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Friday, July 01, 2016

Forcing yourself to fight for your life

Every successful goes through some version of boot camp. 

It’s that initial indoctrination and instruction that’s designed to push them to their physical and mental limits, much further than they would normally push themselves alone. It’s intense, it’s stressful, it’s fast and it’s unforgiving. 


And yet, nobody regrets it. Because when they look back five, ten, even twenty years later, they realize that their boot camp created the basis for action in the battlefields of the future. 


I played high school football for four years. And every summer, we suffered through twoadays. Practicing from seven in the morning until three in the afternoon, in full pads, in one hundred degree heat, every single day. For two weeks. 


It was hell on earth. Making it to lunch without passing out was a victory in itself. 


And yet, we all knew it was good for us. Our boot camp conditioned our bodies, our bonds and our minds. What’s more, in those few weeks, we clocked the equivalent to six months of playing time. Even though season hadn’t even started year. 


That’s how boot camps work. They allow you to accumulate significant experience in a compressed unit of time. 


And so, whatever dream you’re chasing, the healthiest thing you could do, especially early on in the process, is to find a way to put yourself through boot camp. To surrender yourself to a process and a venue and an experience that’s outside of your control. 


One that forces you to fight for your life. One that takes you on a ride before you’re ready to go on one. One that promises total exhaustion from tasks that are outside of your skill set. 


Like the newly formed garage band who books themselves on a thirty city tour playing shithole bars with terrible acoustics and apathetic audiences. Get in the van and get ready to develop a case of the humbles. 


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What awaits you in the refining fire of discipline?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Get a job where you don’t have to think

I have a friend who worked his way through nursing school washing store windows for nine bucks a pop. 

It wasn’t the most glamorous or lucrative or stimulating job, but it paid in cash, it gave him a good workout and, most importantly, allowed him to do something mindless for a few hours a day. 

Nursing, after all, is a deeply draining profession, both intellectually and emotionally. And so, washing windows allowed the part of his brain that controlled that function have free rein. It set him on automatic pilot. A sweet, liberating release from the bloody chaos of the clinical world. 

What a nourishing gift to give yourself. Especially if you’re engaged in a lengthy, challenging, dynamic and exhausting project. If you find yourself feeling like all the demands of the world have been placed on your thin and trembling shoulders, go do something where you don’t have to think. Work perpendicular to the task at hand with an activity or a task or an action that turns off the problem solving mechanism in your brain and just lets you be for a little while. 

Think of it as a field trip for your mind. A mental detour with no destination in sight. That way, when it’s time to reengage your creativity and intellect and emotions in the service of your meaning making efforts, you’ll feel rested, recalibrated, rejuvenated and ready to bite into the real work, once again. 

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What activity could you engage in to put your brain on automatic pilot? 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A new phase of the spirit is preparing itself

According to an interview with a sleep expert and clinical professor of psychology at the most prestigious university in the country, between twenty and fifty per cent of people have had at least one academic anxiety dream in their lifetime. 

You know the one. It’s where you show up late to class for the final exam of and realize that you’re completely unprepared. 

I have this dream often. Typically when I’m anxious about some performance or project or in my waking life. And it always follows the same script. It’s the end of the semester and I have nothing to show for myself. No homework. No notes. Nothing. 

And so, I freeze. I feel helpless and overwhelmed. And just when I start scrambling my way back to conscientiousness, I wake up. Usually short of breath. At which point, I remind myself that it was all a dream and everything is going to be fine. 

What a way to start the day. 

What’s interesting, though, is that this dream can actually invert when you’ve recently completed a certain phase of development or growth in your life. I remember when I spent two days recording hours and hours of audio and video footage for my second music film. It was deeply fulfilling, creative and fun, but also exhausting and expensive and excessive. 

By the end of the weekend, I could barely function. But to my surprise and delight, the night we wrapped production, I had the opposite of an academic anxiety dream. 

This time, sitting at my desk, staring at the exam, I felt calm and relaxed and competent and confident and capable of using my skills to get the job done. I arrived early, I finished on time, and I enjoyed the process in between. My professor even pulled me aside after class to ask if I would consider being captain of his competitive problem solving team. 

No anxiety there. 

I snoozed my alarm four times just to go back under and see what happened next. 

The point is, not all exam dreams are frightening. Especially if your waking life is growing and moving forward and taking on new challenges. 

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What’s your most recurring dream?

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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

They took up the cross I thought I was going to have to bear alone

Philippe’s compelling book on his creative process explains that to offer the most honest performance, he must be all alone. He must be prisoner of the fortress of his art. And so, he creates a giant wall around himself and, inside that wall, follows his honesty and intuition. 

