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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Staying trapped in the slavery of reaction

Most of our automatic reactions to things are dead wrong. 

Our first thoughts are usually childish reactions. Ancient habitual responses that take us on ride along the superhighway of emotional reactivity. And if we don’t pause and deepen our attention and intention, we’ll continue to the live out the same patterns. 

Becker's book on the birth and death of meaning once made the case that what we call the mind is merely the style of reaction of an organism to its environment. 

Best definition of all time. Proving, that true freedom comes from the ability to be in control of what we do with our thoughts, feelings and reactions. Response flexibility, to use a term from the psychotherapy lexicon. It’s the ability to pause before we act, and the mindfulness to use that gap to create a better outcome. 

But it’s harder than it sounds. Attention and intention require real inner work. 

One way to begin improving response flexibility is to get very good at identifying where we’re being too reactive. For example, we consider some of the moments and situations that set off a chain reaction of anxiety for us. 

Perhaps it’s when our spouse tries to micromanage our lives and we instantly shrink into the teenage version of ourselves. 

Perhaps it’s when an especially negative story in the news triggers the cynical part of our personality that we’re not proud of expressing. 

Perhaps it’s when our boss gives us critical feedback that assaults our sense of competence and makes us feel like a useless office ornament. 

No situation is right or wrong, good or bad, black or white, it just is. And our job as emotionally healthy individuals is to not stay trapped in the slavery of reaction. 

To react, after all, is to use these situations as ammunition against ourselves. 

Instead, we take a moment to notice, name and hopefully press the pause button on our usual pinball reactions to life. It’s the healthiest first step of all. 

Simply deepen attention and intention, and trust that the rest will follow. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you sabotaging yourself by reacting in ways that do not serve your true interests?

* * * *
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, November 13, 2018

The journey we make back to ourselves

Once you finally come to terms with your workaholism, several things start to happen. 

You liberate yourself from the crippling guilt of people pleasing and approval seeking. Instead of convincing yourself that you will take care of your own needs tomorrow, you can actually take time for yourself. Because you’re not too scared to stop. You slow down and let people back into your life. 

Instead of forcing family and friends to rearrange their time spent with you around your work, you can actually be there for them. Because you’re not afraid to give up work for a moment and allow yourself the connection you need. You give yourself permission to live in the natural joy of your highest nature. 

Instead of trying to control everybody and everything, you trust the natural flow your experiences. Because you have surrendered your sense of drama and authority. You open yourself to a world you were too busy to enjoy before. 

Instead making unreasonable demands on yourself by scheduling far more than you can handle, peace is finally a possibility. Because you know that you don’t have to do all those things for people to love you. You grow truly comfortable with lightness. 

Instead of kindling the fires of heroic achievement at every turn, there is a part of you that’s finally resting. Because you abandoned the illusion that you must always be in the process of accomplishing something worthwhile in order to feel good about yourself. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How will your life look different when adrenaline seeking loses its hold on you?

* * * *
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, November 12, 2018

Creating a wider and deeper sense of emotional ownership

We are told there is nothing new under the sun. 

But considering the sun is eight hundred and sixty thousand miles in diameter, if we can’t find anything new under it, then perhaps we aren’t looking hard enough. 

That’s the reality nobody wants to talk about. The fact that we are limited only by the scope of our own imaginations. That ownership is not a set of legal rights, it’s a state of mind. 

The good news is, as creative individuals, we can richly bless our life by bringing the same imagination to it that we bring to our art. We can actually use our creative gifts to make a tangible difference in the way we experience the world. 

It’s an underestimated benefit of being an artist. 

Consider those moments when we experience pain, loss or disappointment. These misfortunes happen to all of us. But what doesn’t happen in all of us is the willingness to look a little deeper to find the gifts in the experience.

We might ask this question. 

What aspects of my circumstances might I view as a gift to be treasured? 

That’s a basic cognitive reframe. Consciously reinterpreting our situation in a more positive light. Gaining more of an awareness of the story we’re telling ourselves. And without imagination, that can’t happen. 

My company launched a useful software application to help you ask these kinds of questions. Think of it as a creative framework for increasing the rate of return on your life’s experiences, and for creating story that can lead your thoughts in a fresh direction. 

Moore said it best in his book about fulfilling the needs of our souls:

Slight shifts in imagination have more impact on living than major efforts at change. Deep changes in life follow movements in imagination. 

