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A brand, a business and a career. From a nametag.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Belonging to the closest neighborhood of man’s being

Heidegger, the seminal existentialist philosopher, believed that language was the house of being. In his famous letter on humanism, he wrote:

In this home of language, man dwells. Those who create with words are the guardians of this home. Their guardianship accomplishes the manifestation of being insofar as they bring the manifestation to language and maintain it in language through their speech. 

Insanely dense and abstract and difficult to read, ain’t it? 

My college professor once told me that reading his philosophy was like trying to swim through wet sand. 

And so, instead of breaking our brans trying to dissect and decipher his every word, let us be inspired by the spirit of his message. Because what the great philosopher was trying to tell us was, language is the lever we have for changing ourselves, and the world around us. 

Here’s an example from my own experience. 

For the last twenty years of my life, friends, family, peers, clients and total strangers from around the world, have come to know me as Nametag Scott. Now, it was never my intention to create this brand for myself. But when you start doing anything twenty four hours a day, whether you like it or not, it’s going to identify you. It might even define you. 

And that brings us back to language. The house of being. 

Thanks to my little experiment, people know me not as Scott, but as Nametag Scott. There is now a prefix before my first name, for better or for worse, for the rest of my life. 

And what is a prefix, exactly? A prefix is any word or letter or number placed before another. It’s something that adds an introduction. It’s a preformative piece of language, because it alters the form of the words to which it is affixed. Placed in front of another term, the prefix literally modifies the meaning of whatever comes after it. 

Scott, for example, is a name. Nametagscott is a story. 

The prefix, the power of language, invites people into my home to dwell. 

What’s your prefix? What’s the story that introduces your name? And what trademark have you trained the world to associate with you? 

Answer those questions, and you will use the lever of language to change the world around you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you living your life as an expression of your values that invites people to belong to the neighborhood of your being?

* * * *
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, January 21, 2020

You don’t have to invent it, you just have to redefine it

Einstein didn’t invent relativity, but he did create a new way of seeing information that was already available to everybody else. 

Darwin didn’t invent natural selection, but he did build a conceptual framework in which natural selection made sense. 

Newton didn’t invent gravity, but he did give a name to something that was already there, and that label helped people understand it. 

Gates didn’t invent the computer, but he did build a better operating system so that more people could easily use computers. 

That’s the good news about innovation. We don’t have to invent something new. Sometimes we simply have to notice, name, redefine, make use of, adapt ourselves to, associate ourselves with, pioneer in, and become the unquestionably committed fanatic of, some universal law or an idea that already exists. 

Godin outlined this phenomenon on his popular marketing blog, citing my nametag experiment as a search engine optimization case study:

With determination and patience, you will certainly win. But it requires inventing a trademark and then building a business or service or organization around this trademark that people actually talk about. You want to be able to say to someone, just google the word blank. Ginsberg owns the term nametag scott. It’s like owning the perfect domain, via the search engine. If you want to win, make an incredible product and offer a remarkable service, but also associate a unique term or trademark with it. Something that isn’t generic, and preferably, not a crowded search term already. 

We have to remember, nametags existed long before my little experiment went viral. Seinfeld even did an episode about it. 

But the difference is, nobody stuck to nametags like me. Nobody published more books about nametags than me. Nobody gave themselves more permission to pioneer in the obscurity of nametags like me. 

That’s why that word is mine. Forever. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What word do you own? 

* * * *
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, January 20, 2020

The nature of the identification with self and other

A magazine editor once gave me brilliant writing advice. 

She said to be careful not to overuse the second person point of view in the work. It creates a separation between author and reader, and can appear preachy or bossy. Instead, try to write in terms of we and us. It unifies the reader and writer, becoming a journey that we’re on together, rather than an expedition that only you are qualified to lead. 

Forget about writing, that’s just good advice period. It’s a gentle reminder that when we change our pronouns, transitioning from me into we, the context of where we sit in the world is dramatically enhanced. 

