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Sunday, March 29, 2015

The only investment that matters

Creativity is a forced savings account. 

You make small, daily deposits. And then you look back after a period of time and say, wow, I have a huge balance. I wonder what I should spend it on? 

That’s how I’ve been working for years. Every day, I put as many words on the page as I can. I get on kicks, I follow conceptual pathways as long as they bear fruit, and when the point of diminishing returns approaches, I pivot and write about something else. 

But I never pick my head up. I never look over my shoulder. I just keep creating and keep riding the momentum and trust that I’ll end up somewhere interesting. And then, usually several months later, I finally step back to behold my inventory. I sit there and take a good look at the ground taken. 

More importantly, I let the inventory take a good look at me. I inhale while it exhales. And that’s when I know it’s time to stop creating and start judging. It’s time to transition from passive accumulation mode to strategic creation mode. 

This process, treating creativity as a forced savings account, is how I’ve published thirty books, seven musical albums and a feature length documentary. It works. 

Never underestimate the prolific power of compound interest. 

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What might be possible through your slow, unsexy, consistent creative increments?

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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 2015-2016.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Patient incrementalism wins in the end

Gould first conceived the invention of the laser in a late night flash of inspiration. 

According to the obituary of the prolific physicist, when he first got the idea, he knew it would be the most important work of his career. And so, he spent a caffeine and nicotine fueled weekend laboriously compiling pages of calculations in his laboratory notebook, and then had the foresight to have his work notarized at a neighborhood candy store. 

Unfortunately, he spent the next three decades persuading federal courts to uphold his patents on his device. His sat on the sidelines while his colleagues won prestigious awards. The government forbade him to work on his project and view his original notes. Even the press derided him as nothing but an attic inventor with a candy store patent. 

But the inventor ultimately got his due. Gould had the last laugh when he received patents on the device that brought him more than thirty million in royalties. It’s one of my favorite creativity case studies of all time. 

The story of laser teaches us many lessons. 

First, writing is the basis of all wealth. If you don’t write it down, it never happened. Second, protect your assets. Begin building your own safe house at the moment you begin building your dream. Third, timing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Creativity isn’t just knowing a good idea when you see it, it’s executing that idea before anyone else sees it. 

Fourth, patient incrementalism wins in the end. But you have to be willing to be paid today for the free you did yesterday. Fifth, trust your spontaneous instinctual abilities. Gould famously said that he knew he had to go after this thing. He couldn’t just let it sit in a notebook. And so, he made it real. 

And lastly, ideas are free, execution is priceless. Gould’s immortal words remind us that some people think they’ve invented something, when they’ve merely thought of something to invent. 

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What’s your laser? 

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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 2015-2016.

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

Friday, March 27, 2015

Moments of Conception 165: The Shower Curtain Ring Scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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.


And so, in this blog 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 shower curtain scene in Planes, Trains & Automobiles:




No labels, no limits. My favorite basketball player once said, if you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you. I’ve always appreciated the playfulness and flexibility of that mindset. It’s not a bad way to play the game. In fact, it’s not a bad strategy for approaching the creative process. Life is boring when we know all the answers anyway. Because when we’ve already decided exactly what we’re making or where we’re going, our work can only be as good as that. On the other hand, when we objectify the creative process and suspend our need to categorize, we invite projects to expand into unexpected territory. We allow the work to adapt and evolve. When I started working on my my first documentary, I didn’t know I was making a movie until a year into the project. One day, I just stepped back from the project and thought, I think this thing wants to be a film. So I listened. But had I decided that at the onset of the process, it wouldn’t have organically blossomed into the work of art it is today. In this example, I was creating medium agnostic. Instead of locking the work into a single form, I kept the idea in permanent beta. Instead of forcing my own expectations on the work, I allowed patterns to emerge. And when the time came for the documentary to announce itself, all I had to do was listen and say yes. Are your expectations serving or frustrating you?

Your credentials are your attitude. When I started my business, it was barely a business. No plan. No market strategy. No creative vision for turning a profit. I just wanted to write. I just wanted to make things. And so, when I launched my publishing company, it was a business insofar as I believed it existed. My enterprise was real because I said it was. And that was enough. Nobody could take that away from me. There was no belief police who was going to put up a barricade in my mind and say, now just a minute there young man, we’re going to need to see some credentials. Bullshit. I can do whatever I want. I hired myself, and I answer to myself. Turns out, that’s all you need. Enough proof to convince yourself, and enough passion to convince others. And yet, most people won’t do it. We’re so afraid to raise our hand a take a chance and stick ourselves out there because we’re scared that people will laugh and stare and roll their eyes and call on us the carpet. Del, on the other hand, raised his hand. He hired himself. Converting his shower curtain inventory into sellable jewelry was genius. Proving, that people are impressed by people who take initiative. They’re inspired by the fact that they have the audacity to step into the spotlight and own it. And that’s why nobody ever says anything. Because deep down, there’s a part of them that wises they had the guts do the same. So try raising your hand. Hire yourself. You’ll be amazed how few people will try to stop you. Once you realize that, once you start living life without waiting for permission, you’ll experience a level of abundance you never thought possible. Are you asking who’s going to let you, or wondering who’s going to stop you?