I agree with his philosophy, but only eighty percent of the time. Because the other twenty requires collaboration. For years, I had it in my head that I must always work alone. 

But the reality is, it doesn’t make sense to be a singular unit. Brains need other brains. Trying to regulate by ourselves is like being trapped in a circle. We can’t survive alone, and even if we could, we wouldn’t want to. 

What I’m learning is, collaboration isn’t about compromise; it’s about ending up somewhere else. Somewhere different. Somewhere better. Somewhere we never could have gotten by ourselves. 

That’s my favorite part about executing creative projects with a team. Despite my control freak tendencies, despite my incurable individualism and despite my allergy to feedback, collaborating challenges me to expand the echo chamber of my own mind. 

It forces me to walk in alien worlds in order to see the project afresh. And it gifts me with the opportunity to see my own work through the eyes of another. 

That’s priceless perspective. And it doesn’t have to happen all day, every day. But anything less than twenty percent, and I don’t feel connected to the world in the way that I need to be to be the best version of myself. 

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Whom are you asking to take up your cross with you?
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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A display of a lack of human regard

Respect doesn’t require extra time. 

Just intention and attention. And that can be the different between a happy customer and an infuriated hater who leaves a one star review online. 

Macinnis’s fascinating study about incivility found that customers are less likely to patronize a business that has an employee who is perceived as rude. Something as simple as witnessing an uncivil interaction can lead customers to negatively generalize about employees, the organization, the brand and any future encounters with the company. 

In fact, the study found that customers who experienced these moments of incivility actually desired for revenge against the perpetrator. It’s called deontic justice, which is a form of organizational fairness based on what is the correct moral course of action for a company or an individual. 

For example, after witnessing an uncivil interaction, say, between a floor manager and a forgetful waitress, customers are more likely to spread negative word of mouth about the restaurant and ultimately take their business elsewhere. 

Retail businesses cannot overlook this reality. Because there’s always somebody watching. 

And so, if we’re insensitive and disrespectful and rude to the people we work with, that display of a lack of human regard will trickle down to the bottom line. It doesn’t mean we have to love everyone we work with. Be we still have to respect them. Even when they screw up. 

Not acting how we feel doesn’t make us hypocrites, it makes us adults. 

Incivility, on the other hand, is the easy way out. 

Remember, each one of us is accountable for our own happiness. Not just for the sake of our sanities, but out of respect for the people we work with and work for everyday. 

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How is your company mitigating against the detrimental effects of incivility?

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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Moments of Conception 206: The Computer Scene from Willy Wonka

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.


Based on my books in The Prolific Series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.


Today's clip comes from the computer scene in Willy Wonka: 





Ideas evaporate unless they are massaged into reality. We can brainstorm ideas until we’re blue in the face. But eventually, it comes time to stop creating and start judging. That’s what separates the prolific innovator from the professional researcher. Their ability to stop gathering data and think about what has been gathered. Their capacity to shift neural gears in a hurry and click into a different zone at a moment’s notice. Computers, unfortunately, cannot do this. They can’t tell you where the next golden ticket can be found. Because what a computer does doesn’t depend on how it’s built, but on the program fed into it. The good news, however, is that human being can hone this skill. It’s simply a matter of punctuation. Establishing a line of demarcation. A microstructure that sets a boundary between gathering dating and thinking about what’s been gathered. Recently I was writing my course curriculum on being prolific. I reached the point where I had to transition from conceptual, freestyle brainstorming to more technical, structured outlining. And so, I used a centering sequence, which is a combination of deep breathing and incantation. I recited specific language that supported my intention to move in a certain direction, i.e., I am completely stopping, I am ready to start judging. I’ve used this tool multiple time each day for many years, and I find it’s a way of making a full body announcement that I’m entering into a different relationship with my mind. The ritual creates the necessary space to find the organizing principle of an idea, which moves the idea from word to flesh, from concept to reality. How do you transition from creating mode to judging mode?

You have ruined my sense of reality. I just finished reading a novel about a husband who kidnaps his wife for ransom. In the final chapter, there’s a powerful passage, in which the woman comes to terms with her new reality. “It’s a big blow, finding out a person isn’t who you thought they were, that the world isn’t the way you thought it was. You’re living your life under certain assumptions, and then you find out they’re all wrong. You thought you were walking on firm ground, but you’re really walking through a swamp of shit.” I know that moment. It’s sad and jarring you feel betrayed and you start to think you don’t understand the world anymore. I’m reminded of when I quit my first job. I spent an hour writing an earnest, thoughtful letter of resignation to my bosses, thanking them for believing in me, even requesting a face to face meeting so I could share my appreciation in person. Pretty professional, don’t you think? The bosses ignored me for two weeks. Literally, not a word. No acknowledgement. No exit interview. Just silence. Unbelievable. It really bothered me. I felt empty and invisible. Not because I was expecting balloons and cake, but a simple goodbye would have been enough. Jesus. Grant me that much. The point is, life is full of disappointment. As much as we’d like to remove the teeth from the cruel bite of reality, we can’t pretend that the world is different than it is. But that shouldn’t keep us from doing our best to make sense of it all. Because odds are, in the end, the majority of the tally marks will be in the win column. Are you shielding yourself from the sharp edges of reality?

