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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Abandoning our intuition to avoid disappointing others

Strong boundaried people take responsibility for their own emotions. 

They slough off other people’s projections. And they’re able to discern where they end and others begin, appropriately separating their own thoughts and feelings from those of others. 

As a codependent, this is inspiring to me. Because my sensitivity has always made me vulnerable to problems that didn’t necessarily belong to me. 

For example, growing up, anytime people would imply or accuse me of stuff that seemed to come completely out of left field, it made me mad as hell. My skin flushed and my stomach churned and my inner child felt attacked and misunderstood and invisible. 

Like he was charged with a crime he didn’t commit. 

But as an adult, that membrane between myself and others has clarified and strengthened. Instead of immediately defending, explaining and reassuring others of my position, the question inside my head becomes the following. 

How much of this is actually mine? 

And after checking in with my body, in many cases, the answer is, not much. Which empowers me to think:

Okay, cool, that’s not mine, it’s theirs. Let’s send it right back. 

This practice is hard. Sometimes my emotions get the best of me and the question is never asked. But when it works, it allows me to create and maintain my separate self and learn to trust my own perceptions. 

Next time someone says something that doesn’t track for you, no need to abandon your intuition just to avoid disappointing them and win their approval. 

Figure out what’s yours and what’s theirs. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are these comments really about me, or simply indications of another person’s stuff?

* * * *

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, January 30, 2019

It seemed too simple, so we didn’t do it

Each day presents us the chance to overthink things. 

To misuse the power of our minds to intellectualize simple matters into a mess. And to exaggerate even the smallest tasks, making our lives far more complicated than necessary. 


The only problem is, our ego loves this. Over thinking is like an aphrodisiac for the psyche. And so, it warns us that if something is not complex, it can’t possibly be serious enough to use. It tells us that it’s interesting for other people to be around somebody so complicated. And it convinces that if we don’t convert our goals into convoluted miniature business plans, we’ll never accomplish them. 


Sadly, none of this is truly action. It is resistance. It is the opposite of doing. And until we find trusted people in our lives to call us on our bullshit, we will continue to overthink our dreams into the ground. 


A therapist friend of mine is a stickler for this habit. Whenever he sees clients and even friends complicating the purity of their work, he says three words with fierce compassion. 


Keep it clean. 


Meaning, share your goals in a way that is not ornate, but gracefully spare. Forceful and simple. Trim and streamlined. 


He also encourages people to ask themselves one simple question throughout their days. 


Will this course of action simplify or complicate my life? 


Most of the time, the answer is the latter. Which means we can let it go. 


Remember, complexity is attractive because it feels like progress. 


But that doesn’t make it effective. Keep it clean. 


LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What will be possible once you stop trying to figure out life and intellectualize everything?

* * * *

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, January 29, 2019

Good or bad will get you nowhere

Here’s something that took me three decades to learn. 

Sadness, anger, jealousy and rage aren’t negative feelings, they’re just feelings. 

They’re not the opposite of anything. 

Yes, they might be complicated and difficult and raw and messy, but they’re not negative. The world of emotions isn’t good or bad, right or wrong, black or white, practical or irrational, win or lose. It’s much greyer than that. 

Masters calls this tendency the shadow of trying to be emotionally positive. He writes:

We need to stop attaching better to upness, positivity, light and expansion. We must stop attaching worse to downness, negativity, darkness and contraction. Doing so keeps us split, divided, cut off from our wholeness, whereas it’s better to make compassionate room for both camps. 

This is a challenging but relieving message for me. Because personally, when confronted with my own emotional complexity, my default is to navigate that by reducing feelings to artificial binaries. 

By labeling jealousy, for example, as a negative, bad, immature feeling, that gives me an excuse to immediately disown it. As opposed to sitting with it and allowing it to move through me. 

Southpark’s award winning musical performs a song on this very issue. The missionary is determined to quash his pesky homosexual urges, so he sings the following. 

When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head, don’t feel those feelings. Hold them in instead. Turn it off, like a light switch Just go click. It’s a cool little trick. When you're feeling certain feels, that just don’t feel right, treat those pesky feelings like a reading light. 

Proving, that getting into a debate with our inner critic about what we should be feeling, and what category those feelings belong to, is not helpful. 

Because every time we try to disown one of our feelings, we disown part of ourselves. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How will you learn to feel the feelings you formerly anesthetized?

* * * *

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, January 27, 2019

Your ship came in and knocked the wind out of my sails

Imagine you’re unsatisfied at work. 

The pay is good, the work is okay, but ultimately, it’s not where you belong professionally. The fulfillment factor isn’t there anymore. The job has run its course. Soon enough, the time will come to move on to the next work adventure. 

And so, one afternoon, just for shits and giggles, you start running thought experiments. Imagining what life and work might look and feel like if you switched careers or went back to school or launched your own business. 

