010 – Practicing Rigor in Giving Credit Where It’s Due

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Podcast

We are all building on the work others have done in some capacity. The question is – do we notice when this is happening? Do we thank or acknowledge others when we’ve modeled or iterated on their work?

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David prompts us to think about giving credit where it’s due.


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00:17 – There’s no growth in unicorns farting rainbows
00:44 – Giving without expecting anything in return
01:22 – Acknowledgement as a practice
02:53 – Co-opting the work of the trailblazers who’ve gone before you


Today I wanted to talk about something that may not be entirely comfortable. And if we want to grow, we can’t always be talking about unicorns farting rainbows. It’s great to envision a future that you want to create and then to be as enthusiastic as you possibly can about it. But that’s not necessarily where the growth is.

The growth is usually in the breakdowns and the resulting breakthroughs. And you can find those breakthroughs rapidly if you get good at it.

The thing that I’ve noticed is this – there’s a lot of things I do without ever expecting anything in return. I give to charitable organizations. I support certain creators that I like, as I’m sure you do. I give people in my life a lot of time and space to talk and work out their problems and share with me what’s going on in their lives.

And I practice conversational generosity, something Dale Carnegie talks about in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

There are many things I do from a generous spirit, and I’m not looking for anything in return.

But then there are also situations where I am expecting something. Maybe not a lot, but I’m still expecting some kind of courtesy or favor to be returned. And the interesting part is… if you go into any of my books, in the back, you will inevitably see a long list of people that I thank.

I may not be personally connected to them. I may not have ever met them in real life and shaken their hand. And yet, I’ve learned a lot from these people.

Even in The New Music Industry, you can see me thanking people like Bob Baker, Tom Hess, Ariel Hyatt, and Derek Sivers. These are people that I looked up to, and still do, in many ways.

I learned so much from them, and I find they’ve added a lot of value to my life. And they’ve added a lot of value to me in my career pursuits, and my business pursuits. Everything that I’ve done to this point.

And yet, What I’m seeing out there is… I’m in touch with pretty much every podcast that I’ve ever been mentioned on, which is not many.

And I could even recall a circumstance where, it’s not the guy’s fault, but he was sitting there going like, “Yeah, dang, I can’t remember his name.”

Look, we’re all human. That happens to me, too. I’ve given as much credit as I possibly can to all the people that I could possibly remember or think of that contributed to me. And yet I probably have still forgotten. And, and I think that’s where we got to let bygones be bygones, right?

But there are people who’ve literally built on the things that I’ve done, whether it’s my books, my blog posts, or my podcast, and some have built on it without knowing it, right? If they don’t know it there’s nothing, we can do about it.

But others have very knowingly built on something that I created. And it’s good. I want to see iterations on what else people come up with. Better music books for musicians, better coaching programs, better podcasts, or better business models. I’d love to see all that, right?

And yet this is where I give thanks to every single author, speaker, coach, mentor, blogger, podcaster, YouTuber that I can think of that’s contributed to me.

And those people don’t so much as thank anyone, let alone me, for building upon something that I worked my butt off to do.

It’s not like I got started yesterday. Some people get that confused, like, “Oh, you started your podcast in 2016, that must feel like a while.” No, no, no. I started podcasting in 2009. And I started doing interviews in 2004. Even before that, I was already starting to serve musicians in a local community capacity. Okay? So, it’s not like this just emerged out of nowhere.

This has been a passion and an interest, something that I’ve pursued over the long haul. I’ve really invested myself into this. So, I didn’t just spring up yesterday.

And yet I think some people have built on what I’ve done without ever sending so much as a thank you note. That would be unimaginable to me. Just saying. For me, that would be unimaginable.

I would even suspect people are owing me royalties. I’m not asking for any money. Right? That’s not why we’re in this conversation. If you feel led in that direction, if then I would ask for a generous contribution. Absolutely.

But if that’s something you’re not moved to do, then forget it. Bye.

Do you owe me at least a “Thank you,” though, for the hard work I’ve put into laying the groundwork for you to exist? That’s the question. Because I do it. I demonstrate it every single day in my work. I give thanks to the people who taught me what they taught me – the concepts, everything they gave me. The life I now have is because of what they did.

And for some people, the life they now have is because of what I did. And they don’t see it. Do you see?

Who’s helped you on your journey, and do you thank them? And if not, why not?