Deep in the throes of delusion. Most artists and creators and inventors spend their days alone in a room with nothing but their minds to rely on. In fact, most of them will attest, you have to be a little deluded to stay motivated. Because if you cannot delude yourself into thinking your work is significant, you should probably find another career. And if you don’t think what you’re creating is the greatest thing that ever was, if you haven’t convinced yourself that your ideas are legitimately going to change people’s lives forever, you’re finished. It’s grandiose, but it’s also part of the job description. Nobody stands at foot of an unblazed trail without a few mental abnormalities. A certain level of healthy narcissism and productive arrogance are required to thrive. And so the question is, how do you know when your inventory of deceptions is dangerously imprisoning your creative potential, or when it’s actually buttressing your ideas for the better? Sadly, you don’t. Uncertainty is part and parcel of the creative process. Every new idea is just another public bet with your imagination. Consider history’s greatest innovators. Bell didn’t do market research before he invented the telephone. Jobs didn’t hold focus groups before he changed the music industry forever. Ford didn’t give his customers the faster horse that they asked for. And yet, each of their creations changed everything. Because these innovators operated from received wisdom, not perceived expertise. They knew that nobody knows what nobody wants until they actually see it. Proving, that all we can do as creators is trust our instincts. We can have faith that with every new idea we have, with every new project we execute, and with every new dimension we add to our being, our powers of perspective and judgment and contextual understanding will deepen. And we can hope that when our delusions take us too far, the people we love will help bring us back to earth. How do you know when you’re being delusional, and when everyone else is wrong and they just can’t see it yet?

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What did you learn from this movie clip?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Buddha is not your brand manager

Apatow receives widespread criticism for making comedies that are tool long. 

Viewers and critics alike argue that most of his films could be cut down by about thirty to forty minutes a piece. 

And yet, the director couldn’t care less about people’s opinions. Because he’s the writer, director and producer of his films, and he can do whatever he wants. He answers only to himself. In fact, he explained the reasoning behind the length of his films during a recent interview. Judd said:

My movies are a just version of creative hoarding. They’re so long because I can’t let anything go. 

That’s inspiring to me. Here’s an artist who’s honest about his emotional attachment to his work. A man who openly admits his unwillingness to discard what he’s created. 

It’s a reminder that there’s no attachment police that’s going to put us under arrest for clinging to something that’s important to us. We’re adults. We can do whatever we want. 

Buddha famously said that the root of suffering is attachment, but he’s not our brand manager. That’s canonical literature, not creative law. It’s a paragon of virtue beyond where any of us really live. 

Non attachment is a fine idea, but it’s also one of those ideas with a halo around it, something that is an undisputed good. 

Don’t let the world convince you that less is always more. Sometimes more is more. Cling to whatever you want. Pruning is for gardeners.

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What’s your favorite strategy for trapping yourself into doing your own thinking?

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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Trap yourself into doing your own thinking

Thanks to the technological trappings in which our culture has dressed itself, we’ve officially stopped thinking. 

Because we're too occupied with responding. 

With so many thousands of messages and signals and pings and notifications demanding our attention, it’s a wonder anything gets done at all. 

The sad part is, quality hasn’t risen commensurate with volume. Eighty percent of the information we respond to is completely unnecessary. And that’s being generous. Consider the number of emails you delete on a given day. 

However, we’re not completely zombified just yet. There’s still hope for the human brain. We just have to go out of our way to trap ourselves into doing our own thinking. 

I recently spent two full days sequestered in a windowless courtroom, waiting around to be selected for jury duty. And it could have been an sterile, meaningless experience. But instead, I treated it as an opportunity to form some thoughts. About topics I wouldn’t have normally considered. In an environment that I didn’t typically frequent. 

And it was fascinating. In fact, it was quite liberating. Because without mobile service or television screens or wifi access, there was nothing to respond to. And all I could do was think. Who knew such a simple act would become a designer crusade? 

That’s the culture we’ve crafted for ourselves. Toffler was right when he predicted that the future was rapidly articulating itself, much faster than our constitutions could handle. 

Perhaps it’s our job to make sure we’re doing more than just responding to stimuli. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What’s your favorite strategy for trapping yourself into doing your own thinking?
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For the list called, "99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren't One," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!