4 Compelling Reasons to Write Early in the Morning – Even If You’re Not a Morning Person

I write early.

Usually four or five in the morning.

I don’t do this because I’m a morning person.

Just ask my family: You don’t want to KNOW me before about nine.

THE POINT IS: Writing (or any creative activity) early in the morning has nothing to do with preference. Discipline always trumps desire.

It’s all about positioning yourself in the best possible environment to leverage your creativity.

I am now going to make my case about the value of writing early:

1. It’s quiet in the most beautiful way possible. First, no external distractions. Not your kids. Not your dogs. Not your phone. Not your email. Not your self-constructed crazybusy schedule. And not the fear-mongering news anchors whose lifelong vocation is to scare the creativity and love out of you.

Second, no internal distractions. Not the voice of perfection. Not the echoes of people you’re trying to please. Not the endless demands of your readership. Not the incessant outreach from bloodsucking strangers who think they’re entitled to a free piece of you.

Not the scars of your past desperately trying to prevent your truth from surfacing. Not your ego scrambling to remind you that you’re not good enough to publish this thought.

Just quiet. Which means all you can hear is yourself. Which means there’s nothing or no one to stop you from bleeding your truth all over the page.

2. There’s no thinking. At 4am, it’s too early to think. Your brain hasn’t had its coffee yet. This is actually good, because your brain is a moron. Thinking is highly overrated. It’s more important that you write with your pen dipped in blood. (It’s infinitely more readable than grey matter anyway).

Here’s the deal: When it’s cold, dark and quiet – when the rest of world hasn’t rolled out of bed yet – you have no choice but to write from the gut. Or the heart. Or the chest. Or the diaphragm. Or the scrotum. Whatever. I don’t care. Pick a body part. Anything below the neckline will suffice.

The point is, when the sun isn’t up yet, you ALWAYS extract truth from the deepest parts of yourself. Superficiality not included. You unveil the truth that doesn’t require thinking. The truth that doesn’t require editing. You can’t edit blood anyway.

Remember: The darker it is outside, the brighter and clearer your thoughts are inside.

3. You initiate the launch sequence. It’s simple physics. The Law of Momentum. When you start writing early, you alter your creative trajectory by planting the seeds of movement. You’ll be amazed at how much momentum that one hour activates for the rest of the day.

Otherwise inertia destroys idea generation and cripples the execution thereof. After eight years as a professional writer, I’ve certainly had my share of off days. Occasionally, I won’t start writing until nine or ten. Not surprisingly, my creativity –m and the rest of my workday – suffers as a result. Happened to me on Monday, in fact. PIssed me off.

4. You ritualize your day. I’m a firm practitioner of rituals. Best way to honor the creative process. Two examples: First, I begin every day – EVERY day – with Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. If you’ve never experienced this journaling exercise before, prepare to have your face rocked off. There is no better way – especially early in the morning – to clear away the crap that’s blocking your best ideas.

Secondly, I invoke The Muse with a beautiful set of incantations I learned from Eric Maisel’s Ten Zen Seconds. This is another form of spiritual preparation. I don’t know what I’d do without it. (And if you don’t think writing is a spiritual practice, email me immediately.)

Even if you’re not a writer, ritualizing the beginning of your day is essential for living a creative life.

REMEMBER: Successful writers start early.

Your day is waiting.

What time did you start writing today?

For the list called, “9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

How to Have So Many Creative Ideas That You’re Forced to Hire a College Intern

As the evil killer lunges towards Watson’s neck, Sherlock Holmes grabs the arm of his attacker, stopping the invisible dagger millimeters before slicing the jugular of his faithful companion.

“How did you see that?” Watson gasps.

“Because I was looking for it,” Holmes replies.

LESSON LEARNED: Awareness is power.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: Creativity isn’t as hard as people convince themselves it is.

Let’s explore seven ways for getting so many creative ideas that you’re forced to hire a college intern:

1. Call dibs. Learn to recognize, nurture and capture inspiration when it arises. Open your receptors to the subtleties around you. Trigger your receptive capacities and respond spontaneously. Then, the moment you think to yourself, “Hmm … no one else seems to have noticed that…”

Take it. It’s yours. Get it down on paper. Writers keepers, losers weepers, sucka! Remember: If you don’t write it down – it never happened. When creative ideas are up for grabs, are you calling dibs?

2. Be a ceaseless, shameless thief of good ideas. I steal material from everybody. All the time. Wherever I go. There’s nothing that isn’t fair game. When an idea crosses my path, I am ruthless. My sixth sense will pick up on ideas before they even hit the ground.

