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Friday, February 21, 2020

Just another one of the freaks

Going to college in the midwestern, a guy who wore a nametag every day was about the most deviant and bizarre and conspicuous person walking the streets. 

People viewed my little sticker as a social faux pas at best, and a crime against humanity at worst. 

Which is not a judgment against them. Just example of what happens when you unleash your weirdness in the wrong place. 

Because when I relocated to the most populous, competitive, expensive and uninhibited city in the nation, suddenly my idea wasn’t so crazy anymore. 

I was just another one of the freaks. 

Think about it. At any given moment, some guy wearing a nametag is like, the seventeenth strangest thing you’ve seen that day. Considering there is also guy dressed as a storm trooper ordering coffee, an eighty year old street performer doing show tunes with his dancing mohawked chicken, some dude riding a unicycle while walking his three legged dog, a shirtless personal trainer perfectly executing a complete upper body workout on a single subway bar, and a homeless man peeing in a telephone booth, it’s safe to say that wearing a nametag is a benign act. 

Being just another one of the freaks is simply a matter of perspective. 

The point is, regardless of where we live and what our thing is, we all need people who think our crazy ideas aren’t so crazy. Or at the very least, people who are as crazy or crazier than we are, if only to make us feel normal by comparison. 

Godin said it best in his book about the positive side of weirdness:

The weird are now more important than the many, because the weird are the many. But we are at our best when we’re weird, and when we’re enabling others to become weird as well. Those brave enough to seek weird will thrive. 

Remember, geography is not destiny. Maybe the circus secretly wants to run away with you. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you unleashing your weirdness in the wrong place? 

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

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The sharp terror of a lost confidence in ourselves

Each of us is subjected to the nonstop jabbering of other people’s unsolicited opinions, advice and feedback. 

We can’t avoid it any more than we can avoid the law of gravity. 

But unless we are properly boundaried, we will quickly become flustered, flattened, enraged. The opinions of others will erode our belief in our inherent worth and activate the sharp terror of a lost confidence in ourselves. 

It’s bad times. 

One way to stop putting ourselves at the mercy of this criticism is by employing a feedback filter. It’s a binary grounding question we ask ourselves to recalibrate and put things in perspective. Here are two examples that have been helpful for me. 

Is this mine, or is this theirs? 

Is this a pattern, or an isolated event? 

Because if somebody’s opinion, solicited or not, comes out of left field and doesn’t track for us in the slightest, then it’s most likely the latter on both accounts. It’s more of a projection than a perception. More of a misfired accusation than a meaningful appraisal. 

Which is fine. We let people be in love with their opinions, but we use our filter to keep from getting get entangled in their emotions. 

Chinese philosophers wrote about this distinction a few thousand years ago, saying that the source of our strength lies not in ourselves but in our relation to other people, and if our emotional center of gravity depends on external opinion, we are inevitably tossed to and fro between joy and sorrow. 

Remember, each of us chooses how much weight we grant people’s opinions. 

Let us not abandon our path simply because others have a problem with it. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What binary filter helps you differentiate between constructive help and the feedback pinball machine?

* * * *
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, February 18, 2020

Our first duty is to ourselves

While eavesdropping on a conversation between two friends on the subway, one woman made a comment that baffled and bothered me. 

She was describing the relationship with her spiritual guru, sheepishly admitting the following:

You surrender your life to this person. They make a lot of big decisions for you. And it’s so easy to give them too much power in your life. 

Sounds more like manipulation than leadership. 

However, there is a porous boundary between the two. 

Because on one hand, masters and mentors have valuable experience to draw from, information and data that we don’t have, and insight and perspective that might be helpful. We humble ourselves at their feet. 

On the other hand, recklessly believing that any one person holds sole authority over the decisions we make is dangerous. Our first duty is always to ourselves. 

Like most things in this world, it all goes back to power dynamics. Especially when it comes to mentors and masters. We get dragged along in a mesmerizing current, swept inexorably toward a decision that could very well destroy us, but we fail to realize it because we are under a spell. 

Maybe because we made a significant emotional or financial investment. 

Maybe because we worship the ground someone walks upon and don’t want to disappoint them. 

