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Friday, June 29, 2018

Unfurling the chains that bind us

Dilbert said that one of the downsides of interacting with other people is that they keep uncovering defects that we never knew we had. 

It’s a frustrating and embarrassing and even painful feature of reality. 

But then again, isn’t it better than not knowing? Isn’t any person or incident that shows us a truth about ourselves a benefit in the long run? 

Besides, our egos blind our eyes to many of the ways in which we cause harm or frustration to others. And so, anything we can do to balance the scale and create a more realistic picture of the self is positive thing. 

My first experience working in a traditional office environment wasn’t until my early thirties. But thankfully, that experience opened my eyes to so many of the interpersonal issues that I badly needed to address. It motivated me to modify my behavior accordingly. 

And not that any of us should take the knife to all our little faults of character, petty vanities and minor deceits. Trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride is a complete waste of time. 

The important thing to remember is, the less aware we are, the more ready we are to deceive ourselves. 

And so, let interpersonal honesty be our tool to unfurling the chains that bind us. 

Because constructing the self is a revolutionary act. We need all the help we can get. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you still locked into some patterns that keep my life from being as good as it might be?

* * * *


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, June 28, 2018

Good for the short run but not for the long stretch

Quarter horses are strong, muscular and beautiful. 

They excel at sprinting short distances, crushing the competition in races of a quarter mile or less, often reaching speeds of more than fifty miles an hour. 

If you’ve ever gone to the tracks before, they’re breathtaking to watch. No wonder they earn tens of millions of dollars for their owners every year. Hell, quarter horses invented the term, right out of the gate, referring to races in which starting gates were used to ensure a fair show. 

But let’s not lock the barn door just yet. Because when it comes to traveling extreme distances across country for long periods of time, quarter horses are physiologically inferior. 

No matter how strapping they look at the start, they don’t have enough slow twitch muscle fibers to build endurance and resistance to fatigue. 

And so, even though you are not a horse, of course, here are a few questions worth asking. 

Are you incredible in the short run, but inferior for the long stretch? Is it hard for you to invest in things that take a long time to pay off? Or will your body of work rise above your showmanship? 

It all depends on what kind of animal you want to be. The type that makes a ruckus right out of the gate, or the type whose ambition and intensity are sustainable over the long haul. 

I recently heard an interview with a famous television director who talked about how he spent two decades running in place, building skills, slugging it out, not knowing if it was ever going to work out. 

But of course, it was an investment and a commitment, he laughed, so why wouldn't it take years and years and years to become successful? 

Straight from the horse’s mouth. 

Proving, that the surest path to greatness is not going away. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Will you show up for a good time, or for a long time?

* * * *


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, June 26, 2018

We can’t walk the path for them

People are going to do what they are going to do. 

Even under the threat of consequence. 

Even if they know full well that it’s bad for them. 

Even despite any attempts to control their behaviors and emotions through pleasing, scaring or shaming. 

People are going to do what they are going to do. 

It sounds quite cynical and fatalistic and bleak. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps an invitation. To come to terms with the fact that we can’t control people. And to surrender our attempts to manipulate situations, feelings and emotions. 

I once read an interesting leadership book written by two pastors. They admitted that one of the hardest lessons they learned as family and marriage counselors was that expressing disapproval or anger about somebody’s bad behavior is not going to make it stop, it will only make people stop talking about it. Their issues will go underground, and you will have lost the opportunity to inspire them create real, lasting change. 

And so, it all boils down to choice. Because choice gives people control, which gives them freedom, which leads to happiness. Who are we to take that away from someone? 

Look, everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. Everyone is struggling with some issue and needs the opportunity to explore it on their own schedule. And so, their pain doesn’t need to become our next project. 

People are going to do what they are going to do. 

Beecher once said that liberty is the soul's right to breathe, and when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight. 

His governmental proverb also applies to our relationships. 

If we really want to help the people we love, we should give them oxygen, not opinions. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Whose path are you trying to walk for them?
* * * *


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, June 25, 2018

Gaze upon me because I am glorious

An addict can be anyone whose life is controlled by something, or someone, other than themselves. 

Which means, the fixation doesn’t have to be a physical substance like alcohol or drugs or food or pornography. It’s something much more abstract and mysterious. Something you can’t even see or touch. 

And that makes the addiction that much more more insidious. 

The example from my own experience is approval. It’s the addiction to what people think of you. The compulsion for absolute control over how you are perceived by the world. 

It’s one of the many unspoken dangers of being an entrepreneur. Because you are the brand. And so, you get seduced into this ego vortex of excessive impression management. Trying to control how people think and feel about you. Doing the hustle dance down approval alley.

And in that moment, it feels good. It’s an adrenaline rush. The brain loves it. 