And I will seize them with the devastating swiftness of creative ninja who’s so fast and efficient, that by the time his opponent realizes he’s just been decapitated, the ninja is already down the street drinking green tea. That’s how I roll. You’ll never see me coming, you’ll never see me leave.

That’s what good ninjas practice: The art of invisibility. And that’s the difference maker. Unlike that population of plagiarists, hacks and bullshit artists disguised as writers, I actually know how to steal properly.

That’s the second half of the equation. See, once a ninja has come through town, he leaves without a trace. He burns himself completely. Almost like he’s stolen your car, and within 24 hours, it has a new paint job, new rims, new tires, chopped up into a convertible and ultimately unrecognizable to the previous owner.

That’s how you steal ideas properly. It doesn’t matter IF you steal it – it matters WHAT you do with it WHEN you steal it. How toned is your creative thievery muscle?

3. Allow inspiration to clarify. Your job is simple: Listen and capture. That’s it. The rest of the time is waiting. Letting ideas simmer and breathe. Allowing multiple dimensions to arise. Alchemizing and coalescing related fragments. Concocting potions.

Crafting mosaics of words, phrases and sentences. Trusting your resources, believing that you’re richly support and having faith that other ideas will attach themselves. How many of your million-dollar ideas squander under the weight of creative impatience?

4. Be open to ideas from everyone and everywhere. In his album, On Comedy, George Carlin said, “Be actively interested and observant, but absorb things in spite of your attention. You need a wide range of things so you can make contrast.”

Lesson learned: Get the creative radar sweeping faster. Always be on the lookout for underlying value. Remember: Abundance is a function of receptivity. What unexpected ideas did you reel in today?

5. Become conscious of your own thought process. That way, you can build a repeatable success process for finding new material. Let’s look at two ways to do so. First, keep a running list of all the questions you ask yourself during the creative process. On my list of 7000, a few of my faves are, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” and “Is everything you know written down somewhere?”

Second, map out your personal approach to entertaining ideas. (Personally, I undergo a process of thirteen steps). This exercise is fun, interesting and educational. And the secret behind both of these examples is twofold: (1) They help you become intimate with your creative experience, and (2) They help people see how your brain works.

These are invaluable assets as a thought leader. Because people don’t care what you know – only how you think. How could you become more conscious of your own thought process?

6. Put things under a microscope. The closer and deeper you probe, the more ideas you get. It’s magical. For example, wordsmithing is an amazing technique for uncovering native meaning to ideas we take for granted. Personally, I do a little wordsmithing every day.

Another approach is making lists. I use this technique daily, if not hourly. And there IS a science behind it. Read this article called 43 Reasons to Make a List for Everything. You’ll never write the same way again. How microscopic is your thinking?

7. Approach everything with the spirit of adventure. Here’s a rapid fire list for getting idea, as inspired by Herbert Leff’s amazing (but obscure) book, Playful Perception: Contemplate special contributions each thing makes to life. Dream up a variety of alternative interpretations for the events you notice. Envision going on inside each thing you notice. Figure out people’s probable relations with each other.

Learn improvements in already pleasant things around you. Make predictions about what is going to happen around you in the next few seconds or minutes. Pick ordinary things or situation and brainstorm all the reasons you can of for their perfection. Pretend you always have a camera. Regard whatever you’re doing as a game. Search for boring things and then look for something interesting about them.

See things as events and not objects frozen in a moment of time. And finally, view things as if they were art exhibits. Ultimately, this sense of adventure is about viewing every moment as a new positive opportunity to exercise your choice about how to experience life. Are you adventurous enough to commit to an uncertain outcome with an open heart and mind?

REMEMBER: You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see what nobody else sees.

You just have to be aware.

How many ideas did you have yesterday?

For the list called, “17 Ways to Out Create the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Nobody seeing YOUR name anywhere?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

8 (More) Ways to Discipline Yourself to Write Every Single Day – Even When You’re Not in the Mood

Probably the most frequently asked question I get about writing and creativity is the issue of discipline.

How do you become disciplined? How do you STAY disciplined?

Since it comes up so often, I’ve be addressing this topic in a variety of posts lately.

For now, this should get you started:

1. Shift your attitude toward writing. Your discipline will begin to kick in the moment you embrace the following truism: Writing is the basis of all wealth. Please go back and read that last sentence again.

It’s the single most important idea every write needs to embrace. It’s not an activity. It’s a practice. A way of life. A mode of creative transportation. What value do you place on writing?

2. Rearrange your definition of “writing.” Writing isn’t what you think. It’s a process I define as, “Sitting down, slicing open a vein and bleeding your truth all over the page.”

