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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Like a tail that grows back everyday

We are not eating for flavor, they’re eating for familiarity. 

For some comfort that could never come from food. 

When I think back to the last few times I’ve inhaled an entire large pizza in one sitting, it makes perfect sense. It’s just so goddamn tempting to use addiction as a way to handle existential crises. 

But in the end, we all know that it’s another dark and lonely repetitive cycle of searching for happiness in impermanent things. 

Levine’s definition of addiction is the best I’ve ever heard. His book of meditations about the zen of recovery called addiction the repetitive process of habitually satisfying cravings to avoid, change or control the seemingly unbearable conditions of the present moment. 

And so, the way out of this infinite regression is for us to find internal sources of happiness that aren’t dependent on or addicted to circumstances. Wellsprings of joy and hope and peace that are rooted in the love that can never leave us. 

That way, should we suspect the growing presence of a massive black hole of joylessness and despair, we can take pause. And instead of mindlessly reaching for a momentary distraction from that suffocating reality, we can reach within. 

I once followed a fascinating food therapy program in which you ask a series of four simple questions to distract yourself from unhealthy cravings. 

Am I really hungry? 
Is this what I feel like eating? 
Is this what I feel like eating now? 
Is there something else I could do instead? 

It was tricky as hell. Because my eating habits tend to be quite mindless. But after a few weeks, I found the four questions to be a brilliant practice for changing unhelpful thinking and behavior. 

Instead of getting caught up in the dance of dysfunction, I could simply pause and empower myself to find out what these feelings wanted from me. 

The practice didn’t work every time I got the craving to eat my body weight in chicken wings, but it did build a solid baseline of awareness that contributed to an overall increase in my emotional, mental and physical health.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  
What behavior are we continuing to do despite the fact that there are negative consequences in our lives?

* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wake up and find your own portals to wonder

Buber once wrote that most men preferred to forget how many possibilities are open to them. 

That’s why the great companion of change is curiosity. To practice thinking to ourselves:

I wonder how this transition will shape me. I wonder what hidden benefits might lay beneath this mountain of adversity. I wonder what the opportunity for growth and expansion will be. I wonder how many parts of myself I will lovingly let go of. I wonder what new doors my key of curiosity will open. 

Framed in that way, change is less overwhelming and more adventurous. Especially if you convert it into a daily ritual. 

One of the practices I learned from my meditation teacher is a system called sleep thinking. It’s a bedtime ritual of surrendering myself to go learning about my own life and what it needs from me. 

The way it works is, I repeat a single, silent question to myself as I drift off to dreamland. Ideally, something that interrupts the worry stream with wonder. Something that converts curiosity into controlled inquiry. My personal favorite is:

I wonder what I’m afraid to know about myself. 

This question powers down my racing brain, frames my psychic energies in more curious, imaginative ways and catapults me into dreamland within five minutes. Every time. And in the morning, I wake up refreshed, energized and ready to take on the day and listen to what wants to be written. 

Proving, that even when our eyes are closed, we can still walk through the world with wide open wonder. And so, during times of great change, each of us needs a place carved out by curiosity. A way to engage in practices that wake us up to wonder. 

Because no how much of a beating we have taken, no matter how many rejections and failures and we have endured, curiosity is always standing by, ready to be awakened. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  

Do you look at the sky and wonder at your place in the stars, or do you just look down and worry about your place in the dirt? 
* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Choosing to not abandon ourselves during trying times

Cameron’s book on transitions is a collection of empowerment prayers on the nature of change and coping. 

One of the arguments she makes is how we mistakenly become so focused on life as we year for it, that we neglect to live the life that we have. We think to ourselves, okay, well, once this is over, then I’ll get on with my life. 

Once this is over, then I’ll get back to being kind and accepting and forgiving and compassionate towards myself. 

But that’s just kicking the can down the road of our own happiness. 

It’s the eternal promise of things that come, but never quite arrive. Craving the comfort of desired events and outcomes. 

In so doing, she writes, we ignore the uncomfortable but exhilarating gifts of living life as a continually unfolding process in which all moments are valuable. Absorbed in our inner movie, we miss the many minute transformations that enrich and ennoble our lives.