Maybe because we have not learned to trust ourselves yet and are temporarily outsourcing our faith. 

The list goes on like a blind man circling the earth. There are as many motivations for giving away our power as there are people to give it to. 

What matters at the end of the day is, there is always a way to maintain our power in a situation. It requires intention, attention, setting boundaries, and carries the risk of upsetting, disappointing and even alienating people. 

Which sounds like lot of work, but nobody said that our duty to ourselves would be easy. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Are you more concerned with making the right decisions or making decisions right? 

* * * *
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, February 17, 2020

Self Compassion — Nametag Scott’s Workshop @ Metric Collective

If we treated others like we treated ourselves, we wouldn’t have any friends, probably get fired and maybe even go to jail.

What’s your favorite way to beat yourself up?

If you're like me, you can often be too hard on yourself.
I’ve been working on the skill of self compassion for many years. This is a workshop I recently conducted on the last day of my thirties.

It's compendium of daily meditations with insights, practices, habits and lessons I’ve learned. There's also a book that goes along with it, and if you want a free pdf copy, send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com.

Hope it’s helpful for you. 

And if not, don’t be so hard on yourself.




LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What’s your favorite way to beat yourself up?

* * * *
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, February 16, 2020

I’m right, you’re wrong. I’m right, you’re evil.

Our apparent belief in the power of honest dialogue is deeply delusional. 

Our leaders have built this enduring faith that once we spark a substantive, mature and meaningful discourse across the nation, one that creates an open forum where people can engage in introspection and thoughtful discussion, then we can expect all of our grievances to be righted instantly. 

Excuse me, but when was the last time that strategy worked? When was the last time starting a national conversation not only raised awareness of systemic problems within our society, but also paved the way for real concrete change? 

Because nowadays, these debates quickly spiral out of control and ultimately lead to nothing of substance beyond internet trolling, media sensationalism and mob tribalism. 

I’m right, you’re wrong? More like, I’m right, you’re evil. 

Morris, the award winning journalist and critic, wrote a provocative editorial about how our calls for national conversation are futile:

Anytime things get fractious and tragic, we inevitably hear calls for a national conversation. But the term has become the sad equivalent of the jolly drinking axiom, it’s always national conversation time somewhere. Whenever the mood around an issue ought to change, somebody will say that we need to talk about it. That we should be sitting around and figuring things out. Having real, substantive, difficult exchanges about our personal biases, about our bad policies that reach far and go deep. But we have been nationally conversing for so long, that it’s hard to know what we’re even saying. 

What we need, he urges, is empathy. Which is not a realization we come to by having a conversation with the nation, but a conclusion we reach first in conversation with ourselves. National conversations won’t cut it, only personal commitments will. That’s the real work. 

Just like slapping a label on someone is not the same as helping them, repeatedly talking about a problem is not the same as progress and change. 

If things are not the way we want them to be, it’s not because we haven’t marched enough. 

And it’s not because we failed to add yet another national conversation to our mounting agenda. 

It’s because we have become too locked into the positions we already have. 

It’s because we now refuse to admit when we are wrong. 

It’s because we lack the humility to outgrow some of our beliefs. 

Terminal certainty is a public health crisis, and it finally needs to be treated. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What does it feel like when you change your mind?

* * * *
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, February 14, 2020

We can either shrink in fear, or double down on our love

Selling earnestness in a cynical world is a risk. 

If we decide to become an agency of sincere expression, assert our incorrigible hopefulness and act wildly enthusiastic, for many people, them’s fighting words. To the extent that we might be shamed and alienated for our honest and heartfelt way of experiencing life. 

Happens to me all of the time. I’m a highly sensitive person whose earnest affections have been rejected and misinterpreted ever since he was young. 

Turns out, optimism bothers the hell out people. Especially the ones who believe they have been chosen as the barons of negativity. 

The good news is, we have a choice in how we respond to this resistance. It’s either fear or love. 

The fear response is to shrivel up like a frightened turtle and accept the story that we are hopelessly na├»ve romantics who need to get with the program and don the mantle of a bitter misanthrope in order to avoid getting hurt. 

You were warned about the dangers of our excessive optimism, and now it’s time abandon the last traces of your idealistic vision of the world. Queue forms around the block. 