But after five or ten or fifteen years of treating yourself like a goddamn object, wasting your life obsessively catering to others, you find yourself exhausted. Because it’s all just theater. You’re always running for office. Every person you meet, you don’t actually want to connect, you just want their vote. And if you don’t get it, you become crushed by the slightest misperception of your identity. 

Fuck. Just writing about this is making me claustrophobic. 

If you’re the kind of person who can’t think of anything you want to pursue in your career without strategizing about how it might make you more fascinating to the masses, you might be addicted. 

If you find yourself obsessed with correcting people’s perceptions and deciding how to avenge their thoughts of you, you might be addicted. 

If you’re wearing yourself out trying to make other perceive you in a certain way, you might be addicted. 

If you’re constantly trying to be the life of a party you’re not even at, you might be addicted.

If your boundaries are falling by the wayside because you don’t want to come across as rude for speaking up about how people have upset you, you might be addicted. 

It’s okay. You’re not alone. And it’s never too late to break free of the constant pressure to perform. 

Even if your ego is trying to take you down into another useless crusade. There’s a way out. 

Remember, it’s one thing to crave a healthy amount of approval, it’s another thing to demand it, become addicted to it and compromise your integrity in order to purchase it. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you going to be miserable until you get your next fix of approval?

* * * *


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, June 24, 2018

Liberated to engage without having to subscribe

Pew conducted a fascinating research study on the changing religious landscape in this country. 

One of the key data points was how the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by nearly twenty million in the past decade. 

This growing population has been called nones. As in, none of the above. Resistant to religious classification. Disavowing association with organized faith. 

And that’s awesome. Very modern and inclusive. 

But the question is, if there’s now a designated category for the unaffiliated, shouldn’t there also be one for the poly affiliated? Because think how many millions of people probably fall into that population. 

Individuals like myself who have too many spiritual influences to choose just one. Those who find beauty, inspiration and insight in many faiths. Those who approach various holy scriptures literately, but not literally. People who invent their own religion as creative response to the mysteries that permeate their lives. 

On the multiple choice exam of religious faith, they’re the ones who check the box that says all of the above. 

Beecher famously asked the question:

What is the bible in your house? It should be the gospel according to your own name. You write your own bible.

That was over a century ago, and his words have never been more relevant. And so, for those of us who defy classification and live in a post binary world, here’s the challenge. 

We don’t physically have to sit down by candlelight and compose our own bible. Although it’s a fantastic exercise if you have the time. Rather, let us balance our disinterest with religion with a selective reverence for religious rituals and ideas. Let us feel liberated to engage with many faiths without having to subscribe to its supernatural content. And let us choose where we provoke the psychological experience of meaning. 

I recall an interview with the late great zen master of standup comedy. Shandling once did an enlightening interview with a therapist a few years before he died. And here’s what he said. 

If you actually know who you are, you’re not so quick to jump up and take a side. Because with the true self, there is no difference. There is no side to be taken. You’ve risen above the duality. It’s a unique state of consciousness where you have no preference. And it’s not a cop out. It’s not a place where you prefer a side, rather, you’re able to compassionately see every side. As opposed to having a permanent belief system behind which you’re desperately trying to be secure. 

It’s time to pick the box that says all of the above. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What label might be closing you off from a universe of meaningful opportunities?
* * * *


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, June 23, 2018

How I respond to the world is mine alone

The surreal part about creating art and sharing it with the world is, people have a relationship with your work that has nothing to do with you. 

Once your love spills out and they call it art, it now exists in the mind of the audience. It’s all projection. A colorful mirror that reflects back to them exactly what they expect. 

People see what they need to see, regardless of what you had in mind at the moment of creation. 

And so, this character on the page, the stage, the canvas and the screen, it isn’t really you. 

But don’t worry. That’s actually a good thing. It keeps you from taking people’s criticism personally. When some anonymous schmuck leaves a seething one star review for your new children’s book, it’s not because your story was poorly written. It’s because that guy is angry at that little part of himself that he hasn’t made peace with. 

Part of being an artist is accepting that how people respond to the world is theirs alone. You can’t take that away from them. 

And so, just let people feel that way. Let them be in love with their opinions. Give your audience the space to become immersed in their unique vision of the world, as seen through the prism of your work. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you denying people the freedom to make up their own minds?

* * * *


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, June 22, 2018

We are in an abusive relationship with the future

It’s the truest natural law of the universe. 

The more we expect, the less we receive. 

That’s what happens when we build up a future pleasure in our minds to an unrealistic level. 

Whatever the actual event is, it’s bound to be disappointing. 

Here’s a helpful quiz to find out just how addicted to expectation you really are. 

Do you control situations so that they come out the way you want? 

Do you try to force the direction your life should take? 

Do you get trapped in thoughts about what should be coming to you? 

Do you like to manipulate life into granting you all of your desires? 