And that’s where frustration is born. Out of our patent refusal to accept life’s seasons as they come to us. The healthier and smarter response is to align ourselves with events as they are unfolding. To believe in a benevolent future despite our shaken faith. 

During my own times of transition, this mindset has been crucial. I’ve been learning to trust the tempo of my own timing. To notice and name the seasons of my life, let them to come and go like weather patterns, and to allow life to show me the new way to move forward. 

In fact, it’s a series of choices. 

Choosing to believe in my own resilience. 
Choosing to cooperate with my healing. 
Choosing to trust the generosity of life. 
Choosing not abandon myself during these trying times. 
Choosing to believe there is wisdom in the unfolding of events exactly as they are. 

And while these choices may not help the transition happen any faster; they do keep me present to life during the process, which is what changes my relationship to time in the first place. 

Remember, it’s no use wasting what you’ve got on an ideal that you’ll never reach. 

Try being happy right now. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  
Are you trying to live through your changes without experiencing them?
* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Caring is what makes the world work

I recently met the publisher of food and dining magazine who had a fascinating approach to handling upset customers. 

Whenever his company makes a mistake that causes an influx of angry emails and phone calls, his strategy works as follows. 

Announce, apologize, remediate, explain and apologize again. 

Announce, meaning acknowledging and owning the problem immediately. Because the speed of the response is the response.

Apologize, meaning saying you’re sorry in a transparent, empathic way. Because nothing infuriates customers more than terminal certainty. 

Remediate, meaning taking immediate and calculated action to solve the problem. Because people want to know you’re actively the case. 

Explain, meaning educating customers why the problem occurred. Because knowing that diffuses their anger. 

And finally, apologize again. That’s the critical step. Even if it happens hours or even days after the incident, it still closes the loop and reminds angry customers that you screwed up and you know and you’re truly sorry. 

That makes people think, holy shit, they remembered me. I’m part of a thing. Thank you. 

Proving, that caring is what makes the world work. That customers don’t stop being important the moment they buy from us. 

And that if we learn to satisfy people on their terms, not ours, and actually treat them as real people with needs and desires and dreams, then we can create a truly unique interface between the company and the world. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  
Do your angry customers want a refund, or a connection, an apology and some empathy?

* * * *

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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

You read the writing on the stall

A friend of mine runs the call center for a nonprofit that has millions of members worldwide. 

In order to get all of her employees on the same page, she implemented an internal program called tissue issues. Every morning before her team shows up for work, leaders hang up support reports the on the bathroom stalls and walls. 

That way, every employee from every department has no choice but to be consistently exposed to the current challenges their community is facing. 

They literally read the writing on the wall. Or in this case, stall.

From a service standpoint, this is a brilliant tool for keeping users top of mind. But also from a creativity standpoint, it’s a brilliant tool for generating innovative solutions to problems. 

After all, answering the call of nature tends to be the most productive part of a person’s day. There’s just something special about the process of going to the toilet that sparks the imagination. The combination of quietude, isolation and complete lack of distraction works to our advantage. 

Because we have to relax our bodies, otherwise nothing will happen. 

And so, this contained experience, which is difficult to recreate when we’re running around the office all day, primes our mental processes and allows the brain to slip into an alpha wave state in which creative ideas can emerge. 

The challenge, then, isn’t to decorate our bathroom walls with daily printouts of how our company is doing. 

But to think about creative ways to leverage those little moments where our brains might be most receptive to inspiration. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  
Where do you get your best ideas? 

* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

My pile of unspoken needs has grown

Most people who ask us for help don’t actually want it. 

Help is just a safe word. A convenient veneer of civility layered over a deeper human need that is being sought out, like being seen and heard, feeling a sense of confirmation and affirmation and knowing that they’re not crazy and alone in the world. 

And so, when people come to us in need of wise counsel, before we rush in to fix and save and advise and correct, before we slap on our guru hat and deliver some trumpeting insight that becomes fundamental to that person’s worldview, we first consider a few questions. 

What is this person’s contextual situation? 

What universal human emotion is at stake here? 

What might be the big hairy thing lurking in the shadows of the surface problem?

What crucial elements has this person not told me about yet that I need to better understand before responding? 

Pausing to think about these elements allows us to establish a holistic context of empathy, curiosity and understanding around our interactions with each other. It’s how we do justice to the complex context of other people’s experience and empower them to tackle their own issues. 