The love response, is learning to see cynical people with kind eyes. Because they’re hurting. They’re fighting a battle that we know nothing about. And our optimism might trigger their belief that there is a limited supply of love to go around and stir up feelings of resentment. 

And yet, we don’t lose hope that our love might wear them down eventually. Because even if it doesn’t, we can still proudly measure our work by the optimism it left behind. 

We can still go to bed each night knowing that we brought more light than dark. 

Look, social pressure, herd mentality, cultural norms, these are potent forces that are pushing against us. 

People are probably looking forward to harboring their bitter resentment towards us for at least another decade. 

And so, we can either shrink in fear, or double down on our love. 

Happy Valentine's Day.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Have you accepted that your optimism may be the mirror that reflects back to people just how unhappy they really are?

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

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Panicked by the ticking of the clock

Here’s the thing about transition. 

Everything takes longer than we think it will. 

And even though there is a certain amount of peace in knowing that, after a few weeks or even a couple of months, no matter how busy and fulfilled we keep ourselves along the way, there is this creeping dread that seeps under the door like a fog. 

Its number one job will be trying to convince us that we are not enough. That we should be ashamed of ourselves for not arriving at our destination yet. And that our doubts are well founded and should be taken as gospel. 

Such a mindfuck. Like trying to get blood out of a stone. Or trying to fit an octopus into a pair of tuxedo pants. 

Worse yet, it’s not even that scary or painful of a feeling. It just sort of sits there. 

What do we do when our reliable clock of instinct tells us that we’re on a short countdown to destruction? How do we act when the shiver of superstitious dread passes through us? Where do we go to cope with our fear that the horizon ahead feels limited? 

Anywhere. Anywhere but here. 

Sometimes that’s all we need. A heroic dose of displacement. 

Because the more we dread something, the more awful we make it. But the sooner we remove ourselves to go perpendicular to the task at hand, even if only for a short while, the better we are going to feel. 

Everyone needs a detour. Even those who aren’t quite sure where they are heading. 

It’s the best way to stop being surprised every time we see difficult feelings looming on the horizon. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Was the clock ticking that loudly, or was it just your heart getting ready to explode?

* * * *
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, February 11, 2020

Nobody really wants us to be happy and healthy

In a conversation between two comedians, one fat and one thin, the larger of the two teases his newly skinny colleague.

You shouldn’t have lost all that weight. There’s nothing funny about a physically fit man. It’s lame. Nobody wants to watch a healthy person do standup comedy. 

Sadly, this is more than a punchline, it’s an honest illustration of how healthy and happy individuals are not interesting, newsworthy or relatable in modern society. 

Despite the irony that the global fitness industry generates eighty billion dollars in revenue each year, not to mention the weight loss industry, which rakes in another twenty billion a year, along with the happiness and mindfulness industrial complex in third place with another ten billion, the sad reality is, nobody really wants us to be healthy or happy. 

Consider the societal implications of such a state. 

On the macro level, happy and healthy people are harder to control, harder to scare, and harder to sell consumer goods to. Which is a serious threat to our economic and political landscape. 

On a micro level, healthy and happy people are simply annoying. They are subtle reminders of the unhealthy choices of other people’s lives. 

It reminds me of the parody commercial about the depressant drug for the annoyingly cheerful. The lead scientist reports, if you’re in good mood every so often, that’s fine. That’s normal. But for the persistently positive, excessively perky, gratingly upbeat and insufferably cheery, this chemical intervention might be necessary. 

Take it from someone who has been publicly shamed most of his life for being happy and healthy. Take it from someone who feels bullied by people’s urges for be less optimistic and more normal. It sucks.

It sucks being someone others have to figure out what to do with. It sucks that my hopeful attitude is something people tolerate at best and loathe at worst. It sucks that having an unrelenting positive outlook can be can be seen as completely dysfunctional an inappropriate. It sucks not realizing how much my chipper attitude probably affects those around me. 

But it doesn’t suck so much that my hope will be shattered. 

My love will wear the world down eventually.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Who might be harboring a pocket of resentment towards your health and happiness? 

* * * *
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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