Do you become angry at objects for not doing what you expect them to do? 

Do you start feeling sorry for yourself when you don’t get what you want? 

We’re all guilty at some level. Very few of us can live at complete peace with whatever the future brings. 

But once you learn to have a firm footing in reality, which can only come from breathing and staying present and emptying your mind of expectation, you can live at peace with whatever the future brings. 

Reality can’t fall short of your anticipation, because you’re too busy being bottled in the moment. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you in an abusive relationship with the future?
* * * *


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, June 21, 2018

Developing a case of the humbles

Asking for help is hard, but accepting it is even harder. 

Especially when you’re the rebellious loner free spirit type. The kind of person who insists on doing everything as an expression of their individuality. Someone who reacts independently just to show the world that they won’t be ruled. 

That’s me in a nutshell. Growing up, I was never willing to accept ideas for change that weren’t my own. My default was to reject and shut out from sources of support. My pride balked at the thought of calling another person and asking for help. 

Even as an adult, it’s still a struggle. The need to figure out things on my own runs as deep as a buried fossil. And there’s no doubt that it holds me back. 

But as a friend of mine recently told me: 

If you’re not humble, you’re going to run out of people in this world that you can listen to. And that’s a lonely, scary place to be. 

The cool part is, once we finally set aside our silly cloak of pride that doesn’t fool anybody, we actually gain momentum. Because without the exhaustion of trying to accomplish everything on your own steam, without the burden of having to carry the full load anymore, we’re left with undirected kilowatts of energy to invest in the process of asking for, accepting and applying other people’s help. 

That’s when we taste the first fruits of progress. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Are you developing new behaviors that nurture your 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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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Building a fire from the bones of who we used to be

Each moment of letting go is an act of mercy toward ourselves. 

It’s a cleansing process that helps us feel lighter, more liberated and less emotionally claustrophobic. 

There’s actually a fascinating study about this very experience. 

Researchers found that disengagement from regret reflects a critical resilience factor for emotional health, specifically in older age. 

Turns out, seniors who regularly practiced letting go actually activated a neurobiological mechanism that improved their overall quality of life. Maybe that’s why old people fart in public so much. 

What three things have you let go of in the past year? 

Here’s a partial list from my own life. 

Letting go of unhealthy coping habits. Letting go of trying to influence other people’s opinions of me. Letting go of my idealized image of how life should be. Letting go of the idea that others should align with my implicit expectations. 

Letting go of my veil of specialness. Letting go of wondering what the universe wants of me. Letting go of fairness and unfairness. Letting go of the compulsion to constantly raise the excitement threshold. Letting go of goals that no longer matter to you. 

And my personal favorite, letting go of the need to understand everything. 

And, exhale. Whew. Just writing that list makes me feel lighter. 

But that’s the nature of letting go. It’s addictive. Like cleaning out your closet. Once you break the seal and start purging all the clothes you never wear and never should have bought in the first place, you start thinking to yourself, hmmm, I wonder what else I can get rid of. 

It becomes a game to see how many things you can live without. 

The best part about this practice is, there is no finish line. There’s no end. There’s just another layer. 

Another sticky coating of emotional plaque that’s holding you back.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What aspects of yourself did you have to let go of to become something different?

* * * *


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, June 19, 2018

Taking a lively interest in your own unfolding

The problem with a path is, it’s required to be narrow. 

It’s in the job description. Paths have borders and restrictions and rules about where we can and cannot travel. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a path. 

To me, that’s dangerous. Because the path hypnotizes us into the belief that our life is limited. It destroys the sheer thrill of not knowing what is going to happen next. And it keeps us from taking a lively interest in our own unfolding. 

And so, a more realistic and interesting word might be field. Because as opposed to a path that’s been beaten and formed and trodden by the feet of others, a field is an expanse of open ground. 

A field is panoramic. A field is open to the complete possibility of what might be. It just sounds so much more inspiring and organic and liberating. 

Goldberg’s superb book about cracking open the writer’s craft puts it best:

The idea of a path, getting from one place to another, is probably an illusion. Mostly there is a process of unfolding, and at the end a person turns around and sees the design of their life and calls it a path. There is no clear passage. 

This is an invitation for each of us. Not to lock ourselves into one way of living and working, but to remake ourselves as we grow and as the world changes. 

To evaluate new opportunities as they present themselves. To take a lively interest in our own evolution. And to keep saying yes to every single tiny clue of mysterious curiosity that we notice around us. 

Who knows? That field might lead us somewhere more interesting than anything we could have even imagined while on the path. 

And we won’t have to feel guilty or beat ourselves up for veering off of it. 

Philippe was right when he said, for the real traveler there is no path.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
By moaning about what path you thought you wanted, are you missing out on what is unfolding before your eyes?    
* * * *


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


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