This approach changes the way you write because it preventing you from self-editing and writing “for” anyone or anything other than yourself. You just tell the truth. Simple, but not easy. What’s your definition of writing?

3. Pick your best medium. I write on the floor with colored note cards. One idea per card. I also spend a lot of time in my customized Content Management System, evaluating and stringing together old ideas from various categories.

Lastly, I make lists. Lots of lists. Best way to begin writing anything. I even wrote a list about how to write with lists. But that’s me. You, on the other hand, might be a flip chart person. Or a mindmapper. Or a write-by-hand kind of girl. Awesome.

Whatever works for your creative style – do it. The secret is to find your medium and go with it. Writing is writing, no matter what kind of pen you’re using – as long as the ink is blood. When you write, what does that look like?

4. Eradicate your belief in Writer’s Block. It doesn’t exist. Writing is an extension of thinking. You don’t have Writer’s Block; you have Thinker’s Block. Stop blaming your lack of creativity and productivity on some evil, external force of resistance over which you have zero control.

It’s you. It’s always you. The problem is you’re not reading enough. You’re not listening enough. You’re not asking enough questions. You’re not taking daily time to think. You’re not maintaining constant curiosity. You’re not viewing the world through her unique lens.

Suggestion: Create a constant stream of ideas and collect them in an organized idea library. Perpetually hunt for insight. Your melon will be motivated from every possible angle. Are you a writer or a thinker?

5. Stop trying to “find” the time. Because you might not find it. After all, people always have time for what’s not important to them. Instead, you need to MAKE the time. I suggest you identify your best writing time, then make a pledge to be “due at the page” at the same time each day.

Even if it’s only fifteen minutes. Even if that means taking on an accountability partner that you call every morning at six just to say, “Hey Sandy, it’s Scott. Just wanted you to know that I’m sitting down to write for the next three hours. I’ll call you at nine.” What other creative professional could help you MAKE the time to write?

6. Avoid creative compartmentalization. I don’t expect you to write seven hours a day like I do. I am a freak of nature. An alien. A cyborg. Don’t you be like me. What I’d like you to consider instead is the concept of writing whenever and wherever you can, in addition to your normal schedule.

For example, I write every morning from four or five to nine or ten. That’s four or five hours. The remaining 180 minutes are accumulated throughout the day from lunches, conversations, random thoughts and small creative windows. The difference is, I write everything down. Everything.

Even if it’s just a random thought I had after yoga class. I write it down. And that’s writing. That contributes to that seven-hour practice. You can do the same as long as you remember, “Easy does it.” Ain’t not thing but a chicken wing. Stop making writing such a big deal. Relax. Are you over-compartmentalizing your writing practice?

7. Begin writing Morning Pages. This is the single greatest writing tool known to man. Sort of an expanded Bathtubbing ritual. Coined by my hero, Julia Cameron, here’s how they work: You sit down, first thing in the morning, and just PUKE … for three pages.

It’s a form of meditation. It’s a check-in with yourself. A psychological holding environment that becomes a gateway to your inner and higher selves, Cameron says. And these “gripe sessions” where you work out your grudges, become moments of free associate and celebration. You get out the shanks and bring forth the silver. I’ve been doing Morning Pages EVERY morning for several years now.

Here’s why they’re so effective: They awaken your intuition. They train your sensor and inner editor to stand aside. They get you current. They help you catch up on yourself and pinpoint precisely what you are feeling and thinking. How often are you partaking in stream-of-consciousness writing?

8. Remember the Circle of Write. At this point, you might think, “Scott, these suggestions are great, but I don’t really LIKE writing.” That’s cool. I still suggest you get started. And here’s why.

The more you write, the more you will like writing. The more you like writing, the more you will want to write. The more you want to write, the more thought, time and effort you will put into your writing. The more thought, time and effort you put into your writing, the better your writing will become. The better your writing becomes, the more confidence you will have. The more confidence you have, the more you will write and want to write.

And then the pattern repeats itself. Forever.

This is called “The Circle of Write.” Creativity guru Mihály Csíkszentmihályi refers to this type of process as a Feedback Loop of Mutual Causation and Reinforcement. This means, as he explains in Finding Flow, “If you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. And if you are interested in something, you will focus on it.”

The effect becomes the cause. And the cause becomes the effect. It’s a circular, self-feeding process. Which means the key to writing is to addict yourself to it. Are you following the Circle of Write?

What awaits you in the refining fire of discipline?