Definition is an intellectual enterprise, the soul prefers to imagine. During a recent creativity workshop, many of the high school students asked me questions about career paths. If, at a young age, they were supposed to know what they wanted to do with their life. And I told them, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Very few people know who they are and what they want when they’re eighteen. That’s the cognitive dissonance of adolescence. Human beings have to satisfy their basic human need for unity, order and completeness. And so, they demand that everything follows a logical path. That everything has a beginning, middle and end. Human life, after all, is punctuated by a definite beginning, middle and end. And so, it’s no surprise that teenagers require everything they deal with in life to follow the same path. Their rational capacities crave a certain amount of story. They depend on dramatic structure. It’s hardwired into them. But the reality is, I told the students, not everything has to be a thing. Life can’t always be compartmentalized. Not every idea can be fully fleshed out and explainable. And it shouldn’t be. That robs us of joy of the limitless everyday mystery that is life. When did you become okay with that?

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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 2015-2016.

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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Unburden yourself of all those worries

The creative brain often has trouble quieting itself. At any given moment, the mind darts and moves and skips and rises. And if we’re not careful, its tremendous racing power can overwhelm our system and cause anxiety, restlessness and mania. 

The goal, then, is to calmly beat our brain to the punch. And to take control of our mind before our mind gets in control of us. 

What’s exciting is, there’s no one way to do it. Each of us customizes a unique program for taking charge of our own thinking. Here’s a snapshot of how I get control of my psychic environment. 

I practice sleep thinking, a bedtime ritual of surrendering myself each night to learning about my own life and what it needs from me. 

I practice productive obsessions, a way of using my brain in the service of the work I intend to accomplish. 

I practice creative visualizations, a tool for letting my brain race, but still remaining in control of it. 

I practice rhythmic exercise, a moving meditation that zeroes out my mental board and gets me into my body. 

I practice automation, a series of creative subroutines that prevent unnecessary thoughts from taking up residence in my psyche. 

I practice making room, a tool for giving ideas over to a system superior than my mind so my mental energy can move on to its bigger and better work. 

I practice forced vomiting, a daily ritual of emotional release where I purge everything that happens to me. 

I practice paper thinking, a way of experiencing ideas kinesthetically and without judgment.

I practice centering sequences, a way of bringing my brain up to operating temperature in order to run properly. 

Remember, you are in charge of you own thinking.

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What tools, practices and rituals help you get control of your psychic environment? 

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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 2015-2016.

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Introducing Nametag Scott Ginsberg's "Junkie Software," Addictive Web Applications to Make You More Prolific

Abramović, the grandmother of performance art, famously said anything that is revolutionary is in front of your nose and is never complicated, but you don’t see it until you have a safe mind. 

Then question, then, is how do we acquire a safe mind? What can we do to make ourselves more amenable to the innovative possibilities that surround us? 

Simple. Go backwards. Work by process of elimination. Recognize and remove the influences that inhibit the process. Because it’s not the ideas we don’t have that block our thinking, it’s the ideas we do have. 

Debono calls these concept prisons, which are traditional fixed ideas that prevent us from looking at something in a new way. 

Here’s an example. Years ago a writer friend of mine converted his intellectual property into a robust software program that he sold for big bucks. When I first watched his demo, I became insanely jealous. Not just because of the money he made, but because of the medium he used. After all, my goal as a writer has always been to use as many disciplines and forms of media as possible to circulate my views and communicate my message. Even if I have to invent whole new ways of doing so. 

And so, seeing that piece of software planted an seed in my head. I thought to myself, that’s what I need to do. Turn my intellectual property into a web application. Awesome. The only problem was, in my mind, the word software meant something that was big and complex and robust and expensive. And that scared me. To the point that I never even attempted executing the project. The task was simply too daunting. 

That word, then, software, was the concept prison holding me back. The fixed idea that prevented me from seeing the possibilities. Debono famously said that the natural tendency of the mind is to remain within the security of the rigid patterns it sets up. And that ideas only occur in those able to escape the rigidity of words and classifications.

He was right. I was stuck. 

But to my surprise, nearly ten years later, I revisited the idea of creating that software program. And a developer friend of mine said something that helped me break out of that prison. 

What if, he suggested, instead of building out your whole comprehensive system all at once, you created a series of simple, single serving applications, each of which did one thing? 

Huh. Building a family of inexpensive software solutions on a piecemeal basis. What a concept. And yet, that never would have occurred to me. Because didn’t have a safe mind. I was too locked into my own definitions of the word software to think that way. 

Proving, that we’re more often blocked by the ideas we already have. 

By the way, check out Junkie Software to see the fruits of this conceptual labor.

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How does the arrogance and rigidity of your old thinking system cripple your 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 2015-2016.

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

You teach people how to treat you

Wearing a nametag everyday for fifteen years taught me a lot about boundaries. 

Since beginning my experiment at the age of twenty, I’ve had stalkers try to befriend me, cult members try to covert me, hockey players try to fight me, drug dealers try to sell me, religious zealots try to proselytize me and pyramid schemers try to recruit me. 

Woops

Turns out, if you don’t set your own boundaries, other people will set them for you. And then they will violate them. And then they will tell all their little friends to do the same. And it will be your fault because you failed to set a precedent. 

Proving, that you teach people how to treat you. That boundaries are saviors. Without them, people will walk all over you. 

Now, what’s interesting is, boundaries tend to elicit a binary reaction. One camp of people will respond negatively. They will find the very idea of you owning your life offensive, threatening and disenfranchising. They will call you forceful and selfish and proud and independent. Because deep down, they will know that your boundaries stripped them of their power to manipulate and control you. 

However, the other camp of people will respond positively to your boundaries. They will notice your newfound maturity and discipline, treat you more respectfully and take you more seriously. And they will understand your need to be at full choice with your life. Because deep down, they will know that they’re not the only ones drawing lines around their lives. 

The goal, then, is to surround yourself with the second camp of people. The ones who give you the freedom to be who you are. 

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How much time have you spent constructing a personal boundary system?

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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 2015-2016.

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