Berkeley conducted a famous study on this very issue. They took about two hundred married couples, half married for fifteen years, half married for thirty. And one of the most important variables studied and reported in the research were the numbers of times couples used words such as we, our, us, as opposed to words like, I, me, you.  

Sure enough, analyses revealed that greater weness was associated with a number of desirable qualities of the interaction, i.e., lower cardiovascular arousal, more positive and less negative emotional behavior; whereas, greater separateness was associated with a less desirable profile, i.e., more negative emotional behavior and lower marital satisfaction. 

When we change our language, we change our life. 

Even our most innocuous parts of everyday speech are unconscious representations of the nature of the identification with self and other. 

If we want a window into the inner workings of intimate relationships, the qualities of the connections between us and our partners, let us look at the language. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you on a journey of exploration together, or an expedition that only you are qualified to lead?

* * * *
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, January 19, 2020

Collect enough material to recreate the stars

Katamari the most hilarious, bizarre and interesting puzzle action video game of all time. 

The plot concerns a magical, highly adhesive ball called a katamari, which rolls around various locations. It collects increasingly larger objects, everything from thumbtacks to human beings to monuments to baseball stadiums, until the ball has eventually grown massive enough to become a star. 

Who thinks this stuff up?

Playing the game, however, is surprisingly satisfying. And my theory is, it’s because katamari mirrors something that is fundamentally human. 

Growth. The exhilarating moment by moment process of expansion and evolution that we call life. And the fact that anything can stick to us and make us grow. It’s just a matter of attention and intention. 

Because if we contract into scarcity, framing our experiences as mistakes, failures, throwaways and dumbass wastes of time, then we have not grown one bit. 

But if we expand into abundance, treating everything is an ingredient in the greater self which we are building, then we can collect enough material to recreate the stars. 

If you think the world has figured out a system to keep you from growing, you are wrong. Human being are magical, highly adhesive beings whose divine inheritance is to grow as massive as they choose. 

Take it from a guy who has been wearing a nametag every day for twenty years. 

Being sticky is a good thing. 

It’s how we attract people and experiences which enhance our potential. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Did you let this day pass without personal growth?

* * * *
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, January 16, 2020

Berating ourselves for not winning the game of life

Growth is not when we stop making mistakes, it’s when we stop beating the shit out of ourselves for making them. 

Once we learn to eliminate that hostile tendency, we become unstoppable. Not even our own inner critic can keep us down. 

Buddhists have a phrase for this response called the second arrow. The teachings tell us that the first arrow is what is. It’s something comes with the territory of being alive. But the second arrow is the sense of unworthiness we inflict upon ourselves. It’s the constant, critical and uncompassionate evaluation of everything we are experiencing. 

And that’s a choice we make. We choose beat ourselves up mercilessly, calling names, pointing fingers and essentially treating ourselves in a manner that we would never stand for from somebody else. 

We choose to berate ourselves for not winning the game of life, making the cognitive mistake of keeping score of our missteps and failures.

This second arrow has harmful implications. Powers conducted the preeminent study on the dangers of beating ourselves up in a clinical psychology journal. His research found that overly harsh self criticism has been showed to undermine motivation, impede progress towards goals and increase procrastination. 

Turns out, the arrows we carry around are blocking our ability to contribute. 

And it’s true, beating ourselves up can feel quite good. Doing so gives us a chance to play the victim, earn attention and sympathy from others, divert our eyes from the real issue, escape the consequences of our mistakes and distract us from taking action. What’s not to like? 

But since making mistakes is part of learning to choose well, let’s not make life any more painful than it already is. Let’s forgive ourselves for being human and get back to work. 

The big yellow bird was right when he sang, everyone makes mistakes, oh yes they do, big people, small people, matter of fact, all people, everyone makes mistakes, so why can’t you? 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Are you still beating yourself up for not winning the game of life? 

* * * *
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, January 15, 2020

Then you beat yourself up and forget all about gentleness

Making music in a professional recording studio setting can bring up a host of unexpected concerns, problems and anxieties. 

Having recorded ten records of my own in a variety of different facilities around the country, I can attest that laying down tracks is no easy task. 

