticism and judgment. Keep flying high.