For the list called, “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Nobody seeing YOUR name anywhere?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

10 of Our Culture’s Most Cherished Clichés – and Why They’re Total Lies

1. 80% of life isn’t showing up – it’s FOLLOWING THROUGH. That you show up is eclipsed by the importance of HOW you show up. People respond to the sum total of what you present to them. Positively, negatively, or not at all. It all depends on how you show up.

The problem is, people often shrink from showing UP because they’re terrified of being accused of showing OFF. This doesn’t have to be the case. Don’t shrink from doing so for fear of being accused of showing off. Sculpt yourself into the person you want to present to others. How do you show up?

2. A friend in need is a chance to DO A DEED. Your friends want you to call on them. Just like you want your friends to call on you.

That’s what friends are for. To have the opportunity to be a friend. From whom do you need to make a withdrawal?

3. A mind is a terrible thing to CHASE. If you want answers, listen to your body. It will never lie to you. Truth is the only language it knows.

Your mind, on the other hand, speaks with a forked tongue. And it will trick you into believing that it knows what it’s talking about. It doesn’t. How accurate is your personal guidance system?

4. A penny saved is an opportunity BURNED. You can approach situations in one of two ways. First, with a poverty mentality, i.e., “Great. How much is this going to cost me?”

Or, with an abundance mentality, i.e., “Cool! If I had this, what else would become possible?” Remember: If you’re bending over dollars to pick up dimes, you might pull a hammy. Which mentality are you operating from?

5. All the world’s a PAGE. The question is whether or not you write anything worthwhile on it. Now, if you’re not sure whether or not your writing is worthwhile, here’s the acid test.

Ask these two questions of everything you compose: “What do I risk in writing this material?” and “On a scale of 1-10, how much is this material drenched in my own blood?” What did you write today?

6. Bark up the wrong tree. Make mistakes. Get lost. Go in the wrong direction. It’s the best way to figure out what you’re NOT looking for.

Deciding what you want by the process of elimination is less threatening and intimidating. Plus it’s fun. Are you willing to define the whitespace so you can develop the blackspace?

7. Better late than CLEVER. GOD no. Not that. Anything’s better than clever. In fact, if more than three people tell you that something you’ve done is clever, throw it out. Start over.

Clever is not a compliment. Clever means “superficially skillful.” Clever is a diplomatic way of saying, “You’re a smart ass.” Be insulted or be broke. Are you clever or smart?

8. Curiosity might have killed the cat – but it also made me a lot of MONEY. First of all, I hate cats. They make me nervous and make me sneeze. You can kill as many of them as you want. Secondly, show me a person who isn’t curious, and I’ll show you a mindless, lifeless waste of a human being whose soul never grows.

Thirdly, history proves (time and time again) that the most successful people in the history of planet were the ones who asked dangerous questions despite overwhelming efforts to silence their enthusiasm and deflect their curiosity. You need to be one of those people. You need to give yourself permission to be curious in EVERY domain of your life.

Ask questions. Challenge everything. Mind other people’s business. Be nosy. Get yourself involved. Pull back curtains every day. Expose truth whenever possible. You’re doing yourself (and the world) a great service. Remember: The consequence of curiosity is the commencement of creativity. Are you a giant question mark?

9. Don’t build a better mousetrap – build a better YOU. First of all, who the hell still uses mousetraps? What is this, 1946? Call an exterminator and get on with your life. Secondly, mousetraps are overrated.

YOU are the only product that ever matters. That’s what people are buying anyway. What have you done, specifically – in the last 24 hours – to make yourself better?

10. Don’t go the extra mile – go the extra MARATHON. You’ve been told to go the extra mile for decades. Unfortunately, the secret is out. Now everyone goes the extra mile. Back in the day, the extra mile was “rarely crowded.” Remember that one? Well, now the extra mile it looks like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

The extra mile is what’s universally expected. My suggestion is to go the extra marathon. The full 26.2. Then you’ll (for sure) be the last man standing. How much service stamina do you have?

What cliché do you think is a total lie?

Share it here!

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Have You Pierced These Six Veils of Success?

1. Writing is blood in disguise. Sit down, slice open a vein a bleed your truth all over the page. That’s my official definition of writing. And after publishing ten books and a thousand articles, here’s what I’ve discovered: Writing in blood is a huge time saver.

Think about it. If you approach the writing with that mindset, you don’t have to waste valuable hours editing. Because you can’t edit blood. All you can do is stain the page with it. Are you writing with a pen or a scalpel?

2. Positioning is gravity in disguise. Pull baby pull. Save pushing for pooping. Instead, invest your efforts in elevating visibility, earning credibility and enhancing desirability.

Get your smiling face – and shining brand – in front of the people who can say yes TO (and write a check FOR) your unique expertise. Ding! What did you write today?

