Thursday, July 06, 2006

The World is a Mirror, Part 5


Sometimes I still can’t believe it. How wearing a little nametag for one day evolved into all of this.

Well, ok. I do believe it. I guess if I didn’t believe, none of this would have happened. But still, some days I just look at my nametag in the mirror, start laughing and think, “Man! This is crazy!”

But that’s the beautiful thing about an idea: its evolution. And I think the moment you come up with your own great idea is the moment you also begin to develop a greater appreciation for idea evolution as a whole; hence the title of this essay series.

GREAT EXAMPLE: A few months ago I watched a documentary about the making of Fraggle Rock, one of my favorite childhood TV shows. In this special DVD edition, Jim Henson narrated a behind-the-scenes look at the making of his beloved children’s program.

All throughout the documentary, Henson kept making references to a small insert that came with the DVD box. I eventually grabbed the case and found a small booklet labeled, “Jim Henson’s Sketchbook.”

I opened it and saw dozens of scribblings; original drawings and blueprint ideas from Jim Henson’s vision for an underground colony of joyful creatures called “Fraggles,” who loved to sing and dance. He even made a little note that “these creatures would bring peace and joy to children around the world.”

Sooooo cool. Actual brainstorms from one of one the world’s most creative minds! I devoured the sketchbook all night.

Stuff like that is fascinating to me. I guess I just like ideas. I like to marvel at the way they evolve from nothing to something. In fact, one of the many definitions of creativity is “to make something out of nothing.” And I think that’s a great way for people to learn: to follow the path of an idea from the cradle to the grave.

Speaking of, I recently stumbled across my original “Nametag Notebook” from my junior year of college. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten all about it! And although it wasn’t as interesting or valuable as Jim Henson’s sketchbook, last month I took some time to read through it...

I plopped down in a comfortable chair (Carmel Apple Cider in hand) and took a trip down Memory Lane. Er, wait, maybe it was Nametag Manor. Whatever. It was a road. Anyway, here’s what I found.

During that first year of nametagging, I jotted down observations of group reactions to wearing a nametag, individual stories and encounters, comments made about my nametag, even the names of new friends I made while wearing the nametag! The pages oozed with experiences and encounters with strangers and friends alike. I even sketched out a diagram of the chest placement of my nametag to prove that left vs. right didn’t matter; and that vertical placement was more important.

And check this out. The most interesting entry of all was towards the back. I found a near-blank page with the following note written in large, block letters in the center:


It was dated April 25, 2001.

Before I started writing books on the word.
Before I started giving speeches on the word.
Before I built a business around the word!

Sooooo cool.

That’s evolution: the growth, expansion, development, progress and transformation that makes something out of nothing. It’s a beautiful thing.

I encourage you to take some time today to think about one of the coolest, most successful ideas you ever had. For work, for life, for anything! Consider its origins. Ponder its evolution. See how far it’s come.

You'll probably end up marveling to yourself, “Man! This is crazy!”


What's your favorite idea evolution example?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Do you want to be That Guy?

Find out how in 26 days with the release of Scott's forthcoming third book!

Check out for all the juicy details!