Skilled therapists practice it on a daily basis. They understand they can’t solve a patient’s problem until they understand the story behind. 

Otherwise they’re simply wallpapering over the trauma, letting the pile of unmet needs grow. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  
What structure could you put in place to make sure you do justice to the complex context of other people’s experience?

* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Starting your days with aspirations of grandeur

I’ve always appreciated the idiom, your eyes were bigger than your stomach

It’s the common mistake of taking more food on your plate than you can eat. Especially when going out for sushi. You just can’t help yourself. The food is just so delicious and colorful and healthy and fresh, that the thrill of eating it almost always causes you to overestimate how much your stomach can handle. 

But by the time the waitress drops the check at the end of the meal, that rice baby in your stomach has grown to the size of a small country. 

Count that as another failure to practice consuming within your means. 

What’s fascinating is, we repeat this behavior outside of the culinary world all the time. We start out our days with aspirations of grandeur, convinced that we can accomplish massive amounts of super human tasks by lunch. 

Our to do list is so long that it doesn’t have an end, it has an event horizon. 

But as proud and strong and productive as we feel in trying to eat the whole world, the reality is, we’re the ones bing eaten. We’re the ones being consumed by the frustration of trying to fulfill our ever escalating ambition. And it’s crippling our overall performance. Either because we’re running from the sheer terror of standing still, or because we’re comparing our capacity to other people and wishing ours was different. 

Pressfield’s manifesto about the war of art reminds us that resistance uses our own enthusiasm against us. That it gets us to plunge into a project with an overambitious and unrealistic timetable for its completion. And it knows we can’t sustain that level of intensity.  We will hit the wall, he says, and we will crash. 

No wonder productivity scientists don’t recommend using computerized to do lists. That makes it possible to add an infinite number of items. 

But using something like an index card, on the other hand, fits perfectly in your pocket and limits you to noting only a few priority items. 

Which is far healthier and more efficient than going to the all you can eat buffet every single day. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  

Are you starting your days with aspirations of grandeur?

* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

My merchandise makes me not sad

The more irons you have in the fire, the less time you have to cry over spilled milk. 

The sheer volume of projects simply won’t allow for that kind of unnecessary dwelling and sulking. 

That’s how entrepreneurs keep up a steady pace of work and efficiently insulate themselves against the inevitable disasters and rejections and disappointments of doing business. The managing of multiple projects at any given time becomes a redundancy system that prevents the company from relying on a single point of failure. 

No one problem can knock you off course. And you never feel like you have to start from scratch every time you fail. 

Investors have been using this strategy for years. In volatile markets where asset values rarely move up and down in perfect synchrony, having many irons in the fire reduces the investor’s exposure to risk. 

Shakespeare was accurate when he wrote:

My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, nor to one place, nor is my whole estate upon the fortune of this present year, therefore, my merchandise makes me not sad. 

And so, keeping many irons in the fire not only protects the enterprise, but also preserves the spirit. It relieves the pressure of having to put all your eggs in one basket, allowing you to sustain momentum over the long haul. 

Whether you’re running a small company, managing a project or searching for new job opportunities, stay diversified. 

Acknowledge the likelihood of rejection and build hedges against it. 

It’s a highly efficient strategy for assuring that your eyes remain alive with hopes for the future.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  
How many different projects are you working on right now?

* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

We deserve everything we don’t get

We don’t have to wait until we are completely free from suffering to take positive action in the world. 

That’s just an excuse. A clever way of taking ourselves off the hook. A slick trick that uses pity to justify procrastination. 

And the worst part is, nobody calls bullshit on us for doing it, out of the fear of appearing cold, insensitive and uncompassionate towards our pain. 

But the joke’s on us, because we’re only cheating ourselves. Which sounds like a chalkboard cliché that our third grade teacher would say, but that doesn’t make it any less true. 

I’m reminded of a mesmerizing interview with a psychiatrist who shared a few of the questions her patients often ask. 

Is there a danger of using depression as an excuse? 

Is it fair that my mental illness allows me not to follow the rules? 

Does the label of having a chemical imbalance give me license to underachieve? 

There’s no right or wrong answer. But it’s an interesting dilemma. One that has nothing to do with mental health and everything to do with being honest with ourselves. 