Because the pressure is really on. Studio time is not only expensive, but finite. The meter is always running. Artists only have so many hours to finish the songs, and they only have so much energy with which to do so. 

Plus, unlike the unique imperfectness of performing live, studio recording comes with the implied goal of precision and excellence. And that adds additional anxiety to the process. 

Personally, my struggle has always been not beating myself up between takes. Especially when it’s late at night at everybody wants to go home and there’s that one stupid riff after the bridge that keeps tripping me up. It makes me want to smash my head into the fretboard until there’s a bloody, pulpy mess on the studio floor. 

Phil, my longtime recording engineer, once took me aside during a particularly long recording session and gave me the following advice:

I have been producing records longer than you have been alive, and here’s what I learned. Beating yourself up is tempting, but it also details momentum and misdirects valuable creative energy. When you flub a note or miss a beat or sing off key, just stay with the song. We’ll keep rolling tape, you take a deep breath, and then start again. Trust the notes to be there for you, and you’ll get the song right. 

Phil taught me that we can’t beat ourselves up for being human. Even if we are paying by the hour, we still should relax into the moment and not be so hard on ourselves. 

Are you bound and determined to make things as hard on yourself as possible? 

Then it may be time to free yourself from the clutches of unnecessary distress. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Where do you have a hard time forgiving yourself? 
* * * *

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, January 14, 2020

Blending into the woodwork of the room

The goal of a good photographer is to be invisible. 

To document what is taking place, accurately capture the mood and the emotion of the moment, and most importantly, to not change what is taking place. 

Souza, the legendary presidential photographer who took millions of pictures of two different commanders in chief, calls this approach leaving a small footprint. Meaning, he always used the quietist and most unobtrusive equipment, moved around his subjects gingerly, basically blending into the woodwork of the room. 

Every photographer faces this dilemma of being invisible. Their job, after all, is to capture subjects in their natural state. If they are too conspicuous, the shot won’t be authentic. 

Quantum physicists named this phenomenon the observer effect, which states that that human beings modify their actions in response to their awareness of being observed. That’s how subatomic particles roll. They exist in an indeterminate state until they are observed. 

And so, this analogy points to the issue of influence. That each leader, camera in hand or not, always has a responsibility to the energy of the moment. 

In some situations, their role is to hang in the background and try not to change what is taking place. To let the space breathe and let feelings and moments emerge without our interference. 

But in other situations, their role is quite the opposite. Sensitive to the fundamental human need to be seen, they give people the gift of psychological visibility. 

They remind people, with the lens of their eyes, that their life will not go unnoticed and unwitnessed. 

Not on their watch. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How do you feel when somebody makes you feel invisible?

* * * *
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, January 13, 2020

Error is not the obstacle, it is the path itself

Chambers once preached that the reason people fail is because they are ignorant of the way they are made. 

Which is certainly true, but it’s not the only reason. 

People also fail because they are insistent on being the way they are, even when it doesn’t work. They may say that they want to change. And they may even take small measures to do so. But it’s mostly a performance. It’s a defense against a difficult truth about themselves they’d rather not entertain. 

Think about it, why burn calories doing the hard work of changing when we can simply reach into our briefcase of bullshit and eloquently justify staying the way we are? 

Schulz, in her humbling book of adventures in the margin of error, reminds readers that although to err is human, most of us go through our lives assuming, and sometimes insisting, that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to correctly load the dishwasher. 

But error, she says, is not the obstacle in the path toward truth, it is the path itself. Whereas being right rarely teaches us who we really are. 

And so, instead of pointing fingers and grilling each other, as if to say, what is your major malfunction numb nuts, let us wonder aloud with each other from a place of compassion and curiosity. 

Is it possible that this is something we can and should change? What if the way we were was something that could be changed for the good of all, ourselves included? 

Remember, all change is interpersonal. It’s driven by the interactions between people, rather than by people themselves. 

And it all starts with ability to accommodate ourselves to wrongness. 

Instead of struggling in vain to make the world stay the way it was. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you actively ignoring change and hoping it will go away before it gets to you?

* * * *
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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