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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Ensnared in the grip of the unessential

Ethel’s book on the redefinition of power makes an important point about letting go. 

It’s a mark of security when we are so comfortable in our own skin that there is no nagging doubt about the road not taken, the opportunities missed and the shortness of the road remaining. 

Sounds like a peaceful place to be. 

The challenge is, how do normal people, who aren’t monks, attain that level of comfort? 

One answer is, hard work. We read the books, take the classes and do the practices to improve our ability to accept ourselves. Accepting that each moment of letting go is an act of mercy toward ourselves. And over time, we become skilled spotting the signs that letting go may be in order. 

The other answer is, wait a while. Because as we get older and begin creeping closer to the edge of the eternal black abyss, we no longer wish to become ensnared in the grip of the unessential. As we gain a greater sense of our own mortality, our dogged determination to stick with things solely out of our desire for consistency, our fear of failing ourselves and disappointing others, and our stubbornness to try and hold onto whatever we think will give us security, that all fades away. 

Because there is no security. There is only right now. And it could all be gone in an instant. Any of us at any time could slip away forever into unending darkness. 

And so, do we really want to spend our precious time dwelling on foolishness? Do we really need to stay seated in this movie theater for another eighty minutes while this train wreck piece of shit superhero movie continues to insult our intelligence? 

I remember something my mentor once said about his retirement. 

The problem is not how to have your cake and eat it too, the problem is that you are eventually going to die. 

It’s a morbid but meaningful reminder that time is a precious resource, and one that we have less and less of every day. 

And since pain is always a sign that we are holding onto something, it only makes sense to let go of as much as possible. 


LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What part of your past are you still holding onto with an angry bite?

* * * *
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, September 29, 2018

If you think you don’t have your own doubts, think harder

Out of the five thousand species of mammals on this planet, only humans have the luxury to doubt things in the universe. 

Isn’t that incredible? What an extraordinary gift we’ve been given. The ability to scrutinize ourselves and our societies and our surroundings. 

Because contrary to popular conditioning, doubt isn’t a snag, it’s a spark. Doubt is a starting point for deeper thinking. It’s an elixir that keeps us engaged in the decision making process. A staircase that takes us down to more interesting and meaningful places. Places that we might not have dared visit under more faithful conditions. 

Organizations could use a taste of this medicine. Because so few of them make it easy for people to express their concerns and reservations. Most employees are dissuaded from starting to look for secrets within the corporate walls.

I remember reading multiple news stories about banks that launched kill a stupid rule programs. As the story goes, anyone who spotted a rule that kept employees from delighting customers would get fifty bucks. 

That’s powerful. It not only celebrates doubt, but also creates a platform to communicate it. 

And so, whether you’re a billion dollar organization, or simply someone who wants to tap into their native human endowments, maybe you should try a little doubt. 

You never know where it will take you. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

How scary do you find doubting your own beliefs?

* * * *
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, September 28, 2018

Making worry our home vibration

Colbert tells an inspiring story about his late show mentor. 

The grizzled old producer told the new host to start taping two episodes on the last day of the workweek. And then, the way he executed that second show could become the way he did the show every night. Because at that point, he’d be so tired that he wouldn’t have time to worry about making the right choices. 

Every one of us must find a path to that point. The place inside where there is little room for worry. Where the tornado of choices isn’t raging and rocking. 

The problem is, that’s a hard place to get to. Because most of us have been taught to worry about the validity of our thoughts rather than to trust our intuition. And we shouldn’t. 

Most of us have been convinced that obsessing over what could have been a marginally better option is a worthwhile investment of energy. But it isn’t. 

Here’s the reality. 

Most things will work out over time whether we worry about them or not, and whether we feel bad about them or not. Worrying and obsessing and controlling, these are tricks we play on ourselves. 

They make us feel like we’re doing something to solve our problems, but we’re not. We’re creating conflict before any actually exists. We’re polluting the six precious inches between our ears. 

If we truly want to do great work in the world, we have to stop worrying about choosing the right path. 

Because there isn’t one. The right path is the one we choose. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Is your mind creating the noise of worry because it hasn’t figure out a better technology yet?