Proving, that how we respond to the world is ours alone. Especially if we’re creative people. And if we can keep that flag of imagination furled, then can cease to be at the mercy of ourselves and blow the ceiling off of anything resembling a limitation. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What’s your strategy for taking extreme ownership of your world? 

* * * *
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, November 11, 2018

When our story starts to matter

Twain famously said that the two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why. 

It’s an inspiring message to comprehend your true purpose as a human being. 

However, there’s a missing step in the process. Because although it’s meaningful to recognize our reasons for being on this earth, if we fail to take action on those reasons, then we still haven’t done anything. We’re still just winking in the dark. 

And so, perhaps there’s a third most important day of our lives. Perhaps our story truly starts to matter when we actually make a difference in the world with the talents we’ve been given. 

And the key word being talents, not talent. Plural, not singular. Because single assets in isolation don’t have much value. What matters is the whole portfolio working together. What matters is the emergence of our talents coming alive as their elements are integrated into one another. 

Adams, the world’s most successful cartoonist, appropriately named this principle our talent stack. It’s the overall value or sum of an individual’s skills. He writes that a talent stack is optimized for exactly what you are doing in the world, right now. We can forget about the pressure of being the absolute expert or the world’s greatest of any of those skills. Because it’s their combined power that makes them so handy. 

And the good news is, anyone can develop a more valuable talent stack. 

First, you have to figure out which of your talents go well together. 

Next, you have to package them in an interesting way that also creates value for others. 

Finally, you have to learn to be comfortable with your own power to make an impact with those talents. 

With that formula, you will unlock your ability to make an impact. 

Twain was accurate when he said that your understanding of your own purpose is an important day. 

But remember, it’s not the only important day. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you willing to release yourself from the burden of greatness make a plan to get the most out of the modest talents you already possess?

* * * *
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, November 10, 2018

Build brick by brick toward the goal of maturity

It is always within our power to make ourselves indispensable. 

Nobody is standing in the way of our ability to create value in the world. If we want to operate at our highest point of contribution, the onus is on us. 

But the challenge is, something inside of us exerts an enormous gravitational pull against the achieving our full adult potential. 

Moore’s superb research on the psychological foundation of a mature, authentic and revitalized masculinity claims that this struggle is fought against infantile within us. He writes that we must get to work laying courses of stone over old boyhood terraces and stairs. We must build brick by brick toward the goal of maturity, until at last we stand on the high top, surveying our adult realm. 

In short, we have to grow the hell up. We have to act like real men. 

Allow me to use a case study from my own experience.

My family role as a child was that of the mascot. When confronted with the stress in the household, my goal was always to break the tension and lighten the mood with humor or antics. Being funny and acting silly was my way of diverting attention away from the tension. 

And it worked quite well. The only problem was that it was a struggle learning to trust that my presence provided more than just entertainment value. Especially at the workplace as an adult, the insecurity looming in the back of my mind was that my existence was merely ornamental, not useful. 

An amusing clown boy who’s easy to watch, but ultimatley, couldn’t be counted on for real adult tasks. 

It was a shitty feeling. Occupying space without contributing ate away at my soul. 

But thanks to the help of friends, coaches, therapists and a mountain of books, I learned how to use a mix of affirmations, incantations, meditations and other psychological strengthening tools to restructure the dynamic of my brain. Telling myself a newer and more mature story about my value as a person, beyond that of the mascot. 

Like when a paycheck would arrive in the mail, instead of immediately depositing the money and getting back to work, the new response would be to affirm to myself that this piece of paper wasn’t just payment, it was proof. 

That my skills created real value for others. That my contributions were worth paying money for. And that my presence was needed within the organization beyond just the office clown. 

This ritual was the highlight of my week. Saying these mantras made me feel confident, competent, professional and powerful. Like the kind of person my younger self used to dream about becoming one day. 

Brick by brick, I learned to be comfortable with my own power to make an impact on the world around me. 

Lesson learned, each of us has the chance to craft a life best suited to our own abilities and temperament. Each of us can find a place where we can satisfy our need to make a meaningful contribution. Each of us can bring the full weight of our intelligence to bear on our work. And each of us can reach the broader audience that our talents merit.

But only if we’re willing to change the way we talk to ourselves about ourselves. Only if we’re willing to fight against the infantile within us and become the adults we have only pretended to be for so long. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Do you have a slim grasp on your own sense of worthiness, or is there a central calmness about your value? 

* * * *
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, November 09, 2018

Persevere the plane right into the ground

Reis’s groundbreaking system on lean startups makes the argument that there is no bigger destroyer of creative potential than the misguided decision to persevere. 

