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Monday, November 18, 2019

Open ourselves into the maelstrom winds of possibility

We capable of changing everything if we choose. 

But we should also never underestimate how difficult the process of change is. 

Each of us has a deep aversion to abandoning something that we believe is working for us. Even if we claim that we really do want to change, odds are, the majority of us would rather justify staying the we are. 

Because unlike computer software, where all we have to do is click on the installation icon, wait for the setup program to load, enter in the product key, press start, and watch the slick new update switch over before our very eyes, unshelling the current operating system of our life and installing a new one is a much messier, longer and harder process.

But it does often initiate with some kind of realization. Some kind of holy shit moment. 

Ten years into my career, the clarifying moment went something like this:

Oh wow, my plan is not working anymore, and my current source of power, successful as it has made me, has now become more trouble than it’s worth. 

And hell, that was only the beginning. It took another few years to figure out how to redirect that dysfunctional energy into a new way of being, plus the startling assortment of small parts, false starts and broken hearts that happened along the way. 

At some point, though, we all have to be willing to accept the limits of our model of reality. We have to open ourselves into the maelstrom winds of possibility and think to ourselves, oh hell yes, this could be the genesis of a new way of being. 

Are we willing to do the work required to enact real change? Not just bullshit window dressing change, putting the same old poison in a new bottle, but real and holistic and ontological transformation? 

We are certainly capable, that’s for sure. 

Will, on the other hand, is a very different thing.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What has always been heroic about your behavior in the past that is now preventing you from being effective?

* * * *
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, November 17, 2019

Lend a bit of love to the ordinary

Romance is not complicated or difficult or even expensive. 

It simply requires intention and attention, which most people are too busy, too lazy or too afraid to give. 

Even if we are not fundamentally lovey dovey touchy feely people, just about anything we do that goes beyond the bare minimum counts as being romantic. 

Whether we’re with a date, a partner, a customer, an employee or a stranger, anytime we lend a bit of love to the ordinary, anytime we layer meaning on top of the mundane, anytime we do anything that makes the other person think to themselves, holy smokes, did they do that just for me, then romance is certainly in the air. 

In literature and music, for example, romance was first categorized as art that emphasized imagination, emotion, introspection and celebrated the freedom of the spirit. 

Those are perfectly helpful guidelines for anyone who isn’t sure where to start. 

Reminds me of the advice my mentor once gave to me about making presentations:

Don’t read your slides, romance them. Unite your screen, your audience and your words together in one big love triangle. 

Remember, being with boring people can feel worse than being alone. 

Turn the lights down low, and invite people come see these gifts you have made for them. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What could you say to bring some love and warmth into this experience? 

* * * *
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, November 16, 2019

The world’s finest renewable resource

The bad news is, each day bombards us with more threats to our sense of meaningfulness, more reasons to lose all faith in humanity, more stories that grip our hearts with painful feelings of shame and hopelessness, and more reminders of the universe’s sheer indifference to our plight. 

But the good news is, each day is also an opportunity to prove to ourselves that meaning is made, not found. 

No matter how many grim headlines we are assaulted by, meaning is and always will be the world’s finest renewable resource, of which we are the sole arbiters. And if we can teach ourselves to intentionally frame everything we do as a vehicle to create meaning for us, then the slings and arrows of ordinary misery won’t stand a chance. 

Epictetus, a slave turned philosopher, wrote that nothing lies completely in our power except our judgments, desires and goals. He said that misery was a choice and not an inevitable condition. And that if we divide our life into two different categories, the externals we can’t control, and the choices we can make in response to them, then we have a useful filter for experiencing the world. 

Epictetus figured out hundreds of years ago that meaning is not something outside ourselves we to search for. It is not something we either have or don’t have. 

We are the source of it. We can make as much of it as we want. We can become confident contributors to every situation we encounter. 

And it all begins by asking ourselves if what’s happening is an uncontrollable external, or an intentional choice. 

Start there and meaning will be close behind. 

No matter what headlines you may read. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you treating every adversity as the stimulus to live well, or another goddamn reason to be disappointed and frustrated? 

