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Sunday, July 21, 2019

A seizure of hopelessness so intense it can break your heart

Hitting bottom is an enlightened moment. 

It’s one of those rare experiences that leads to holding a new type of conversation with ourselves. One that we couldn’t have had when were still punch drunk on our tasty cocktail of foolhardiness and hope. 

And so, instead of our usual clinging to our vain hopes in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence, let us try feeling grateful for the hopelessness that haunts us. Let us lean into the fact that this is some crazy universe we've decided to live in. And let us remember that nobody is going to judge us if we want to laugh about how absurd up this all is. 

Count yourselves lucky, you just got fucked by the best my friend. 

Besides, the best thing about everything burning down is that we can salt the earth and see if we can do it again. It’s all just grist for the mill. 

As a writer friend of mine once said, before we can reinvent ourselves, we have to believe we have nothing left to say. 

If you sense a seizure of hopelessness so intense it might break your heart, maybe let it happen. Maybe crack open that hard veneer and start to feel emotions you have never let yourself feel and see what awaits you on the other side. 

Koontz was right when he said that in reasonable measure, hope sustains us. But in great excess, it distorts perceptions, dulls the mind, corrupts the heart to no less an extent than does heroin. High on hope, we forget what we love and, instead, love the ideal more than the reality, which is the cause of all the misery that the human species creates for itself. 

Today, let’s give hope the day off. It could use a vacation. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you spending enough time being hopeless?

* * * *
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, July 20, 2019

We are tickled by great names

The failure is, we are over impressed by the success of others. 

We mythologize, idealize, elevate and freeze individuals on this pedestal. 

Forgetting, that most successful people are the same mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses we are. Forgetting, that success and failure are not giant isolated events. Forgetting, that comparing somebody’s studio polished sixty second highlight reel with our indie crowdfunded documentary isn’t helpful or healthy. 

And forgetting, most importantly, that all we consider success can be physically taken away from us. 

Emerson wrote about this issue a few centuries ago:

Society is under a spell. We dote on the old and the distant. We are tickled by great names. 

And so, for those of us who find it harder and harder to keep in touch with people’s idealized facsimiles, perhaps it’s time to refocus our gaze. Perhaps it’s time to stop making comparisons that put us down and start taking a look at the worthy people we really are. 

Popova, the great inventorist of the modern meaningful life, made an insightful point about the tug of war between ambition and mental clarity. She wrote that the root of whatever we call success is really this affirmation that we long for, which is that we are okay. When someone tells us that we are successful, essentially they are telling us that we are okay, everything is okay. 

It’s time to eliminate the middle man. To cut out the intermediaries to okayness. 

To make the decision for ourselves that we are amazing creatures who don’t need to use other people’s success as a whip to our back. 

May we be tickled by our own great name. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you over impressed by the success of others?

* * * *
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, July 19, 2019

Honor our need, and the world’s need, for joy

Camus makes the following recommendation in his critical essay: 

One must keep a freshness and a source of joy intact within, loving the daylight that injustice leaves unscathed, and returning to the fray with this light as a trophy. 

This joy is the love we can never lose. The secret heaven inside that nobody can touch or take away from us. And if we don’t honor our need for it, we will never find emancipation from the inevitable anxiety of life. 

Nor will life benefit from the unique gifts we, and only we, can deliver to the world. 

That’s the problem with joy. People underrate is as a legitimate currency of exchange. It’s not viewed as having real value. 

As an example, imagine you have a brilliant friend who just launched a new documentary. You would love to support her art, but you’re as a broke as a junkie on the side of the highway. 

But what if there was a way to donate something that you actually have in abundance? 

Introducing my new invention. 

Monatae is an alternative financing crowdfunding platform where people can donate emotional currencies such as trust, joy, encouragements, empathy, compassion, attention, influence and knowledge to their favorite projects. 

It’s the perfect solution. After all, each of us possesses a natural transcendent capacity for eternal joy. Each of us has access to the inviolable and wonderfully somatic, luminous sense of being vitally alive. 

Why not pay it forward? 

Even if we have already wasted all our money on hookers and cocaine, we can still use this new platform. 

Monatae. Support people’s ventures with emotional capital. 


LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How are you intensifying the sum of joy in the world? 

* * * *
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, July 18, 2019

Show yourself that you can survive this emotion

Apathy is one of my most least favorite emotions. 

Anytime something in life gets a great big whatever from me, anytime my temporarily cynical attitude slams the door on the face of the world with heartless indifference, it just feels so gross and childish. It makes me into something alien to myself. Blech. 

But as the great pioneer of cognitive change says, feelings, no matter how strong, do not prove that something is factual or valid. 

