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Monday, October 15, 2018

Treat everybody like a genius

One of my favorite rules from the improv comedy world is, treat everybody like they’re a genius. 

This idea goes far beyond saying yes and. Because at the most fundamental, treating everybody like a genius forces you to trust the communication process and believe that the other person has something valuable to say. 

It activates the wheels of your own curiosity, making you a more engaged and respectful listener, waiting eagerly to hear what pearls of insight might drop out of their mouths next. 

And the exciting part is, people prove you right. They actually become geniuses. Maybe not every time, but more often than not, thanks to this emotional placebo. Imagine if every workplace and team and family and marriage began from that place of trust and belief in each other. 

Kerouac famously wrote a manifesto about his unique approach for writing effective modern prose. Sure enough, the second to last item on his list was, you’re a genius all the time. 

It’s a perfect reminder that the interpersonal rule works individually, too. 

When you treat yourself with trust and belief and positive expectation, your brain delivers. 


LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What do you see when you see people?

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

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Relaxation is a second unpaid full time job

If we’re lucky enough to reach a state of complete relaxation in which we feel unburdened by life’s troubles, it’s probably not because we somehow mastered mindfulness or meditated enough or practiced yoga for ninety days straight. 

It’s likely because we acknowledged, accepted, erected and protected our own boundaries. Period. That’s where true relaxation comes from. Living a life with limits. 

Back in my workaholic days, when my life had about as many boundaries as a toddler hopped on homemade speed, relaxing was work for me. Facilitating the healthy interaction of the various parts of my life was like a second unpaid full time job. 

My home, for example, wasn’t a haven for joy and meaning and respite and human connection, it was an extension of the workplace. On any given day or night, I would find myself either completely overwhelmed by my work, or in withdrawal from it. 

Because there was no escape. The minute you walked into the house, kablam, you were punched in the face with the circus known as my career. There was no room for any non work pursuits. There was no physical or psychological distance between work and everything else. 

As my therapist used to joke, you were either in my work, or in my way. 

What’s more, there were no cognitive boundaries either. Nothing could help me resist the temptation to think about work and focus my attention on the people or activity at hand. My attention was perpetually held hostage by work. 

And so, even if people thought I was truly relaxed, I was just living in a strangled calm state. No matter how many days in a row I meditated. 

Lesson learned, true relaxation is something that comes from having boundaries that are air tight and completely integrated into your life that you don’t even think about them. 

Acknowledge them. Accept them. Erect them. And protect them. 

This process requires persistent, dedicated effort. 

But it’s worthwhile in trying to protect you from yourself. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Where in life do you feel the need for more effective boundaries? 

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

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Teetering to the edge of my favorite abyss

There’s a brilliant translation of eastern divination texts that explores the relationship between over thinking and execution. 

Cohen writes that initiative is the result of moving forward when we don’t know all the answers, leaping into the unknown that has a message of promise within it, and then turning it into something great by the very act of beginning. 

Meaning, instead of hiding beneath the skin of our thinking, we simply begin the process of working out in reality what we have settled on in our mind. And that first step taken affords the opportunity to ride the wave of success. 

Playing piano is the perfect example. Because as a veteran guitar player, my tendency when sitting down to an unfamiliar instrument is to try and think my way to the correct keys. To do the math and uncover the patterns and hear the notes inside my head first, then play. 

But it’s actually much easier, much faster and much more satisfying to just start playing. 

Without thinking. Without knowing. To simply press my bony fingers down on the ivories and see what happens. 

Besides, what’s the worst case scenario? You’re never more than a half step away from a right note anyway. And so, if you end up on a wrong one, just stop off in either direction, and you’re right again. 

Listen, you’ll have plenty of time to think later. For now, it’s all about movement. Because if you have any intention of getting your idea or project or business off the ground, you have to be careful not to do too much work inside your head. 

You have to stop trying so hard to be certain. 

Otherwise the conflict within you will cause a delay in action.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

When was the last time you survived not knowing? 

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

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Leaving fingerprints on your audience’s imagination

There are some people who are talented in ways that we never even dared to dream. 

Their special gifts rise from pools we cannot fathom and help this world achieve the impossible. 

And it’s a beautiful thing. If only we could touch the hem of their garment, maybe some of their magic will rub off. 

But on the other end of the genius spectrum, there are other people whose value isn’t so much their talent, but the context that their talent enables. 

Springsteen’s memoir makes a powerful point about this distinction. He says that in his fifty years in the rock and roll business, there were many musical acts where he never quite knew if they were great, but what he did know was that they did something great. And in certain cases, that was more important. 

Bruce said it best. 

It ain’t what you’re doing, but what happens while you’re doing it that counts. 

And so, instead of asking yourself the same old tired questions about following your passion and finding your talents, consider it contextually. Operationally. Communally. 

When your talent is flourishing fully, how do the people around you change? When you find a vehicle worthy of your talents, where does it take your team? When you get hired for a new position, what will be the impact of the company’s ownership of your value? 

Perhaps your talent is less of a purpose and more of a platform. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Are you worried about being great, or doing something that enables greatness? 
* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

In our past are many diamonds covered in mud

I was doing some research on corporate culture when I came came across an archive of old employee feedback forms. 

One alumni team member offered future applicants the following warning. 