For example, here’s one of the hardest questions I’ve learned to ask myself. 

Am I really doing everything I can to reach my goal? 

More often than not, the answer is no. There’s always something more I can do. But the problem is, nobody knows this but me. And so, it’s a matter of being able to live with myself when I know that I didn’t give it my best. 

Godin’s theory around deniability puts it perfectly. 

How much of the time you invest in a project is spent preparing excuses, creating insurance, seeking deniability and covering your ass just in case things go poorly in the end? At some point, that effort becomes so great that you never actually ship anything, which of course, is the very best protection against failure. 

The point is, just because times are tough, sales are down and worries are up, doesn’t mean we’re excused from taking positive action in the direction of our dreams. 

We must ask ourselves how we can contribute to our, vision right now. 

Otherwise, if we’re just going to let ourselves off the hook and out of the hard work of living with intention, then we deserve everything we don’t get. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  

What lies are you telling yourself to justify your procrastination?

* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Wash away the problem with the money hose

Since we’ve been culturally conditioned to attach so much of our personal value to our earning, we mistakenly confuse self worth with net worth. 

We believe that we have no value and dignity apart from our financial bottom line. And until some great monetary windfall magically comes along to make everything better, we will continue to feel less than whole. 

After all, who are we without our steady paycheck and our disposable income and our healthy bank account? 

Exactly zilch. 

But of course, that’s scarcity thinking. Confusing self worth with net worth doesn’t help us create a healthy relationship with money that supports and enhances our overall experience of prosperity. 

It merely allows us to adopt a critical voice towards ourselves. 

And so, like the salesman who accepts himself with every cold call, whether he gets a yes or a no, we must also learn to be accepting of ourselves in every moment, whether we are earning a lot or a little. 

We must trust that we are fine, we are richly supported, even when monies are not as forthcoming as we’d like them to be. 

Ultimately, this belief that we have enough, we are enough and we do enough, even in the wilderness of an uncertain future, is a practice of abundance that allows us to hang tough during the lean times. 

Remember, poverty isn’t the absence of money; it’s the absence of possibility. 

How we perceive and interpret our financial situation is more important than how much income we actually have. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  
Are you rushing to make money the problem to justify your fears?

* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.

Monday, December 04, 2017

This must be a place where I need to learn

Most lottery winners lose the money within the three years. 

Most heart surgery patients return to poor diets within two years years. 

Most people with second and third marriages experience a higher divorce rate. 

Most prisoners released back into the world are arrested for a new crime with five years. 

Proving, that most people are poor historians with short memories. And that moving on to the next thing won’t help if we haven’t done the work to learn how to do that thing differently. 

Kreider’s satirically brilliant book about the dark truths of human existence summarizes it perfectly.

I’ve demonstrated an impressive resilience in the face of valuable life lessons, and the main thing I seem to have learned is that I am capable of learning nothing from almost any experience, no matter how profound. 

That’s the mistake so many of us make. We just leave and hope to choose better next time. We learn nothing. And we start the loop all over again. 

I’m reminded of a gripping documentary about big wall mountain climbers. The film beautifully chronicles the journey of men battling sub zero temperatures, near fatal injuries, catastrophic avalanches. 

But while there is something undeniably cool about these daredevils who are not afraid to defy death, frankly, watching three grown men risking their lives and torturing their families to repeatedly to accomplish something that has no practical meaning or purpose, only proves further that humans learn nothing. 

The star of the film even admits it himself. 

The best climbers have the worst memories, he chuckles. 

But this is no laughing matter. We need to learn how to learn. From our successes and our failures. We must be willing to look foolish and to let life teach us. We must be willing to grow from whatever new truths our actions may reveal. And we must embrace failure as a learning opportunity rather than treating it as a source of shame. 

Our mantra must simply be, this must be a place where I need to learn

Because if we’re willing to ask ourselves what role our behavior might or might not have played in these broader problems, the likelihood of us making the same mistakes diminishes greatly. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy my weekly powerball ticket. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...  

What obstacles are you creating that hinder the full engagement with your learning?

* * * *


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

Buy my latest devotional! 

A Year in Hot Yoga: 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat


Now available wherever books are sold.


Namaste.