Certainly, fleeting emotions may make us feel disgusted with ourselves, but they are not permanent realities. They’re just weather patterns. They come and go. They have a beginning and a middle and an end. 

And so, there is no need to try and to buoy ourselves with motivation and positive thinking every minute of the day. Nor is there a need to tell that feeling to fuck off because it’s not who you are. Nor is there a need to run away run away at the mere whiff of some feeling like apathy. 

Because as long as we are aware of when our mind is being controlled by these unpleasant feelings, and as long as we take the time to honor and feel and release those feelings without having them destroy us, we are okay, regardless of what we are feeling. 

What’s your least favorite emotion? Can you release the urge to run away from it or fix it? Will you turn toward that feeling, no matter how unpleasant it might be? 

Try taking one small step in the direction of experiencing your emotions more fully. See if you can free yourself to express the entire spectrum. 

And discover the wholeness that awaits you on the other side. 


LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How do you show yourself that you can survive your least favorite emotions? 

* * * *
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, July 17, 2019

Until somebody draws a line and says no more

Devore’s fabulous essay about how the big city doesn’t love you could easily be modified to address the business world. 

Because companies aren’t that different from cities. Ask any employee who has been the victim of corporate layoffs. Or, as the executive management team likes to call them, cutting costs through staff realignment. 

And the bitch of it is, that big company is too busy being a big company to care about your journey. The moment you get shit canned, it won’t miss you, it won’t know when you’re gone, and it won’t even recognize you on the streets when you run into it a year later. 

It’s like that ex who didn’t have the heart to tell you she was already seeing other people. 

It hurts so bad. You feel betrayed and abandoned. 

But this truth can also set you free. Because once you realize that the company didn’t owe you a living, once you discover that you didn’t owe them your loyalty, and once you learn that reciprocation isn’t always necessary and takes up a lot of your time, it becomes far easier to bounce back and pivot to your next chapter. 

Weiss said it best in his book about forging your own path. 

Resilience has speed as its main fuel. The faster you return to form, the better off you are. 

And so, if you find yourself kicked to the curb, or if the whiff of collapse is hanging in the air, here’s my recommendation. Take everything you can, while you can, until somebody draws a line and says no more. 

Let good things linger while they can, even if they’re illusory. 

And use that smoldering heap of ashes to propel you forward and into the light. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you too disillusioned to recognize any good that resulted from your altered plan?

* * * *
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, July 16, 2019

Hope is the muscle that needs rest

Harvey’s course on shadow work lovingly reminds us that we must prepare for the end of hope. We must stand in the truth of the self and allow for the incineration of all the illusions, including the most beautiful one of all, the illusion of hope, to come into the reality of the extremity of the situation. 

Quite the counterintuitive thought. 

After all, we have always been taught that nothing is hopeless in this world unless we want it to be. That hope is the small place inside of us they can never lock away. And that hopelessness is the primary disease which precedes all symptoms. 

But to be fair to the unfairness of life, what if our hope was a muscle that, like any other muscle that’s in constant use, needed rest? What if our hopefulness required healthy expressions of its opposite to preserve our sanity remind us that it had a pulse? 

As a pathological optimist, these questions create cramps in my brains. It seems so out of character for me. Off brand. Too much cognitive dissonance for one romantic to handle. But the lesson life has been teaching me is, just because we’re willing to lay down our weapons of hope for a while, doesn’t mean we have succumbed to the dark side. 

Just because we have accepted the reality of living in a world with rough edges and difficult truths, doesn’t mean we have become cynics who rob themselves of the gift of life. 

As my favorite movie detective once said, it’s like collecting diamonds on a desert island. You keep them just in case you ever get rescued, but it’s a pretty big ocean out there. Perhaps surrendering to the waves is good for the soul. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you doubting reality, or your limited and biased perception of 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, July 15, 2019

There’s a fine line between fuck you and fuck me

Success doesn’t have a line. 

It’s not about fairness, it’s not about merit and it’s not about talent. 

It’s about timing. It isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. 

And so, it’s no surprise that we feel a little twinge of envy when somebody’s dream gets more attention than ours. We infuriatingly wonder to ourselves, wow, has anyone gotten so far on so little? 

This is a perfectly normal reaction. But before we start resenting other people’s achievements, we might dig deeper and consider the fact that maybe we are the idiots. Maybe we are the ones doing it all wrong. Maybe the people whom we detest are actually geniuses who have it all figured out, mediocrity notwithstanding. 

Burton’s movie about the fine art world comes to mind. The snob smirks and groans his competitor’s crowded gallery, making the following observation to his coworker:

Why are we starving while he prints money? This guy sells paintings, then he sells pictures of the paintings, then he sells postcards of pictures of the paintings. I bet I could bang one out in ten minutes. It wouldn’t have the dopey sincerity, but customers wouldn’t even notice. 

