MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

Archive for January, 2011

Paying Dues vs. Paid Dues

I talked about this with a friend a little while ago regarding the phrase “paying my dues.”  I think this is a tricky thing to say because it’s loaded with many different angles but I do believe that there’s a difference between saying “I am paying my dues” and “I have paid my dues.”

On one hand, i think “i am paying my dues” is a great phrase to center on because it usually means:

  • I’m working hard at something.
  • I believe that “No pain, no gain” is not just a mantra for masochists but rather a slogan for success– whatever one’s definition of success may be.
  • I recognize that the current labor and struggle is momentary (hopefully) and necessary.
  • I have a goal in mind and the hard work is simply a means toward an end

I like this tweet I saw the other day from someone who said something to the extent of: “Not every seed in the garden will grow but I keep planting anyway.” That’s good stuff.

You can disagree if you want but I believe that there’s a completely different thing at play here when I say “I have paid my dues” because it usually implies that:

  • I have a sense of entitlement to whatever it is I’m after.  I deserve THIS.
  • I have arrived and should not have to work for anything… or at least not as hard anymore.
  • I have lost sight of the age-old wisdom that guided me all these years: “it’s not about the destination– it’s about the journey.”
  • This bitterness I feel is warranted because the world should pay me back for all the good I did for her.
  • I have a hard time being happy for those around me who have seemingly worked less than I have and yet somehow achieved more.  (This is called jealousy, right?  It is also called “please get over yourself.”  We see this a lot during contract negotiations for major sports stars)

I suppose my point is that we (should) never stop working, never stop trying, never stop learning.  The saddest picture of retirement for me is that of a man in his 70’s (having paid his dues) with all of his trophies, degrees, and plaques on the wall while he sits glued to the TV, every single moment of every single day until the day he breathes his last.

The truth is that every achievement, every dollar, and every acquisition is actually a gift.

No matter how hard some of us work, the money may never equal that of some of our more well-to-do friends.

No matter how many hours you put into something, there will always be someone or something better at what you do.

No matter how many “dues” we have paid… to each his own.

We all walk our own path and we set our own markers for success.  What matters is that we are paying our dues toward something we believe in . . . and in the end, whether the pay-off is fair, deficient, abundant or non-existent– at least, we have given it a fair go.  And we continue and we keep on.

Thoughts?  Do you see the distinction between PAYING and PAID dues?


Homeless Man with a Golden Voice gets a Second Chance

We all need to be reminded that amazing second chance stories are possible.  Ted Williams is a man who is living a new dream thanks to a new opportunity that came about through a viral video on the internet.

Read this story on ESPN. Here’s an excerpt:

CLEVELAND — With a deep, refined voice, one that had been sadly misplaced, Ted Williams simply asked for help to get him off the streets.

He’s been heard.

Left homeless after his life and career were ruined by drugs and alcohol, Williams has been offered a job by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and is being pursued by NFL Films for possible work after he and his compelling tale became an online curiosity.

“This has been totally, totally amazing,” Williams said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, his voice choking with emotion. “I’m just so thankful. God has blessed me so deeply. I’m getting a second chance. Amazing.”

Ted Williams

Williams was contacted Wednesday by the Cavaliers, who have offered him a position that could include announcing work at Quicken Loans Arena, the team’s downtown arena. Williams said the team has offered him a two-year contract and said they would pay his mortgage.

Williams, whose deep baritone and plight have made him an online video sensation, was contacted Wednesday by the Cavs. Team spokesman Tad Carper said details are still being worked out on a possible position for Williams.

[Read the rest of the article here on ESPN]

Here’s an interview with a local news station:

Here’s the viral video:

what other redemption stories do you know of?


Free Show TOMORROW! w/ T-shirts!

Hey Everybody!

Just a reminder that our show is tomorrow, Wednesday Jan. 5, 2011 at 7:30 PM!

I’m excited to let you know that the very first run of live screen-printed “DK” shirts will be available, courtesy of Mobile Tees and Faces T-Shirts.

Check ’em out!

They will be available in all sizes in the design colors shown (all T’s will be white).

My EP will also be available for sale.

Finally, I want to let you know that I will be donating all of the money from the sales of my CDs and shirts to The Well Human Trafficking Safehouse in Mexico City.  I will not see a cent from this night so please be assured that your purchases are going to an incredible need and cause.  (Note: a portion of the T-Shirt sales will be allocated to Mobile Tees as this is a partnership with them)

See you there!