3. Quitting is winning in disguise. As long as quit at the right time – not the hard time. Nothing wrong with that. Especially if you were playing the wrong game. Or playing a game that reached its point of diminishing returns.

Or playing the game that robbed you of being the best, highest version of yourself. Sounds like three hash marks in the W column to me. How can you make quitting a regular part of your repertoire?

4. Complacency is bankruptcy in disguise. You’ve never arrived. You’ve never “made it.” There is no finish line. Ignore that truth at your own (and your company’s own) peril. Or, try this: Don’t be self-satisfied with past glory. Get your ass out there again and go make your life stronger.

Because when you receive regular injections of divine discontent, the money will come. Either that, or your arm will swell up. In what three areas of your life are you the most overconfident?

5. Creativity is curiosity in disguise. It’s simple: Just transform yourself into a giant walking question mark. Everywhere you go, ask how and why things work. Then ask how they could work differently or better. Study ordinary things intently. Learn to find interesting in almost anything.

Fascinate yourself with the ordinary. Evaluate critically every novelty you encounter. Ideas will be so irresistibly attracted to you; they’ll assume you slipped a Rufie in their drinks. How many questions did you ask today?

6. Past is prologue in disguise. In Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love, she wrote the following: “Our capacity for brilliance is equal to our ability to forget the past. The past is over. It cannot touch me. The only meaning of anything in the past is that it got us here, and it should be honored as such.” What has all the crap you’ve put up with accidentally prepared you for?

What veils of success do you need to pierce?

For the list called, “6 Ways to Out Position the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who’s quoting YOU?

Check out Scott’s Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!


8 Marketing Lessons Learned from My Spam Folder

Email spam – while annoying, unethical, sexually graphic and a colossal time waster – IS quite entertaining.

It’s also a consummate example of smart marketing.

Recently, I spent some time perusing the 1,385 messages in my spam folder.

Not surprisingly, patterns began to arise.

So, I extracted a collection of subject lines and headers that either grabbed my attention, made me laugh, or caused my body to react in ANY kind of way. After all, emotion is the final arbiter of truth. And your body never lies to you.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: As you read each of these subject lines, set aside your distaste for spam. Forget about the fact that you (probably) don’t need Viagra. And turn on your marketing brain to learn eight powerful lessons from the masters of capturing attention and piquing curiosity:

1. Answer me. As if someone’s been trying to reach you for weeks. As if there was an important customer waiting for you. As if you were too cool and too busy to respond to this measly person. This speaks to your human need to be liked and appreciated.

What’s more, if one of your core values is approachability (or, in my case, your entire life and business philosophy) the cognitive dissonance of NOT answering someone’s question or request is so strong, ignoring this email becomes an exercise in futility.

SPAM SECRET: People want people to like them. How could you create a deficit position within your customer?

2. Best doping for night monster. Opens with a declaration of superiority to capture attention. I call this repeated articulation of your –est. Next, let me say that I’ve never heard of the term “night monster” before. Well done. Gave me a good laugh. And that’s more than I can say about the other 1,384 messages.

SPAM SECRET: People take action upon hearing vivid language. Are your words boring?

3. Frisking bleating merriment. First, I just HAD to look up the word “bleat” in the dictionary. It means, “to complain annoyingly.” Secondly, merriment is not a word used often, which is exactly why I noticed it.

Lastly, this entire sentence, “Frisking bleating merriment,” is so odd, so clumsy and so dissonant that I can’t tell whether it’s gibberish or a famous line from one of Jack Kerouac’s books. Nice.

SPAM SECRET: People are moved by poetry. Are you allowing your inner poet to shine, or does your marketing spit jargon like a Dilbert comic?

4. Go to the disco and let your love stick glow! First of all, are there still discos? If so, I’m in. Always wanted to go to one of those. Secondly, the term “love stick” is a wonderfully creative alternative to penis. Well done. Third, this headline is a rhyme. And it’s been scientifically proven that rhyming increases the memorability and repeatability of pretty much anything.

The only concern I have about this headline is the “glow” part. I think if your love stick is glowing, you probably need to go the doctor, not the disco. At least that’s what my urologist told me.

SPAM SECRET: People love rhymes. Is your message musical enough?

5. Bill Gates got one. Behold the power of the almighty testimonial! And just not ANY testimonial, but Bill Gates. The wealthiest, most successful and widely known businessmen and philanthropist on the planet. Ever. Who wouldn’t want to have what he has?

SPAM SECRET: People take action upon social proof. Are you leveraging testimonials?