* * * *
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, September 27, 2018

Popping our precious bubble of reality

Chodron’s book on compassionate living reminds us that the people we encounter everyday activate the karma that we haven’t worked out yet. 

They mirror us and give us the chance to befriend all of that ancient stuff that we carry around like a backpack full of granite boulders. 

It’s another one of the many risks of intimacy. People in our lives trigger our unresolved shit. Even complete strangers. 

We’re commuting to work on the train one morning, and with the passing glance of fellow passenger, we suddenly find ourselves needing to deal with some defect we never knew we had, or worse yet, some old habit or compulsion that we thought we had already eliminated. 

No wonder eye contact is an endangered species. 

People aren’t afraid of looking up from their phones, they’re afraid of looking into their own shadows. 

That’s what intimacy means. Into me I see. Through our closeness to someone, even during the briefest of moments, we are confronted by a new awareness of ourselves. 

But it’s actually a good thing. Maybe the best thing. Because all growth is interpersonal. We just can’t sit in a corner and perfect ourselves. Only through real encounters with others do we enter into the transcendental healing atmosphere. 

Here, then, are the questions:

How will we respond to people who have been sent to teach us about ourselves? 

What happens when the human mirror tells us that we’re not the fairest of them all? 

When life throws us into situations where we are forced to confront and acknowledge and develop our disowned selves, will we shut own or open up? 

It’s a choice worth making. Because there is still much mystery beneath the surface of our being. 

Might as well dive in. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you ready to be filled with what life will teach 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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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How about we skip to the part where you’re useful?

After being shut down so many times, you just stop trying. 

You start feeling like a waste of space. Like you want to hammer a hole in the floor and fall right through it. And the inner monologue is:

Wow, if this is what it feels like to give my best, why would I continue? Why am I even here? 

It’s a really shitty feeling, struggling to believe that you have something to add. And there are only so many rejections a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming. 

But apparently, this feeling is part of the human experience. At one point or another, we all labor in vain. We all grow dissatisfied with the exact use that the world makes of our ambitions and talents. 

And no matter how deeply we believe that we’re a welcome presence who’s creating value, sometimes we can’t help but feel about as useful as a cheese sandwich to a drowning ferret.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How about we skip to the part where you’re useful?
* * * *

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, September 25, 2018

The why behind the what

The artist’s statement is equally as inspiring as the artist’s sculpture. 

This micro manifesto, this conscious declaration of creative intentions, this vital link of communication between the artist and the rest of the world, that’s what touches me. 

Not the thing, but the thinking behind it. 

Rozoff, for example, is a novelist who writes what he calls escapist literature. James says that his books aren’t the kind that help you ignore reality, but the kind that help you escape from the illusions and the mindsets that keep you imprisoned in a dull reality, a world limited by fear and devoid of magic. Escape artistry, he says, is the ability to rid ourselves of the artificial constraints we somehow become enmeshed in. 

In a world where it’s far too easy to become trapped in viewpoints that limit our possibilities and lose sight of just how magical life can be, to me, that’s just as meaningful as the book itself. 

The why behind the what, that’s the stuff inspiration is made of. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you moved by the thing, or the thinking behind it?

* * * *

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, September 24, 2018

Giving up our identity to steal a worthier self

Each of us goes to great lengths to preserve what we consider to be our identity. 

It’s a control thing. We cling to our precious little personal brand that because it provides us some kind of certainty. 

But the funny thing about identity is, it’s not something that’s given, once and for all. There is no fixed point at which we can decisively say, I am that. 

Each one of us is a constantly unfolding process, not a fixed state. Each one of us is evolving toward an ever more perfect whole. 

Particularly when it comes to our professional lives. According to the bureau of labor statistics, the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty, and this number is projected to grow. We seem to go through careers like we do cars or refrigerators. 

All the more reason not to cling to our identities too tightly. Because they’re just going to change in two years anyway. Work may not be the sole identifier of the self, but does give us a secure place in a portion of reality. 

Thinking back to the many reinventions of my career, thank god I gave myself permission to clear the slate to reexamine and redefine. Thank god I forced myself to cast my professional net wider than I might have liked. 

Because we now live in a furiously evolving career landscape, and there are more opportunities than ever before. 

And so, here’s my benediction. 