Consider this job your basic training for the cruel, darkest side of the industry. It’s creatively crushing. Don’t expect your good ideas to go very far. In fact, expect a lot of bad ideas to pass for the everyday standard. But the upside is, if you survive, you will adorn this thick skin forever, learn to appreciate a good place when you see it, and learn to recognize a bad place when you see it. 

It sounds like a brutal, disillusioning and stressful work experience. But then again, the person who wrote the review clearly came out stronger on the other side. 

And maybe that’s the point. Because the search for understanding is never over. Each of us must seek access to experiences that grant us a different angle, give us a completely new sense of how the world works and eliminate the burden of our narrow perspective. 

Otherwise, what else are we doing here? Life is supposed to be one long never ending game of naiveté reduction. 

And so, when we look back at the shitty jobs and toxic relationships and mental low points of our lives, let us reaffirm even the faintest glimmer of optimism in our failing spirit. Because in our past are many diamonds covered in mud. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What pain are you currently suffering that will be worth it to bring you to a new awareness?

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

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Hitting our collective bottom

The benefit of hitting bottom is, it causes us to hold a new type of conversation with ourselves. 

It forces us to recognize the festering of our own emotions. The disgust with whom we’ve become is what makes us say, okay we’re ready. This isn’t funny anymore. It’s time for a wholesale cleanup. 

Rushdie, when reflecting on his recent bout of depression, joked that one of the great benefits of hitting bottom is, now you know where the bottom is. 

Anyone struggling with addiction can relate to this moment. When life gives us the gift of a low, we finally realize just how far off course we’ve gotten. There’s no more guessing about where or how we went wrong, and so, all we can do is accept it, own it, forgive ourselves for it and start taking action to heal it. 

The fascinating part is, this bottom out moment not only happens to people, but also to communities. Cultures. Sometimes entire countries. There’s some catastrophic event that rocks the tribe to their core. It creates a seismic shift in their collective conviction. And people shout out loud, first inside of their heads and then outside in the world, okay, this is bullshit. We can’t live like this anymore. 

And then, just like the alcoholic who wakes up naked on the side of the road in a pool of his own vomit, the culture, too, wakes up. Maybe for the first time in a long time. And the subterranean forces just below the surface of their collective psyche start steering the ship of their actions. 

They start making plans, asking for help, donating money, volunteering their talents and doing whatever work is required to heal. In the hopes that accepting their brokenness might crack them opens to a new kind of wholeness. 

It’s one of our greatest human endowments. The ability to catalyze the energy of disgust into an agent of change. 

And so, before you start chiming the armageddon bell, consider the gift of hitting bottom. Use it to help yourself to a big humility sandwich. 

And then use that energy to go out there and make things better. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What if things were meant to get bad in order to mobilize you to take a step in the direction of your wholeness?

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

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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

When people look at you like your dog does

Think about the last ingenious idea you had. 

Inside the theater of your mind, it sounded interesting, useful and even profitable.

But then, once you shared it with your team, people looked at you like your dog does. Tilted heads, vacant eyes and drooling jowls. Even as you heard the idea came out of your mouth, you couldn’t help but realize just how absurd it really was. 

Why does this happen? Why do things sound so much better inside our heads? 

Simple. Because humans are idiots. 

Actually, here’s the real answer. When we try to regulate by ourselves, we get stuck in a circle. It’s only through the context of the other person that we reach true understanding. 

That’s why it’s so important to get out of our heads and verbalize our thoughts and feelings and ideas with other people. The social mirrors automatically surface the weaknesses and complexities of our own thinking. By using our words, the audience shows us what’s wrong with our thinking and what’s right with it. 

This concept plays out in musical performance all the time. When the composition phase of a tune is complete, that doesn’t mean the song is finished. Quiet the contrary. It’s just starting the journey of finding out what kind of song it was born to become. 

Stipe, the lead singer of the most successful alternative rock band in history, says that the real song only emerges during live performance. Because unlike singing into a hairbrush in the hotel bathroom, now there’s actually an audience to receive the music. A social mirror to reflect back the song’s true potential. A backboard against which the artist bounces his original idea and, in return, receives a more evolved version of what he started out with. 

That’s the divine gift of the other. The space between us is generative and holy. 

And so, whatever you’re thinking and feeling, whatever ideas are running through your brain, don’t keep them to yourself for too long. Because connectedness is the only frame in which we healthily and successful regulate. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What are you keeping to yourself that needs to come out? 

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

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Monday, October 08, 2018

Pressure so small, it can’t be measured

It’s a great relief to look to nature for simplicity. 

We can use it as a way to calm down during times of chaos and not further complicate our existing problems. 

For example, how does the flower push its way up from the ground and through the crack in the concrete? Simple. Throw slow, gradual, persistent pressure that’s so small, it can’t even be measured.

That’s the kind of thing that makes me feel like everything is going to be okay. Watching something that uses all of its divine urge and power to thrive in spite of every manner of hardship? That’s heroic. 

And if a flower can do it, so can we. 

The hard part is, whatever progress we make won’t come to us as a gift. We will have to work for every inch of growth. Ask anyone who’s been in a band or a startup for a while. 

People labor in obscurity, usually for many years, before they gain traction and receive mass appeal. Everything takes longer than we think it will. 

But the rewarding part is, regardless of the outcome, our progress can never be taken away from us. The person we blossom into along the way, that’s ours. We own that. It's our property. Forever. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...


Have you accepted that making your idea real in the world takes consistent, persistent, unglamorous application of energy toward that idea?

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

It's the world's first, best and only product development and innovation gameshow!

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