* * * *
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, November 15, 2019

Vast amounts of energy bemoaning the success of others

When we envy, we are never free from stress. 

Each time we covet another person’s career, each time we assign ourselves the role of deciding who deserves what, each time spitefully ask how anyone could get so far on so little, we squeeze a little more cortisol into our bloodstream and squelch a little more joy out of our hearts. 

It’s not healthy and it’s not helpful. 

Stoic philosophers claimed envy was the mobilizing force that helped us discern the direction of our desire, but it’s really an infectious disease that we inflict upon ourselves when we are afraid to love. 

My favorite fiction novelist, when asked if success among his writer friends created animosity, maintains an admirable mindset around this issue. He writes that everyone who has success is adding to the success of the entire business, enlarging the pool of industry finances, and making it possible for others to succeed. One man’s triumph increases the opportunities for all. 

Koontz doesn’t contract into envy when his book gets bumped off the charts, he expands into gratitude, abundance and affirmation. He doesn’t imprison himself through the poison of comparison, he simply trusts that where there is one, there is a ton. And he doesn’t waste vast amounts of energy bemoaning what everyone else is getting away with, he trusts the fact that something happening at all means that it’s possible. 

How much energy are you spending bemoaning the success of others? Is that feeling of envy really a tuning fork for your instrument of motivation, or is it contracting your heart into a state of scarcity and tension? 

Listen, everybody is getting away with something, but each of us still has a responsibility not to participate in the spread of envy’s contagion. 

If you want to complain, go make something. Metabolize your resentment into something meaningful instead of spewing more bile into the world. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you ready to move the boulder of resentment that is blocking the entrance to your own heart?

* * * *

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, November 14, 2019

Bursting the fantasy illusion

Some of us choose the wrong heroes. 

We become tickled by great names. 

And so, we put these famous, celebrated, successful people up on a pedestal, but then the very moment they commit the crime of being human, when they suddenly swing from sugar to shit, we become all angry and betrayed and disappointed. 

Because we built up this imaginary relationship inside our minds about who we wanted them to be. 

We thought we knew them. But we didn’t. 

We thought they cared about the same things we cared about. But they don’t. 

Reality is, we didn’t know them any more than the quickie mart clerk knows the hundreds of customers purchasing beer and cigarettes on a daily basis. It’s all projection and expectation. 

It reminds me of the mantra, never meet your heroes. 

It has validity, but perhaps a more valuable insight is, we should always question who our heroes are in the first place. 

Carlin once joked that he was sick of being told who his heroes ought to be, and tired of being told who he ought to be looking up to. That liberated brand of thinking, ironically enough, actually made him a hero to millions. 

If you have recently found yourself disillusioned by someone you once deified, here are several practices you might consider. 

Instead of forcing people to be what you want, try letting go of expectations. 

Instead of allowing the neurotic fantasy script inside your heads to be the arbiter of your reality, find ways to forgive others for not being as you’d hoped. 

Instead of freebasing the fatal drug of trying to control other people, find ways to create your own feelings of safety when things don’t go as you planned. 

Remember, everybody is disappointing once we get to know them. 

We are all tickled by great names. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

When have you chosen the wrong heroes?

* * * *

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, November 13, 2019

Slowly making peace with the weirdness in myself

There are as many paths in the world as there are people to take them. 

Which means not everybody you encounter will understand and relate to your unique approach to life. 

And that’s fine. One man’s weirdness is another man’s refuge. 

What matters is making peace with that weirdness in ourselves. Taking pride in our own habits and needs, and not abandoning them on a moment’s notice just because some jerk who barely knows us finds our actions to be unusual and confusing. 

Happens to me plenty, and even if a part of me feels hurt and rejected and shamed by their judgment, there are several questions that remind me to make peace with the weirdness in myself. 

You might ask yourself a few of these the next time you’re shamed for being yourself. 