May you be brave enough to give up your identity to steal a worthier self. 

May you be curious to press on in search of what you could do and where you belong. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What energy devours and swallows your identity? 

* * * *

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, September 23, 2018

Words that trigger an ancient script in my head

Business would be great if it weren’t for the customers. 

Not to mention the vendors, suppliers, employees, managers, contractors, interns, coworkers and every other maddening human being we come into contact with on a typical day. 

These people are so damned needy. Just go away and let me do my job. 

Unfortunately, we’re all in the people business. There’s no escaping it, only embracing it. 

And so, our job is learning to forgive people for being what they are. Because it’s not their fault. 

When somebody makes a snide remark during a staff meeting or sends us an email ripping apart our latest assignment, they’re not trying to get us fired, they’re simply acting out patterns set in motion by their childhoods. 

Our words must have triggered some ancient script inside their heads. 

Debotton’s essay on forgiveness reminds us that every irritating fault in another person has a long history behind it. Each person is shaped by troubles which we cannot see, but which we can know exist. And behind everything that’s wrong and infuriating about those we meet is a decisive trauma encountered before someone could cope with it properly. 

That’s why people are so goddamn maddening. They got to be this way without meaning to. 

And so, to forgive is to understand the origins of evil and and cruelty. To accept that every emotional response is reasonable and logical based on that person’s personal history. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How would you treat people differently if you discovered they were fighting a battle that you knew nothing about?

* * * *

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, September 22, 2018

Agony, far more painful than yours

It’s an illusion to think we can avoid the line of fire. 

Agony cannot be inoculated against. No matter how many precautions we take, no matter how many islands of safety we seek, and no matter how lucky and blessed and abundant we feel, hurt comes for everybody. 

The hard part is growing our ability to extend compassion to all the uninvited visitors that inevitably enter. 

Here’s a scenario:

Imagine a lady on the bus accidentally steps on your toe with her stiletto heel while riding the bus. What do you do? 

Most of us would scream expletives and punch the back of the seat and stare down that old lizard for crushing our pinky. 

But how many of us would immediately put our arm around the woman’s shoulder and ask if her shoe is feeling okay? 

None of us. Nobody’s that compassionate. 

This is a highly improbable example, but it does challenge us to rethink our relationship to pain, and the people who cause it. 

Because when we’re hurting, the last thing on our minds is how the other person is feeling. 

But the irony is, sometimes the best way to reduce our pain is to get the hell out of the small, closed circle of the self and reach for the other. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
When was the last time you gave thanks for an unwelcome life obstacle?

* * * *

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, September 20, 2018

The greatest labor intensity reduction technique

Wooten’s book about the spiritual search for growth through music was transformative for me. Quite possibly the best twenty bucks spent on my artistic education. 

Here’s one passage that was especially striking. 

It’s always easier to build upon beauty than it is to pretend it is not there and try to create it from scratch. 

This insight is especially helpful when our project screeches to a stop because the task seems overwhelming. Because in those moments when feel like we can’t even conceptualize how we are going to muster the momentum to catapult ourselves out of this shit pile, we remember something. 

We rarely, if ever, have to start from scratch. Odds are, somebody somewhere has done something that we can build on. We just need to start. To choose. To take slow, small, solid steps that build forward momentum and launch a chain reaction whose impact is greater than what we can foresee at the moment the choice is made. 

Once we bust through the wall of resistance and set that process in motion, no project is ever as overwhelming as we initially think it is. 

There’s a perfect visual that a friend of mine once used. 

Fear is a mile wide, a mile high, and paper thin. It’s like a football team running out through the tunnel and into the stadium. 

Next time your troubles threaten to overwhelm you, make things easier on yourself. Nothing is as hard as it seems. Employ the greatest labor intensity reduction technique in the world by remembering that you never start with nothing. 

It will create a small but perceptible increase in your courage in the face of emotional distress.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What do you remind yourself of when you feel like running away from all your responsibilities?

* * * *

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, September 19, 2018

The past is never coming back

Kanata, the thousand year old alien and spiritual adviser to the young jedi, makes a powerful point about growth in her famous call to adventure speech. 

