Monday, October 4, 2010

Beyond The Advance

As soon as trouble comes, we want to be rescued right away. When we are working at something, we want the payment before the work has been completed.  Therefore, it is safe to say that most of the time we want all of the rewards, answers and solutions for our problems and our work right up front.  We settle for Mr. or Misses Right Now.  We take credit cards and loans with high interest rates.  We want to lose ten pounds in ten days.  We devour fast food while on the go. What we often fail to think about is what this obsession with expediting our life, experiences and allowances might actually cost us.  If you are going through some type of trial right now, you probably want the answer, the victory, or you just plain old want things to get better right now…but sometimes, waiting until after the storm to see the sunshine and the rainbow makes it worth the wait.

Talented authors and musicians often get hefty monetary advances for book and record deals.  This means that they get a lump sum of money up front, which will be made back once their books or records begin to sell.  It seems like a sweet deal, and quite often is, but, if the advance is not made back in sales, then the artist does not receive anything above and beyond it.  They do not get the overflow.

An advance may sound like the best things since sliced bread, but let’s look at it from another angle…

When I visited the "And Still We Rise" exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, the charismatic tour guide led us through each area and taught us tons of interesting tid bits that confirmed for me how much our history informs our present state of being. 

In 1862 the current president, Abraham Lincoln, issued an executive order to free slaves.  It was called the Emancipation Proclamation. Sad to say, many slaves never experienced true freedom because their owners had another plan in mind.  Most of the slaves were held because of the debt that they owed to their master's.  The owners had the audacity to say that since they provided food, clothing and shelter for the slaves, that they had to work off that debt before they were truly allowed to be free.
Upon hearing this I made an immediate correlation between the happenings around the Emancipation Proclamation then, and the music industry now.  Artists are given weighty advances, fancy cars, clothing and jewelry upon signing a record deal.  The allure of it all prompts eager singers and rappers to sign thick contracts without reading the fine print.  Once the record drops and millions of copies are sold, the rising star is left wondering why they are seeing little to no profit from all of their hard work.

What they fail to realize is that they are in fact paying for all that they were afforded in advance.  The company deducts the advances and expenses from the profits made from the units sold.

So very similar to the situation with the slaves, we may think that we have made it big time by getting big things quickly, but what we are really faced with is a big time disappointment as we work to repay a debt that we never asked for in the first place. This might also correlate to authors who sign major book deals.  All of this goes to show that in many instances, up front advances, quick fixes and easy answers come at a much higher cost.

Now that I’ve got you thinking, I want you to relate this to your life.  I want you to think about how when we have a problem, we want the solution right away.  We may get that answer or incentive, and it may be good, but what we don’t realize is that what we could have gotten on the other end is far more valuable.  We don’t go through anything in vain. Everything that we experience is for a reason. As soon as things go wrong, we run to God and want him to fix it on the spot.  If He does not, we get upset and feel that He does not hear our cries.  We don’t trust Him, so we look for that quick fix instead.

If we just trust Him and wait to get through something, then we will come out in the end equipped with strength, patience and knowledge in addition to a desired income that will exceed our expectations. Since we’ve put in the hard work, the sweat and the tears, the payment that we receive, or the solution to our problem is so much more savory.  Sometimes we just have to wait patiently to see what is beyond the advance. Why settle for good when you can have great?

If the answer to your problem is not coming as quickly as you would like, it’s ok!  Know that an even sweeter deal is on the way.

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