6. Check it out now before I start charging for this free info. First, this creates a sense of urgency. Secondly, the effectiveness is compounded by a sense of scarcity.

Third, exclusivity comes into play for those who act NOW. And finally, the word “free” is a surefire way to seal the deal. Brilliant. I might actually steal this one for my own business.

SPAM SECRET: People want what is hard to get and what nobody else has. Are you exclusive enough?

7. Don’t look inside. Right. And while you’re at it, don’t think of a Pink Elephant. Classic NLP. The reader is forced to make an association and think of the very concept that’s linguistically negated, in this case, opening the email.

See, your brain can’t tell the difference yet. “Look inside” is all that it heard. The word “don’t” hasn’t been processed yet. Sneaky but effective.

SPAM SECRET: People’s brains are predictable. Are you leveraging neurology?

8. Have you seen this yet? Good. This piques immediate curiosity. What’s more, you trigger people’s need to feel included.

With the use of the word “yet,” it’s as if everyone else in the world has already seen this amazing “thing,” and you’re the only one left out. And nobody likes to be left out.

SPAM SECRET: People seek inclusion. How are you tapping that nerve?

Now that you’ve been schooled in the ways of spam, here’s your final exercise.

1. Take five minutes to peruse your spam folder. You might want to do this at home so your boss doesn’t look over your shoulder and wonder why you’re reading emails about “meat rockets.”

2. Record your reactions. Any time a subject headline makes you smile, laugh, roll your eyes or become nauseated, write it down.

3. Extract the lessons. Look for commonalities among all the headlines. Democratize and genericize the centrals marketing themes. Then, write out a list of “spam secrets.”

4. Apply. Execute those strategies in your own marketing practices in an ethical, professional manner.

REMEMBER: This is the best doping for your night monster.

Hee hee. Night monster.

Are you as savvy as the spammers?

For the list called, “6 Ways to Out Position the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who’s quoting YOU?

Check out Scott’s Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!


11 Contrarian Comments that Will Make You Squirm in Your Seat and Probably Hate Me

1. Don’t go where the money is – going where the money is going. Think Gretzky: He always skated where the puck was going. 1,016 goals later, the entire world calls him – and ONLY him – The Great One. This is not coincidence. Just strategy. Anticipatory thinking. It’s predicting the future. Are you thinking ten years out?

2. Faith doesn’t move mountains – faith IS the mountain. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Ye of little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I imagine you’ve heard that passage before, so, here’s my interpretation: Faith moves mountains because when you stop believing that you are separate from the mountain, you become the mountain. Then all you have to do is move yourself. Unfortunately, nothing in the world harder to move. Dang it. If you had complete faith in the universe and in your future, what would you do?

3. Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll never email you again with another pointless, time wasting, boundary-violating, bloodsucking question that you don’t have the time or patience to answer for free. It’s all about putting a stake in the ground.

I addressed this issue extensively in How to Stand By Your Value and Sidestep Bloodsuckers – While Still Remaining Approachable. Read it. Live it. Do you let people PICK your brain or RENT your brain?

4. Give people an inch and they’ll take mile; but CHARGE people for an inch and they’ll accomplish a mile. Speaking of boundaries. I used to allow people to “pick my brain.” For free. For hours at a time. For years. And what I began to notice was, after every session, people walked away excited, inspired and grateful for the time spent together. But then I never saw or heard from then again.

Why? Because they didn’t pay me. And when people don’t pay me, they don’t hear me. Lesson learned: There is a direction correlation between financial investment and probability of execution. Charge enough so people believe the value IN, listen TO and take action UPON what you tell them. What’s your two-hour consulting fee?

5. Haste only makes waste if you believe in waste. Which I don’t. The way I see it, nothing is ever wasted. Ever. Especially if you learn to ask questions like, “What good could come of this?” “What am I supposed to be learning here?” and “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”

Therefore, haste is tasty. As Alicia Keys once said, “In the age of love, nothing is wasted.” How would your life be different if you never viewed anything as being wasted?

6. Have your cake; eat it too, AND save a piece for breakfast tomorrow. People who tell you that you can’t have your cake and eat it too are operating from a scarcity mentality. Or they’re diabetic. On the other hand, when you assume a baseline posture of abundance, bad economies don’t threaten you.

As The Tao of Abundance taught me, “The world you see is a reflection of the condition of your mind.” How would you career change if you learned to approach cake differently?

7. He who dies with the most JOYS wins. Toys are for elves. When your time on The Great Mud Ball expires, it’s going to sound more like Ben Harper’s “Excuse Me Mister,” which reminds us, “When you’re rattling on heaven’s gate, by then it’s too late. Because when you get there they don’t ask you what you saved, all they want to know, Mister, is what you gave.” What specific types of joy have you brought to others in the past 48 hours?