  • Does this help me build a life that supports calmness?
  • Does this enable me to make significant contributions to the world? 
  • Does this make me more effective as a human being? 
  • Does this keep me connected with self and spirit? 
  • Does this bring joy, meaning and fulfillment to my relationships? 
  • Does this help me act more kind towards myself and others?
  • Does this allow me to make healthy choices that please and nurture my soul? 
If the answer is yes, go for it. With all your heart. 

Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself and others. 

Even if people look at you like you have three heads. 

Those who would embrace the weirdness you have to offer will come running. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you brave enough to choose precisely what it is you want?
* * * *

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, November 11, 2019

The secret places of our souls where no stranger intermeddles

When nothing seems to be going well for us, the easiest thing to do is blame it on our lack of external support. 

Surely it must be the people and the environment and the surroundings in which we operate that are the causes of our discontent. But once we accrue enough savings to abandon this soul deadening job and move to the country and get married and open a farm and find a new community, then fulfillment, instead of being elusive and arriving fleetingly, will finally reign supreme. 

Sounds idyllic. And based on our calculations, it will only take six more years of sucking it up, and happiness will be here before we know it. 

But what happens if, just when we get there, there disappears? What happens if we discover we have been actually been holding our happiness hostage this whole time? 

Metallica sang it best:

Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just the freight train coming your way. 

Reminds me of my friend who has spent the last fifteen years working in fashion. The pay is huge, the work is challenging and the lifestyle is luxurious. But she’s not, as she puts it, in her heart, while at work. It feels like she parts with her soul the moment she crosses that professional threshold each morning. 

This is the question we keep coming back to:

How do we protect our souls in a soulless environment? How do we keep our senses alive in an otherwise a desensitizing and dispiriting situation? 

Chambers, in his famous devotional written specifically for soldiers at the turn of the century, wrote that the battle is lost or won in the secret places of the will, never first in the external world. 

Therefore, if we continue to treat life as an overwhelming, seemingly endless barrage of frustrations that we have to battle against each day to preserve our very humanity, then fulfillment will forever elude our grasp. 

But if we take a heroic stance in order not to feel pushed around by circumstances, if we operate with as much honesty and integrity as we can afford, and if we employ our reserves of creativity and resilience to wrest happiness out of even the most unfortunate situations, then fulfillment will have a real chance at us. 

Right now. Not in six years when the time is right and we have enough money saved. Right now. 

Look, at some point, everyone finds themselves in the middle of circumstances they didn’t want. But we cannot allow the conditions of our life destroy our ability to reinvent ourselves. 

And so, ask yourself what is going on right in front of you that you might be missing. 

Channel your uncommon human sensibility to see through this apparent reality to some other part underneath. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Which inside job are you still trying to outsource?

* * * *
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, November 08, 2019

Abandon the limitless fountain of abundance

We all grow wedded to our accustomed ways. 

We hold onto the deep grooves of holy habit, carved into our lives over and over by repetition. And we become so familiar to our choices and routines and lifestyle, that they don’t even seem weird anymore. 

Silverman observed it best in her comedy special when she joked, nothing seems crazy when you’re used to it. 

However, somewhere down the line, it starts becoming clear to us that our plan is no longer working. Maybe our current source of power is more trouble than it’s worth. And it might finally be time to operate beyond the limits of our winning strategy. Because the possibility of happiness beyond our precious little worldview isn’t as unattainable as we once thought. 

Question is, will we give up certain cherished parts of ourselves? Will we abandon the limitless fountain of abundance we have been accustomed to? Will we wake up and laugh about how it used to be? 

The revolutionary futurist artists, in their provocative manifesto, remind us that our eyes, accustomed to semi darkness, will soon open to more radiant visions of life. 

Their words are a benediction of transformation for both artists and civilians alike. They assure us that as hard and as scary as change is, even if we would rather die than give up our organizing myth, it’s ultimately the next right action to take. 

No matter how much pleasure we’re getting out of not changing, what awaits on the other side is nothing short of miraculous. 

Change is already taking place everywhere at every moment anyway. 