A perfect personification of my theory:

There’s a fine line between fuck you and fuck me. 

Crossing that line requires deep empathy and humility, but it’s worth it. 

And so, before we spiral into a paralyzing state of bitterness about other people’s success, we might consider channeling our spiteful energy into something more productive. 

Like pulling a page from somebody else’s playbook. Just to see how it feels. Because they’re obviously doing something right. 

Obiwan’s words of jedi wisdom come to mind:

Who is the bigger fool? The fool or the fool who follows him? 

Except in this case, the bigger fool is the one who doesn’t follow him. The bigger fool is the one who stubbornly adheres to his supposed integrity to a fault while success passes him by. 


LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Where do you wish you were able to settle for less?

* * * *
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, July 14, 2019

There’s a time to be honest, and there’s a time to sell cars

Schwartz’s fascinating study on virtue found that in life, there is no such thing as an unmitigated good. There is no value or behavior that’s universally positive. 

Take the overhyped word authenticity. It’s become the defining virtue to which we are all urged all aspire. 

But there are some key questions worth asking. 

What good is authenticity if everybody in you know thinks you’re a dick? 
How noble is being in complete integrity all the time if your coworkers find you to be a contemptuous asshole? 
What’s the point in being terminally true to yourself when doing so prevents you from evolving and changing for the better?
Where is the value in always expressing your genuine truth if it alienates you from the people you love? 
Aristotle famously proposed that to achieve happiness and success, people should cultivate virtues at mean or intermediate levels between deficiencies and excesses. 

Which is a fancy way of saying:

There is a fine line between knowing who you are and subjecting people to your unkind bullshit. 

Look, by all means, know who you are. Love who you are. Proudly share who you are. 

But accept that who you are is not the center of the universe around which the rest of us are obligated to revolve. 

Authenticity is not a panacea. Keeping it real is the sole path to heroism. And for the record, just because someone doesn’t act how they feel every minute of the day, it doesn’t make them inauthentic. 

It makes them an adult. It makes them kind. It makes them the kind of person others actually enjoy being around. 



LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What is the social cost of your aggressive authenticity?

* * * *
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, July 13, 2019

The constantly thickening veil of illusion

Jung named the shadow as the unconscious aspect of personality. 

The emotion that the conscious ego does not identify in itself. In short, it’s our dark side. 

What’s tricky is, while shadows are largely negative, there are times when positive aspects can actually harm us. Jung says they can act as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world. 

Hope, as an example, can be a shadow. Like when positive thinkers and optimists try to invent a fake way out of an impossible situation. Because even if that hope convinces us that everything will be okay, even if it feels like the right story to tell ourselves, it still may not be serving us. 

Years ago, when my company starting laying off people like mad, the future was looking grim. The few of us who were left in our office did our best to keep the flame of hope alive, but as the magic eight ball famously said, all signs pointed to yes. 

As in, yes, it’s only a matter of time. Yes, it’s wise to start exploring other job opportunities. 

A friend who had worked at several startups just like mine gave me some unexpected advice:

I know you are bruised and battered, but these things tend not to resolve themselves with renewed vigor and optimism, but with a whimper. 

It was a gloomy thought, but my friend’s words taught us the danger of investing too much emotional capital in mere hope. Its shadow can block the light of reality. 

And not that retreating into despair and cynicism is a better option, but sometimes, only after the illusion of hope is dispelled can we more clearly see the truth and move forward to the next chapter. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you striving to resist the flood of hope that might sweep you away?

* * * *
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, July 12, 2019

The buried sun where everything must one day burn

Emerson knew a thing or two about creative originality. 

He wrote:

The more truly we consult our own powers, the more different will our work exhibit from the work of any other. Each individual soul is in virtue of its being a power to translate the world into some particular language of its own. 

Camus echoed a similar sentiment nearly a century later. 

He observed:

A time always comes in an artist’s life when he must take his bearings, draw closer to his own center and then try to stay there. Every artist is undoubtedly pursuing his truth. And if he is a great artist, each work beings him nearer to it, or at least, swings closer toward this center, this buried sun where everything mist one day burn. 

The challenge, then, is not how to access that power. That’s just a matter of permission. The hard part is buttressing that power with human support. 

No matter how fiercely independent we think we are, each of us needs at least one person, if not more, to believe in us. 

Especially in those shadow moments when we don’t believe in ourselves. We all need someone who will lovingly lock arms with us and champion the fullest play on the powers our unique organism brings into the world. 

What’s more, be there for us when the world spits us out like a wad of stale bubble gum. 