8. He who fails to plan plans to PREVAIL. Think about it: If you don’t know where you’re going – nobody can stop you. If you have a plan, however, you might actually HIT it. Yikes. What if you planed less this year?

9. It looks like it’s gonna be one of those days. Really? Then maybe you should have your vision checked. Newsflash: It’s NOT going to be one of those days. Not if you don’t want it to. Not if you shift your attitude. Not if take responsibility for your choices, thoughts and responses.

Unfortunately, few people think that way. Most of us embrace victimhood and blame our bad days on some external force beyond our control. And then we have a bad day. Because we made the choice to have a bad day. My suggestion is to heed Pablo Neruda’s advice: You are the result of yourself.

Remember: It’s not the weather. It’s not the traffic. It’s not your annoying coworker who chews gum like a cow. It’s you. It’s ALWAYS you. Are you have a bad day or do you have a bad attitude?

10. It’s not about being the life of the party – it’s about bringing other people TO life AT the party. Your goal is to help people fall in love with you by first helping them fall in love with themselves. Here’s a rapid-fire list of ways to do so:

One simple word: Listen. Two simple words: Take notes. Three simple words: I appreciate you. Four simple words: I believe in you. Five simple words: Refer back to your notes. Six simple words: Quote people’s wisdom back to them. Seven simple words: Tell people to write their wisdom down. Eight simple words: Breathe into people a reflection of their awesomeness.

Remember: When people are in love with themselves, they will love whoever made them feel that way. And people do anything for the people they love. How do you leave people?

11. Life ISN’T a bowl of cherries. Life is the bowl. Or maybe it’s the spoon. No, wait. Maybe it’s the dinner table. Better yet, maybe life is refrigerator that keeps the cherries fresh. Or perhaps life is the delivery truck from the Maraschino Farm.

Who knows? The point is: Life isn’t something you haphazardly label with some simplistic, fifth-grade metaphor. Life is always something else. What is it for you?

Are you squirming yet?

Leave a comment on this blog with your list of things that don’t exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place.

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

6 Ways to Discipline Yourself to Write Every Day – Even If You’re a Perfectionist and/or a Lazy Bum

1. What techniques can you suggest for getting ideas out of your head and linking them? First, write Morning Pages. I know that tends to be my answer for everything, but I’m serious when I say it’s the most crucial component of ANY writer’s creative practice. Start them tomorrow.

Second, here’s the approach I use regularly. Go to Office Depot. Buy a box of index cards. Write one idea per card. Scatter them on the floor. Stare at them for sixty seconds. Then allow the inherent geometry of your ideas to link individually. See, the brain is a self-organizing system. All of the links between your ideas are already in place.

Your job is to change the visual arrangement of the ideas to bring it to the surface. What’s more, working on the floor is a scientifically proven approach to creativity that works every time. Read this post called Ode to My Floor from a few years ago. Remember: You don’t need to do as much work as you think, other than pay attention.

2. What to do when you’ve written all you can but need to do more? First of all, you’ve never written all you can. EVER. Assuming you’re “all tapped out” stems from a poverty mentality that’s extremely damaging to your creative practice. The first suggestion is to ritualize your writing time with a prayer, invocation, incantation or call to the Muse.

Personally, I use the system from another one of Eric Maisel’s books, Ten Zen Seconds, in which I recite the following incantations while doing a breathing exercise:

“I am completely stopping … I embrace this moment … I expect nothing … I am richly supported … I trust my resources … I am equal to this challenge … I am ready to write.”

Do that once a day and you’ll be on your way to a more abundant, prosperous attitude. Also, consider asking yourself counterintuitive questions to define the whitespace around your idea, i.e., “What issue am I totally forgetting to address here?” “What is the counterpoint to what I’ve said, and how could I overcome that objection?”

Finally, hit up Google. Not to steal material, but to motivate your melon. Take advantage of specific search terms that use exact quotes. For example, I wrote a module about being “call-back-able,” aka, how to increase the probability that customers will call you back.

When I found myself stuck for ideas, just for fun, I googled the phrase, “I’m never calling her back because…” This turned out to be an enlightening search that netted some very cool research, which sparked several helpful ideas I never would have thought of otherwise. That’s how I use Google, and I do it every single day. It works. Play with it.

3. How do you find water when you don’t HAVE it? First of all, you DO have it – you’re just not digging in the right spot. That’s why you need to write Morning Pages every single day. They clear the path and pave the way for the water that lay beneath.