It seems wrong not to participate. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

How will you react when the standards according to which you live undergo a decisive 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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Thursday, November 07, 2019

Hear Scott's New Album, "Days To Bloom"

There is an interesting term that gardeners use for how long it takes a particular plant to go from germination to flowering. 

It’s called days to bloom. 

Most seed packets will include the expected number on the package itself, so we can plan appropriately. 

But nature is a fickle and fleeting mistress. Maturity value, like any prediction, is never perfectly defined. Days to bloom depends on several factors, many of which are outside of human control. 

There is the type of plant itself, like annuals, perennials, vines or edibles. There are the ecological conditions, like water level, seasonality, temperature and soil. And let’s not forget our furry and buggy friends who like to munch on our plants before we even get a chance to harvest them. 

The point is, regardless of how badly and how quickly we want something to grow, nature can’t be rushed. We must learn to be patient with the unique blooming of each organism, according to its instinctive agenda. 

This concept not only applies to ecological concerns, but also to human connection. Because relationships are living, breathing organisms too. And they too, bloom at their own speed. 

After all, people are complicated organisms who are embedded in complex social, cultural and political contexts, resting at the nexus of a vast number of interwoven causes and conditions that influence their behavior. 

No two individuals have the same maturity value. 

And so, at the beginning stages of our new relationships, let us be patient with the speed of each other’s growth. Let us not rush and hurry and overwater, begging the rose to unfold faster. 

Because humans are primed for immediate gratification, and if we don’t have to be patient, we won’t.

But as the famous biologist reminded us, the universe is sustained by a continual and infinitely patient act of love. 

P.S. My new album is out, it's called Days To Bloom.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What’s your rush? 

* * * *
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, November 04, 2019

Spawning deep roots and sturdy wings

Adorno’s controversial book about the jargon of authenticity makes a key point about the struggle for belonging:

Shelteredness is an existential value that we all long for, and the experience of home will only come to be when it has freed itself from particularity. 

And so, for those of us curious to press on in search of where our we belong, we must open and expand and evolve our own definition of the idea. 

Because maybe home is any place where we can be ourselves without the fear of rejection. Maybe home is any personalized container within which our longing to be is fulfilled. Or maybe home is any shared context for a group of people to remember, discover and share our personal values and priorities. 

Each of these definitions have been freed from particularity. They empower us to find a way to experience home our own terms. To imagine a variety of paths by which we grow and evolve as human beings. And to advocate for the person we truly are as opposed to the one we think we’re supposed to be. 

Let nobody tell you any different. Any healthy lifestyle that brings us a sense of belonging is valid. If we grew up wanting to find home, and now we actually have one, then we won. We did it. Everything else is just a measure of degree. 

May we spawn deep roots and sturdy wings and seek home with straight eyes. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

When will you free your definition of home from such particularity? 

* * * *
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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Friday, November 01, 2019

The moral horizon we choose to inhabit

What is the definition of honest work? 

Perhaps it means a career that isn’t the best paying. Or a project that is unglamorous, but legal and useful to the world. Maybe honest work is a holding a mundane day job that provides a living for your family, even though it’s not your primary meaning container for holding your hopes and dreams. 

Then again, honest work might refer to a street performer generously sharing her creative gift with the world for spare change on the weekends, even though she doesn’t really need the money. 

Zelizer, the scientist who researched the social meaning of currency, offers a deeply human definition for the phrase, an honest dollar:

Money not stained by its ethically dubious origins. 

What’s beautiful about this explanation is, it’s less about the payment for the work and more about the posture with which we approach it. 

And so, it’s a concept that can be applied to everything we do, paid or unpaid, personally or professionally, throughout our lives. Our honest work is a function of the moral horizon we choose to inhabit. 

Here are some definitions from my own experience:

If it is not a strategy we use to trick other people into giving us what we want, that’s honest work. 

If it is not a reverse psychology technique we pull to convince the rabbit that it’s actually duck season, that’s honest work. 

If it is not a spiritual jujitsu move that manipulates life into granting us all of our desires, that’s honest work. 

It’s all a function of the moral horizon we choose to inhabit. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What’s your definition of honest work?
* * * *

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

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