Tag Archives: Morgan Freeman

How To Know When You’ve Fully Paid Your Dues

morgan-freeman-godHow long does it take to pay your dues?
Ask an actor or theater buff about the art of paying your dues and you will most likely get the same response: You pay your dues for life.

Even the most successful names in the business recognize that the end game is actually retirement. Fame is not the end goal you’re seeking.

Entrepreneurs struggle with this concept too. Small business owners and even icons stop short of fully paying their dues before they should. The result is they have to work harder and dig deeper to make up for lost momentum.

What does it mean for a musician to pay their dues?

I have a few interpretations of this including that you have to be invested in your craft for a period of time and not a rookie or someone starting out. That’s one step of the due-paying process. You need experience in your field, and a resume of sorts to show that you’ve been through some fires, tried and succeeded while also trying and failing. Failure is a great teacher, and also a truer indicator of someone who is going to achieve great things. Failure to face failure and rise again is an indication of someone not truly vested in their journey.

Paying dues can mean several things, but the big picture is overcoming the tragic mindset of “arriving.” That old adage that “Life is a journey, not a destination” applies here. It means you keep working, keep investing in your future and keep honing your craft until you’re completely finished with everything you will do with it.

You pay your dues until the game is fully over.

I’m a fan of Chris Hardwick. I speak for fellow comic-book fans, sci-fi nerds, and others who have been misjudged because of our passions for (at one time) unpopular things in citing Hardwick as a hero. His Nerdist podcast is excellent because he speaks with people from many different walks of life, and the conversations almost always highlight some profound truth that changes the way I think.

One of his archived podcasts was with Morgan Freeman. There’s a million reasons to love Freeman, including his voice and the fact that he has played both God, Nelson Mandela, and Batman’s tech-brain (Lucius Fox) among other notable roles. In the podcast episode (listen here), Chris asked Morgan if he felt like he didn’t have to pay his dues anymore.

Morgan Freeman’s response was incredible. He said, “Nowhere is it written that your career has to ever be stabilized.” [Quote is at 26:29 of the interview and 28:20 is another point added to that; listen to the full interview to get the most out of Freeman’s wisdom]

Morgan Freeman still considers himself to be paying his dues.

Think about that for a minute.

Of all the actors in Hollywood, there are a short list of A-caliber individuals who can get any role, any time, without an audition, and probably command whatever paycheck for their time that they want. Freeman is on that list.

And he still feels that he’s paying his dues. This goes to show you that to be truly great, you never stop giving your all and proving your worth in everything you do.

Here’s the takeaway: You’re not going to finish paying your dues as an artist, musician, actor, entrepreneur, business owner or otherwise until you retire and hang up your gloves permanently. You may reach a level of success where you don’t have to work as hard or as long as you do in your early days, but that’s an attitude decision, not a reality decision.

Mick Jagger (Photo: Marty Melville, Getty Images)

Mick Jagger (Photo: Marty Melville, Getty Images)

When your attitude is to give your best every time, no matter what, you will have success that follows you everywhere. Proof of this is what Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone recently after telling the world that at 72 years old he and the band still want to play a world tour. Jagger said “always play your best show, every time.”

Based on that statement by one of the biggest names in the history of recorded music, telling artists that they still have to perform at their highest level each and every time regardless of how successful they may be is indicative of never fully paying your dues.

If Mick Jagger hasn’t fully paid his dues, none of us have.

What this also means is that we as Due-Payers should be looking for help in all we do where needed, and be humble enough to ask when we realize there’s something we don’t know.

I’m in that boat too, which is why I work with a coach to help me grow, improve, and make myself better.

What is it that you feel like you are still paying dues in, maybe even something you don’t want to still be paying dues in? Let’s talk. Let me know in the comments below.

*Chris Harwick is the author of The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life). You can buy it via the affiliate link which will benefit both you and me.

Right Attitude Is Key To Success in Music

Is money the key to building a successful enterprise in the music industry? According to some people’s attitude, that’s all you need to rise above the noise and prevent impending failure. However, it’s so far from the truth that it’s truly tragic some people not only believe it, but it captures their feelings on what composes success. Conversely, having the right attitude is the perfect key you need for success.

This goes without saying but I’ve seen and experienced it WAY too many times to name. Even recently, I had a long conversation with a guy on one of my social channels who had a really terrible attitude all the way through about his current state of business. He works in radio, has a station with (I presume) a decent audience size, but no matter what ideas or options we talked about, the prognosis in his mind was that the situation was hopeless because he had no money.

Blog-AttitudeI understand that. It’s really hard to get started doing anything, regardless of your market or industry, and even regardless of the experience you bring to the table or your personal connections to help you. Getting traction is really difficult. Musicians especially face an uphill battle going from completely unknown to known because there are SO many people making music, and the industry is BRIMMING with talent. However, despite all the competition and noise, it is possible to be heard and to make money with your product.

But failure to have the right attitude about this possibility (nay I say even chance), and you destin yourself to the fate you’ve chosen: failure.

Attitude is everything. Want more proof: read the so-called secrets or insights from some of history’s most successful people. i didn’t say the music industry’s most successful people or even business leaders most successful individuals. I said History. If the name Dale Carnegie doesn’t mean anything to you, you need to visit a library and at least read the description of How To Win Friends And Influence People (should be considered mandatory reading for anyone trying to make money outside of a corporate employer and even those people). His other big book is How To Stop Worrying And Start Living. All of his books, written in the early 1900s, correspond to the same theme: your thoughts and attitudes determine the reality you live in.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

I’ll name just a few other highly successful people in business and entertainment who have the exact same philosophy and have risen from poverty and the complete unknown to fame, wealth, and/or international notoriety. These individuals are Oprah Winfrey, Grant Cardone, Will Smith, Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt, Nelson Mandela, Morgan Freeman, and others. Each of these folks are world-renowned in their industries and have overcome tremendous obstacles on the path to success. What do they all have in common: a positive attitude.

Staying positive despite what challenges present themselves in your pathway is certainly not easy, which is why is it so uncommon. The easy option is to wallow in your sorrows, accept the thoughts that success will always elude you, and close your mind off to possibilities for improvement. This is common. Apart for what seems like the universe not favoring this attitude is the fact that people you are associated with don’t favor it either. You probably know a few people who see the glass as either half-empty or never having a drop in it, regardless of what is going on in their world. After a few conversations, these people will make you feel terrible about the world you know and become a huge drag on your emotions. Most of the time, you find yourself consciously and subconsciously avoiding them.

Consequently, if you adopt a similar attitude of failure, people will avoid you too. The same people who might be drawn to your music or your unique offering to the world will begin to be repelled by the stink of that bad attitude. A small few might be honest with you about why they are not as supportive as they once were, but most will remain silent. And you’ll be left wondering why.

Avoid this altogether by surrounding yourself with positive thoughts, positive people, uplifting messages and an attitude that good things will happen for you, regardless of what you may be seeing or feeling in the moment. We create the world we live in. This is the power of our thoughts. Want more insight into how to create and cultivate positive thinking, send me an email. I’d love to work with you on how to improve your life just with the power of positive thinking.