You read some articles about career reinvention. Maybe even sneak a peek at interesting job applications during lunch hour. 

It’s nothing serious, just an exercise in career curiosity that energizes and encourages you on an otherwise sullen day. 

Then you get home and your spouse leaps into your arms at the front door with some exciting news. His innovative smartphone app just secured a multimillion dollar round of funding from an angel investor. The announcement made headlines in every tech publication in the industry. Website traffic is through the roof. Downloads have never been higher. This is the tipping point that will launch his project to the next level. After years of hard work, his fulfillment ship has finally come in. 

Meanwhile, that ship just knocked the wind out of your sails. 

His newfound good fortune seems to underline your own dashed hopes. 

And you’d like to share the joy of his success, but you just can’t escape the painful loneliness. So you put on a happy face even though it feels like he left you behind. 

Congrats sweetheart.

This scenario happens all the time. In a variety of relationships, too. From friends to lovers to colleagues to coworkers to family members. And over time, if not properly acknowledged processed, an undercurrent of jealousy and rivalry can start to form between people. 

Masters, who wrote the quintessential book on emotional intimacy, points out the toxicity of this dynamic. He believes that resentment is more of a moral state, filled with the conviction that the other person doesn’t deserve to have what they have, or what you think you deserve to have. 

It creates the comparing mind, he says, where a contracted flood of repetitive thoughts about those who have what you want. A place where you tend to do nothing to alter your situation and simply settle for being embittered about what another has that you wish you had. 

Masters offers a helpful question to ask in this situation. 

Are you willing to do what is needed to have what this person has? 

Because if so, then there isn’t a problem. Their success can serve as a spark of inspiration, as opposed to a source of envy. You can metabolize your angry and lonely energy into creative firepower that fuels your own work. 

On the other hand, if you’re not willing to do the work to have what you say you want, then, well, good luck. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How will you respond to watching your dreams come true for somebody else?
* * * *

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, January 26, 2019

Let gratitude crowd out envy

My actress friend tells me that the purpose of most industry parties is to see where you are in the food chain. 

Yikes. That sound equally as exhausting as acting itself. 

And yet, we all fall prey to this behavior. It’s not a performer thing, it’s a person thing. Playing the comparison game is one of the things human beings do best. We spend a lot of our time comparing our capacities and careers to other people, wishing ours was different. 

But what we don’t realize is, we’re only envying people’s presumed happiness. We’re only comparing ourselves with people’s idealized facsimiles of themselves. And we have no idea what’s going on inside of others. 

Therefore, anything we say about ourselves in relation to them will be unfair, biased and solely focused on a place outside of ourselves. 

And so, in the same way that our doctor tells us to flood ourselves with fluids when we’re sick, we need to let gratitude crowd out envy. Here are a few strategies that helped me. 

Instead of feeling the pain caused by comparison, we use thankfulness as a clinical intervention for hopelessness. 

Instead of beating ourselves up about how much farther along the journey someone else is, we take an inventory of how far we’ve come. 

Instead of resenting people for receiving more recognition than we feel their work deserves, we send them a note with heartfelt congratulations. 

Instead of cursing the unfairness about whose dream gets more attention, we show an appreciation for the fact that we even have room to dream in the first place. 

Not all in the same day. This practice of letting gratitude crowd out envy is not an easy one to effect. 

It requires deep imagination, optimism and trust. 

Basically, a total reframing of something that comes natural to us. 

Good luck. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What if all the comparing could be replaced with connecting? 
* * * *

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, January 25, 2019

Holding onto the ship with our fingernails

Altman’s calming book on mindfulness reminds us that letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care, it’s just that we are no longer invested in building a brick wall to keep things from changing. 

But it’s hard. Any experience of letting go is a death. It’s an opening to our own mortality. An acknowledgement of that which is no longer. 

Here are a few examples from my own experience. Think about which ones might apply to you. 

Stubbornly reasserting our faulty vision in the face of mounting contradictory evidence. 

Blindly persisting in being the way we are even when it doesn’t work. 

Preciously holding onto old pillars of our identity that no longer support the weight of our newly expanded self. 

Adamantly refusing to let go of strategies that have previously helped us but no longer apply. 

Firmly adhering to our rigid definition of the universe no matter how many times we were proven wrong. 

It’s scary. Each of these moments is a death of something. Or someone, as it were. 

But the good news is, the more we practice surrendering, the more we begin to sense what letting go means. And the more liberated we become. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What is something that served you in other parts of your life that is useless now? 
* * * *

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, January 24, 2019

Dare to speak up against a system that’s working

One of the things we learn at a tech startup is, there is a measurable difference between an interesting idea, and a true innovation. 

The former is when our idea creates incremental improvements to an existing problem. Which is important and helpful, but not necessarily innovative. 