"Whoever you’re waiting for, she tells the young apprentice, they’re never coming back. The belonging you seek is not behind you, but ahead. Feel it. The light, it’s always been there. Let it guide you."

This scene brought tears to my eyes. Because each of us hears a similar call. Some earlier than others, some louder than others. But everyone hears it. 

Sadly, not everyone answers it. Only those who have the audacity to cut loose from the dead hand of the past, swing forward with all of their might and see what the future has in store. 

That’s the thing about the mundane world. It has tons of sneaky ways of making us stay. Usually through projected feelings of guilt and shame and obligation. The chorus of community voices threatens us with the claim that we’ve grown too big for our britches and forgotten where we came from. 

Look at you, mister big stuff. Who do you think you are? 

But the past is never coming back. We don’t have to regret it or shut the door on it, but we do have to stay focused on the future to keep growing. 

I once heard an interview with a highly successful screenwriter whose life, not unlike many successful artists, had grown more luxurious than his origins. And when asked if he ever went back to visit his hometown, here’s what he said:

You can never really go home. It’s not there anymore. The landscape is different. The people who defined it are no longer around. And when you return, you feel like a ghost. A skeletal version of yourself. 

It’s certainly dramatic and morbid, but still accurate. 

And so, if you’re still looking for something in you past to fulfill you; if there’s something you notice yourself reaching back for, hoping it will return, don’t hold your breath. 

The past is never coming back. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Do you have any survivor’s guilt because you’ve outgrown your origins and have changed directions proudly?
* * * *

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, September 18, 2018

Enjoy change as an opportunity for renewal

Toffler once wrote in his bestselling book that change is avalanching upon our heads and most people are grotesquely unprepared to cope with it. 

That was fifty years ago. These days, it seems as if change is not coming, it is here, and things are only going to get changier. 

The question is, how can we come to enjoy change as an opportunity for renewal? What do we need to do to be ready for these changes? 

One tactic is replacing expectation with appreciation. Finding ways to become grateful for the ongoing flow of change. Even if that means making a list of all the gifts that are shrink wrapped inside of this change. 

The second tactic is surrendering. Letting go of yesterday’s winning formula that used to work, but is no longer producing suitable results today. Even if that means holding a burning release ritual in which we set fire to all of our no longer welcomes. 

I’m reminded of a comedian did a routine about how his new year’s resolution was for everyone else to get their shit together. The crowd roared. Because who doesn’t believe that everything would be fine if only someone else would change? 

But this is no joke. Each of has been gifted with full responsibility for our own development. Each of us must put the burden on our own shoulders where it belongs. 

That way, we can bravely step into a rushing river of change that will take us to new places. 

And if our boots and clothes get soaked, so be it. 


LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Do you still think your life would be better if other people changed? 
* * * *

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, September 15, 2018

Stay at the sensation level of your experience

Vandik’s enlightening book about calming the emotional storm was written specifically for people who find it difficult to understand, express, and process intense emotions. 

One of the key insights the cognitive behavioral therapist shares is what the actual definition of what an emotion is. 

An emotion is a full system response that includes physiological reactions, which are changes in body chemistry and body language, thoughts, which are triggering images and memories and action urges, as well as the actual feeling we’re experiencing, like sadness, anger and anxiety. 

Simply reading that definition was a blessing for me. Because nobody had ever explained the complicated idea of emotions in such a holistic way before. 

My misconception, probably like a lot of people, was that my feelings and emotions and thoughts were one in the same. But they’re not.

The challenge is, how do we make the essential discrimination between our stories and our living experience? Here’s a useful technique. 

When an event happens, try staying at the sensation level of your experience. Your literal, simple bodily feeling. Because it’s very hard to find a problem there, unlike immediately escalating straight to the interpretive level, where your emotions and thoughts run rampant and find problems that aren’t really there. 

For now, simply observe your biology. 

Twitchy stomach. Sweaty back. Flushed skin. Tight chest. 

Notice it. Accept it. Thank it. Walk around it. Wonder about it. Even love it. Whatever you do, just stay with that sensation. 

And know that it’s not about whether it feels yucky, but whether you relate to your experience with fundamental kindness. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What healthy things have you done in the past that helped you get through difficult situations? 
* * * *

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

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