It’s the kind of obstinate thinking that leads many entrepreneurs to successfully execute plans that lead nowhere, as opposed to identifying the right product to build. 

But we don’t have to start a business to fall victim to this trap. 

All of us face commitment bias somewhere in our lives. 

It’s the very human tendency to want to stay consistent with what we have already done. To stubbornly stick to our initial opinions, options or actions. After all, commitments make us feel like we have honor. 

Like the person who stays at shit job or with a toxic spouse or in a crappy neighborhood because he prides himself on sticking things out. 

That was my modus operandi for many years. Persevering the plane right into the ground, all in the name of commitment. Because it was more important for me to play the role as someone who was consistent with himself, rather than actually live the life as someone who was true to himself. 

How romantic. 

But that’s the thing nobody tells us is. Just because we’ve begun down one path doesn’t mean we’re committed to it forever. Persevering to the point of obsession might make for a cute movie, but in the nonfiction world where life’s disappointments accrue faster than we can find external forces to blame them on, pivoting might be the smarter, healthier and cheaper path. 

Lefsetz said it best: 

Professionals cut their losses, whereas amateurs keep persisting, believing that their passion and personal stamina will somehow make a difference. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What is your love for this thing making you blind to about this thing?

* * * *
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, November 07, 2018

Voluntary prisoners of distorted visions

Extremes in anything accomplish nothing. 

All they do is allow our discouragement to globalize. 

And yet, we make this move on ourselves every day. Think of all the examples. 

When we feel down, everything we do seems to come out wrong. 

When it doesn’t work right away, we consider the whole thing a failure. 

When our confidence is fragile, the smallest upset can derail the whole project. 

When we make one mistake, we take it as a sign that we’re not worthy and going to be fired. 

When we briefly start to doubt ourselves, we make the immediate emotional leap that we are worthless and undeserving. 

When our ideas are met with silence, we take it personally and construe it as impending criticism or rejection. 

Of course, that’s only a partial list. Each of us struggles with our own tyranny of extremes in many forms. 

But it’s tempting as hell. Because it’s easy, thanks to the negativity bias. The low hanging emotional fruit. It’s easier for us to talk about the distortions than it is to talk about the possibilities. 

Ellis called these thoughts cognitive distortions. We create extreme beliefs on the basis of a single incident and apply them inappropriately to dissimilar events. 

Where might you be allowing temporary anxiety to distort your view of the whole? 

Inquire within. Wonder where you might be a voluntary prisoner of your distorted visions. And maybe you’ll realize just how extreme and irrational your generalized beliefs are, just how easy is is to use rational and useful beliefs in their place. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you ready to put down your curtain of fibs, alibis, rationalizations, justifications, distortions and downright lies?

* * * *
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, November 03, 2018

Treat certainty as a public health crisis.

If the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, then the greatest trick the ego ever pulled was convincing us that we actually needed it. 

Of course, we completely bought into it. And now everyone has developed an allergy to being wrong. Now everyone makes a conscious effort to kick doubt’s ass right out of their minds. Now everyone is distracted by the sparkling but false lures of certainty. Now everyone is surviving on a steady diet of happy hunches and lucky guesses. 

In fact, our thirst for certainty is so strong, that we believe we’re idiots anytime things surprise us. 

But the thing about everyone is, they’re wrong all the time. Nobody knows anything. 

People who say they know what’s going to happen are either lying or trying to sell you something. 

This reminds me of a great research paper about the prevalence of worrying and coping mechanisms. The psychologists reported that because the future is intrinsically uncontrollable, searching for certainty not only doesn’t work, but ironically, heightens the likelihood that we’ll suffer. 

Being right, after all, is an attempt to prevent pain. 

And so, our major challenge is to let go of the ego’s stranglehold. To lean into the thrill of not knowing what is going to happen next. Maybe even to treat certainty as a public health crisis. 

Here’s a simple first step. 

Get together with a few friends or coworkers. Have everyone in the room answer one question. 

What did you believe five years ago that now makes you wonder, what was I thinking? 

A similar exercise is to have everyone remember a time in their life when they sad, I would never do that, and then spend the next few minutes telling the story when they did that thing. 

Think of these exercises as a method for sneaking up on people whose beliefs have stabilized and have dozens of years to look back on. 

It’s a perfect starting point for using humility to free you from the bondage of ego. 

That’s the challenge before you. Lessening your stake in being right. 

Transforming the lead of the ego into the gold of surrender. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How will you guard against your ego begging to run the show?

* * * *
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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