The jerk always loses in the end.

It is often that you find within bands and people that are attempting to make it an ego and self self entitlement that often goes unchecked. In other words people will be total assholes and jerks to you because of the work they are doing and the position they feel like they’re in. Which goes to make one ask the question, “is it worth it, if that’s what I become?” So many artists and so many people let their “fame” get the best of them. I can tell you as a person in a band that has been trying to make it, that there have been individuals who have threatened blacklisting, have tried to get us off of shows, and tried to backstabbing us at every corner, and for what? “Is your band so good that mine can’t exist?” I asked. What planet are we living on that people can feel so entitled and threaten what you are doing because they didn’t agree with something, or they didn’t have their way? I have never ever liked bullying and fully believe anyone using this technique will eventually find it will be their downfall. I understand our work is competitive with so many bands and so much music, but that gives no excuse to just be an asshole, plain and simple, because you never know who is going to be important in your life in the future, and sometimes your greatest enemy will become your greatest ally, and vice versa. Nothing is constant and nothing is concrete the world is always flowing, and those who try to make it move with fire will be the first ones to be put out. No one is better than anyone else, and self entitlement and ego are what make great men petty ones. This is something I have really been thinking about and trying to put into practice especially with dealing with fans, so many bands and people try to completely alienate their fans, but you have to remember it is those people who in times of trouble might be the only ones who are there for you, and deserve utmost respect. As the saying goes, “treat others as you would want to be treated and they will do the same.” Also don’t be a jerk.
-Dalton Winfree

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humility.

Lately the concept of humility has been a reoccurring thought and topic in conversation, on a personal level as well as an observational level. It seems to be a problem that many of us struggle with, I can’t say for sure what the cause of this is, but in my opinion a lot of it is cultural. We live in we live in society that tells us our entire life that we can become anything we aspire to. Anything? I’m not sure if I agree with that or not. It may be possible but only if you’re willing to work for it. That may be where the problem is, we all seem to have some sense of entitlement that everything should just happen for us. Would that ever happen? I guess when you hear something so often it really can work its way into your brain, especially if its something you want to believe. On the other hand I do think think happiness and fulfillment can be found in the pursuit of passion, but that can only happen once you are able to shake those feelings of entitlement otherwise you will find yourself disappointed and frustrated more often. Regardless of the situation be humble, work hard, and take advice. People will catch on, they’ll want to be around you. No one likes an ego. From time to time I have to take a step back to reevaluate myself, who am I, do I deserve this or do I just think I should have it because I want it? If you can catch yourself on these things not only will you be more pleasant to work with but you will be happier and more content with your situation. All of these things are inward and reflective. I think that there are also physical ways that you can work on this, opening yourself up to helping those who need it you definitely learn to appreciate your own situation more. It can also be as easy as keeping a sober mind, critical thinking seems to be the first thing out the window when you are messing with your brain chemistry. These are things we often seem to forget but could benefit by putting a little thought into.

-William Donald Whited

A Code to live by

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The other day I was watching the Movie 47 Ronin, a not so good movie, with what felt like scenes that had been terribly cut and made the entire film felt beyond very rushed. But as I was watching that movie, I ended up looking up the actual story of the 47 Ronin and this thing called Bushido. Bushido is the code of ethics that the Samurai in ancient Japan lived by. They lived by eight virtues:

1. Justice

2. Courage

3. Benevolence “mercy”

4. Politeness

5. Honesty and Sincerity

6. Honor

7. Loyalty

8. Character and Self Control

Samurai were raised to display these qualities, and live with the greatest honor. So important was there honor that if they did something that could be considered dishonorable they would commit seppuku (a ritual suicide of driving a short blade in their abdomen from left to right in a slicing motion) to regain their honor. They were warriors who did everything to serve and honor their shogun, to the very end. In many ways I feel as if we should take these qualities and this courage and apply it to our daily lives, not to the extent where we commit Seppuku, (ha not at all) But to the extent that we ourselves are making ourselves more honorable in a society that has seemed to have forgotten what it means to be moral and just. It is often in this society of America where vices such as having a complete lack of self control, dishonesty, disloyalty, and being completely egotistical and looking out for yourself are “good” and “just things.” To find the truth in this all you have to do is turn on the TV and just let it ride. Think about all the beer commercials promoting the party lifestyle, all the shows about cheating and lying, all the shows about making tons of money, it is these concepts and these things that seep into our daily lives and allow us to excuse our behavior, because we saw it, and are mimicking and getting these false concepts stuck in our heads. Our society feels as if it is self entitled to everything, I cannot tell you how many conversations I have heard of “what is best for me” and “Well I don’t know if that’s what I want to do.” Well, maybe some things aren’t always going to be best for you, and maybe some things aren’t going to be what you entirely want to do, but at the end of the day no one is better than anyone, and maybe instead of what can I do for myself today, maybe you should turn around and ask “what can I do for you today?” Because just like the samurai they knew they had to help serve and humble themselves to be the tools of honor and integrity, and maybe we should all do the same.

-Dalton Winfree