Again, I know I’ve already suggested this exercise several times. But I can’t stress it enough. Seriously, I’ve missed maybe ten days of Morning Pages in seven years. That’s how important they are. Also, if you’re concerned about running out of water (or the inability to find water), do what small towns do: Build a reservoir. A creative reservoir of idea starters, prompts, questions and phrases that you can tap at a moment’s notice.

The challenge is organization. Fortunately, I am an absolute genius at this. Here are three examples of how I approach this process. First, my reservoir contains 7,000 powerful, thought-starting questions categorized by topic (i.e., #2,096: “LEADERSHIP: How are you empowering people to become the person they were created to be?”).

Next, my reservoir also contains another 10,000 “three-words of advice” phrases, sorted alphabetically for easy searching (i.e., #8,441: “Mobilize your passion.”) Finally, my reservoir contains another 20,000 module ideas (topics, sentences, quotes, words and phrases) collected from books, conversations, notes and other random sources over the years.

Each module idea is sorted by subject, waiting to be written about (i.e., Management #3,183: “Suspension of judgment accelerates learning.” As you can see, the total volume of my reservoir is astounding. And keep in mind; it’s taken nearly eight years to build.

So, here’s the lifeline: I filled it up ONE IDEA at a time. And I challenge you to begin the same. Customizing your own Content Management System is single most profitable creative tip I can give you. Do it. It’s huge.

4. How do you turn off the perfectionist gene? If it’s a gene, can you really turn it off? Isn’t that like asking, “How can I stop being gay?” Frankly, I don’t know. I imagine certain people are more disposed to being perfectionists than others.

Leos, for example, are known to be prideful. (If you believe in all that astrological stuff.) My theory is that perfectionism is a form of procrastination. Nothing by a tired excuse assembled by your ego. Just a paltry attempt to prevent productivity. Nothing but a trap set by your neurotic compulsions. Just a feeble effort to prohibit progress. Nothing but a brick wall erected by your narcissistic desires. Just a cheap shot at your ability to inspire people.

And, nothing but a campaign against creativity, waged by the authoritative voices in your head. Just an incessant struggle to silence your inner kindergartner. For further reading on this topic, I wrote a detailed guide called How to become an Imperfectionist. Might be a good read for you.

5. What writing exercises will keep you on track when you feel your discipline lagging? Well, why do student athletes tend to perform better in school? Because discipline breeds discipline. Think about it. If they’ve already conditioned themselves to practice shooting hoops for three hours a day, every day, that same discipline has no choice but to carry over into other areas of their lives.

So, next time you feel your creative discipline lagging, STOP. Take a writing break. It’s time to engage in another activity (that’s completely unrelated to writing) … that you ARE disciplined to. Whether you exercise, meditate or play music, the point is to switch gears AND keep the bike moving.

Once you’re done (after twenty minutes, two hours or two days) you will return to your writing with renewed strength, a clear head and a transferable discipline pattern that will get you back on track. If that doesn’t work, you call always start sniffing model airplane glue.

6. How do I maintain that initial fire and excitement when I start a new project, especially when I’ve got a lot of unfinished pieces? Van Gough once remarked, “No great work of art is ever finished.” I’ve always found that idea to be relaxing to my frantic desire to “finish” everything. In fact, now that I think about it, every module idea in my Content Management System (and there are close to 50,000 of them) is technically “unfinished.”

Which, if you really want to get existential about it, COULD mean that they’re ALL finished. It might not matter. So, try this: Ask yourself what was in place when your initial fire ignited. Was it the medium? The subject? The weather? The drugs you took? The music you were blasting? The people you were hanging with? The creative environment you worked in?

By pinpointing the attributes and components of your initial inspiration, you make it easier to replicate the process for re-ignition. Ultimately, it’s less about maintaining the initial fire and more about starting another fire that’s equally as hot.

If you have further challenges with the discipline of creativity, send me an email.

Hey, at least you’ll be writing!

What awaits you in the refining fire of discipline?

For the list called, “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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Clients Who Executed

Scott’s mentoring program helps entrepreneurs, businesspeople, artists and writers around the world take their ideas and execute them into “I dids.” But instead of reading a bunch of fluffy testimonials, see what a few of clients actually did:

Evan Levine

Chrissy Scivicque

Wendy Gauntt

Dixie Gillaspie

Robert Fishbone

Do you need an expert to tell you what you should do, or a mentor to help you tell yourself what you need to do?

NametagTV: Get Customers Addicted

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Watch the original video on NametagTV!

Why are your customers addicted to you?

For a list called, “26 Ways to Out Brand the Competition” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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