Without that kind of human sustenance, our level of originality won’t matter. Because our creative house will crumble. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Who is your number one fan?
* * * *
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, July 11, 2019

We can still remind ourselves that we have hope

Emerson’s nonlinear nature is best personified by the following passage from his famous essay:

One does not interfere with life’s vast curves, prematurely forcing them into a circle of ellipse, but only that arc which one clearly sees, and perhaps at a later observation, a remote curve of the same orbit, and waits for a new opportunity, well assured that these observed arcs will consist of each other. 

His words are heavy and complicated and beautiful. 

My interpretation of this poetic insight relates to the unlikely trajectories our lives often take. Because no matter how much the world knocks us around like pinballs, our journey still has a unifying through line. A narrative spine. A thematic sweep that links the path together. 

We might not realize it at the time. Or ever, for that matter. But if we can trust the process, along with the universe that shepherds it, no matter how chaotic and divergent things may feel, we can still remind ourselves that we have hope. 

We can still look forward to looking back. 

My mentor once said that the definition of what is and what is not a good life have been permanently altered, and can be molded to fit the needs of our unique incarnation on this bizarre blue marble. 

And so, instead of trusting anyone who tells us how our story goes, let us trust the process. Let us trust our changes. 

The myth isn’t done to us, it’s something we choose. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Ten years from now, what will be the narrative pattern that gives significance to your existence?

* * * *
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, July 10, 2019

A portent of doom and misfortune

Data driven organizations are trained to stop wondering what they think and start asking what they know. 

To move away from hunches and instinct and closer to fact. 

Which is a useful approach when it comes to technology. But when it comes to messy task of unraveling the riddle of human nature, things aren’t so binary. 

During my stint as brand manager a tech startup, our entire staff of six hundred gathered for an all employee party. It lasted fourteen straight hours. And it consisted of food trucks, sporting events, craft stations, free tshirts, meditation classes, hookah circles, drone videography, and open bar and all night dancing. 

A party for the ages, no doubt. 

Strangely enough, there was a moment during the fireworks display when a corkscrew of chill flew through the hollows of my spine. 

Holy shit, something really terrible is about to happen here. 

Huh? Where did that feeling come from? Oh well. It’s probably nothing. Just my spicy kebab digesting. 

A month later, the company laid off ten percent of its staff. Including my entire office. Effectively immediately. 

We had our world pulled out from under us like a ratty rug you toss on the rubbish pile. 

It was quite biblical, in fact. Like the story of the writing on the wall. Belshazzar is told:

You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. 

How’s your intuition these days? 

It’s funny, in a data driven world where we are taught to worry about the validity of our thoughts rather than to trust our intuition, we have never needed our guts more. 

Gavin’s brilliant book on the gift of fear reminds us that no animal in the wild suddenly overcome with fear would spend any of its mental energy thinking, it’s probably nothing. We must train ourselves to entertain the possibility that our minds might actually be working for us and not just playing tricks on us. Every thought is preceded by a perception, every impulse is preceded by a thought, every action is preceded by an impulse. 

Lesson learned, next time you look up at the fireworks and all signs point to oh shit, take action on your intuitive leads. 

Begin with the truth and build on the firm foundation it provides. Steel yourself against the portent of doom and misfortune. 

And perhaps you’ll make it out of the kingdom alive. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How are you watering and fertilizing your faith through the practice of intuition?

* * * *
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, July 09, 2019

Moaning at the thought of the uphill climb ahead of you

Brands love beating their chests. 

Bragging about how their innovative products and services are filling people’s needs in a simple, useful way. 

Which is fine, except when there is a profound disconnect between what the brand is proud to ship and what the customer is prepared to buy. 

My first startup job was with an air passenger rights organization. We helped disrupted travelers get compensation from the airlines for delayed, canceled and overbooked flights. 

Great product. Our customers raved about us. But we still had a major category problem. 

Most travelers didn’t even know they had rights, much less what those rights where, much less how to file a claim with the airlines to compensated for a violation of those rights, much less that they should use our company over the competition. 

Our total viable market was a slice of a slice of a slice. 

If your organization is struggling to get traction, perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board and ask yourselves a few questions about your brand. 

First of all, do consumers even recognize that they have the problem you are trying to solve? 

And if they do, do customers understand why it’s important that you’re better than the competition? 

If they don’t, growing the brand is going to feel like pushing a van uphill with the breaks on while people throw rocks at the windshield. 

Schrager’s book on why most innovations fail observed it most eloquently:

Innovation is about designing customers, not just new products. Successful innovators don’t just ask customers to do something different, they ask them to become something different. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What brand of customer does your innovative brand help create?

* * * *
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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