"it takes...an ability to stand up to rejection"
THIS alone, my having failed to point to it in my initial post, is why I've watched AI. This, and the rest of what Duane brought up, is my fixation on the show. It has nothing to do with the music or which songs any of the judges actually like; it's the PROCESS and the reality packed in Cowell's advice. It's a psychological tool I am trying to build for when I finish my Masters and am back on the career road.
And it happens to be damn important.
Thanks, Duane, for crystalizing that. (BTW, I, myself, have occasionally sprung out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night from anxiety attacks)
(Since you brought up mood disorders, possibly Paula's, I suddenly remember "in-house" fighting between her and Cowell - particularly Cowell's visible rage, at one point, when she tried going over him to discuss an issue with the producer)