The latter is when our idea elevates the whole organization to the next level. When we initiate something that can be fully integrated into the company and lead to increased profitability across the board. 

Interestingly enough, this same distinction can be applied to our personal corporations as well. Because we make a lot of changes in our lives that are useful improvements. And that’s great. But we must also know that true transformation, literally meaning to go beyond form, is the only way to elevate ourselves to the next level. 

Gross wrote a remarkable book on this very issue. Her research on personal reinvention focused on individuals who were convinced that it was impossible to exist in any other way. These were people who refused, either consciously or subconsciously, to cut the umbilical cord to everything that helped them gain success in the past. 

Sounds familiar. 

Who among us can’t relate to that experience of identity stubbornness? After all, as long as we’re playing the game effectively, why question the need to play it? Why rock our own boat? 

It depends. Everybody grows differently. 

Some people long to transform, others are content simply making changes. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Which form of growth motivates 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, January 23, 2019

Are you paranoid or just experienced?

With every promising new opportunity that arises, a set of sneaky beliefs always spout anew. 

Assuring you that this interview, this relationship, this project, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. This is thee thing that is going to change everything and set you free and take you to the next level. 

But as a veteran screenwriter friend of mine once warned me:

Most of the time, you’re just part of a rote series of meetings because people want to feel good about themselves and make their bosses happy. They are not going to call you back. They are not going to hire you. They are going to go away. And each of those doors that you don’t walk through is going to close forever. 

Is he cynical? Is he paranoid? Is he crazy? 

No. He is experienced. 

Twenty years in the business tell him that opportunity is a decision that is his to make, and not some event that depends on something else happening in the future. 

Twenty years in the business tell him that there is no nagging doubt about the road not taken and the opportunities missed, only the path he’s on now. 

Twenty years in the business tell him that he can never have what others have, no matter how much he puts his noses to the grindstone. 

All he can do is create things that are as interesting as he is. All he can do is write his own rules and own his process and execute with all his might and not worry if people like or even notice final product. 

Because the point isn’t for everyone to love him, the point is for everything to be expressed by him. Everything else is just noise. 

That is the ideal by which he judges the opportunities of his life. 
 
LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What’s your ideal?

* * * *
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, January 22, 2019

The mountain has been conquered and there is no apparent frontier

The best way to reinvent yourself is to not be too successful. 

Think about it. People who are thriving every single day, everywhere they go, in everything they do, they have zero motivation to change. There’s no acute pressure to upgrade. 

Because why fold a winning hand? Why put at risk the success they’ve already become? And why shift the boundaries of the future when the present is so prosperous and safe? 

Graves researched this stage of growth more than thirty years ago. He called it the alpha fit:

A place where the individual is in sync and relatively successful. They have it together in their personal world, believing it will be relatively smooth sailing for a while. Their systems are in a state of equilibrium and homeostasis. They maintain a worldview that has worked for them which they have never doubted. God is in heaven and all is right with the world. The mountain has been conquered and there is no apparent frontier. 

Sounds blissful. 

However, most of us mere mortals don’t have that luxury. Not yet. We’re still searching for the right opportunities to maximize our gifts. We’re still hungry to take our talents on the ride they deserve. 

Thus, reinvention is a requirement. 

I spent the first decade of my career working for myself. It was glorious. The freelance world suited my personality and skillset perfectly. Plus, the idea of getting a straight job and commuting to an office and having a boss and working with a team made my bum wink. 

But spend ten years doing anything, and you’re bound to question yourself. 

Thankfully, my mentor challenged my stubbornness. He said:

You’re making this law for yourself by believing you’re blocked from entering the field. But it’s just a story. It’s an artificial construct that’s too convenient to be killed. And if you’re willing to do work at the edge, that experiential zone where your deepest and most relevant growth happens, there are untapped reservoirs of fulfillment waiting for you on the other side. 

It took five years for that insight to finally settle in. But once it did, I was able to leave my past behind and reinvent myself. 

Remember, as long as we are alive, we never exhaust our opportunities for growth. No matter how successful we think we are, each of us can still awaken a more elaborated identity on top of what already exists. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What are the powerful psychological forces aligned against your reinvention? 

* * * *

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, January 21, 2019

For all the ways in which the world today falls short of utopia

Gaffigan is one of the most successful comedians in the world. 

He collaborates extensively with his wife, the quiet powerhouse who writes, edits and produces their comedy programs behind the scenes. 

During a recent interview on a showbiz podcast, she shared an insight that every freelancer and artist and entrepreneur in history should hear:

Every six months, the opportunity of a lifetime is going to come by, and you’re not going to get it. 

That sentence should be printed on large block letters and hung on the walls of every office on the planet. It’s the perfect grounding mantra for creatives. A practical reminder that our capacity for calm depends on our level of expectation. 

And so, if we’re sitting around all day pathetically waiting for that one email, that one phone call, that one chance meeting, that we just know is going to change everything and set us free and take our career to the next level, we’re not really living. We’re waiting. 

Now, that doesn’t suggest we should stuff our excitement deep down inside ourselves and pretend we aren’t interested. There’s nothing wrong with getting carried away by our own enthusiasm. 

But only for about a day. Because the stars in our eyes have a limited shelf life. It’s best we give thanks for the opportunity, assume we’re not going to get it, and then move on to something else. 

That way, instead of wasting time and energy brooding over our precious lost opportunities, we can trust that there will be more. 

We are richly supported. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Is expectation still the track your train runs on? 
* * * *

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, January 20, 2019

It feels irresponsible not being responsible for everyone

I once read a fascinating medical book about dangers of painkillers. 

Pinsky, the author and board certified addiction medicine specialist, introduces the book by reflecting on his first opportunity as a young doctor to administer an opiate to a patient. 

I cannot express my satisfaction at having been able to help this man so vividly and quickly. This is what those of us who enter helping professions expect and hope from our careers. Rarely do we get to experience this sense of triumph so thoroughly as with our ability to take away pain. 

You don’t have be a doctor to relate to this moment. Any of us with the desire to help others, be of service to the world and improve people’s lives can understand that experience. 

But the irony is, the satisfaction of being the helpful hero who saves others from their problems and is valued for their ability to fix people, that’s one hell of an opiate too. Which means it’s highly addictive too. And if we’re not careful, it can provoke deep anxiety. 

It’s like my boss once told me during a performance review:

You need to let these things be other people’s problems. 

Meaning, you are not responsible for keeping the whole company on track. 

Meaning, extricate yourself and delegate those tasks to others. 

Meaning, free yourself from the stress of having to be a godlike being who has all the answers. 

Meaning, sidestep the swollen egotism that arises from viewing yourself as the chief executive rescuer. 

You need to let these things be other people’s problems. And once you get rid of all that stuff, you can be lighter for the journey in front of you. 

Remember, in a world that puts extremely high value on improvement, progress and results, it’s hard for us to admit that many things in life are okay just as they are. 

That they don’t need our help. And that it’s not irresponsible not being responsible for everyone.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you accepting of the almost endless list of conditions that are not humanly possible to change?

* * * *
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, January 19, 2019

Small monuments to my immortality shrank into significance

Buddhism teaches that all of human existence is transient, or in a constant state of flux and uncertainty. 

This is a deeply difficult thing for westerners to wrap our heads around. Because it punctures our illusions of immortality. It flies in the face of our obsession with omnipotence. It stomps all over our desperate and fateful urge to try to make things permanent. 

And so, all this medicine, technology and innovation that’s supposedly helping us live for a hundred years, what if it’s all just another denial of death? What if it’s all just another rejection of the only reality there is?

Levin’s award winning essay on impermanence makes the case perfectly. 

Believing in a permanent self is like believing in a permanent rainbow. And this goes for everything, too. Not just the self. But all that the self occupies. 

Our goal should be to stop fighting impermanence and start learning to flow within it. And to trust that if nothing lasts, that means we can better handle whatever suffering is happening right now. 

Koppleman’s astounding screenplay about the destructive power of addiction comes to mind. Laney, a family woman who takes too many drugs and sleeps with too many strangers and disappears when she wants, makes one last desperate attempt at redemption. And as her husband tries to console her, he says this. 

Everything beautiful, every moment of beauty, it goes away. Fades. But then there’s another one, and another one, and another one. And you just have to be alive to see it. 

Perhaps understanding our circumstances to be temporary can inspire hope in each of us. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

How much of your suffering stems from your resistance to impermanence as a ruling law of the universe? 

* * * *
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, January 18, 2019

The mantra that we carry inside ourselves

Using time wisely is not only about your time, but other people’s time as well. 

Understanding that you’re not the only busy one on the team. And having some empathy for people’s schedules, which are likely far busier than you realize. 

Years ago my mentor gave me a piece of advice that helped him significantly when he was starting his career as a salesman. He said that before you leap in with your ideas and tasks and projects and meeting invites, trying putting a sticky note on your screen that poses the following question:

Does this email you’re about to send demonstrate a deep respect for the other person’s precious time? 

Most of the time, the answer will be no. And that’s a good thing. Because it becomes a great time management filter. An empathy prompt. An approachability alert. 

Personally, that single question changed the way I prospected. It became a mantra that I carried inside myself to help target customers in the most effective way. 

In fact, that just gave me an idea. 

Google should launch an inbox plugin that warns users when they compose emails to people whose calendars are especially crowded. It could help team members build awareness of how they diminish the receptivity of their messages. And maybe eliminate the need for a few pointless meetings. 

Patent pending. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Does this email you’re about to send demonstrate a deep respect for the other person’s precious 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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