Let Generosity Spring Up And Rise Again

I used to work at a youth leadership camp.

Teenagers from all around the world would gather in Geneva, bunk up with
complete strangers and spend two weeks hiking, canyoning, running team exercises,
learning problem solving skills and taking workshops on personal development.

Pretty cool stuff.

Made the summer camp I went to look like a chemistry class.

I remember my first year there. The camp director explained
that my role was more than just leading a few workshops, but being a resource for
the students.

Not a counselor or a staff member or a supervisor or an

A resource.

Their philosophy was, being a leader meant being a pointer. Somebody
you could tap on the shoulder, spend five minutes with, and walk away from with
a wealth of assets to support your journey. Somebody who opened up their
schedule, opened up their heart, even opened up their entire mental reservoir, on
a moment’s notice.

Interestingly, the term resource
stems from two French words. One meaning, “the spring,” and the other meaning,
“rises again.”

I think that’s a beautiful mantra.

As a friend, as a leader, as a human.

In someone’s time of need, let generosity spring up and rise

We’re Not Supposed To Love One Thing

My business was my first love.

It was the first thing I gave everything to, and the first
thing that gave everything to me. The two of us were absolutely faithful
to each other. W
e were inseparable. You couldn’t tell where the
company ended and I began.

Which was professionally helpful, but psychologically

Because as with any first love, our flame slowly started to

I was changing. She was changing. The world around us was
changing. And both of us knew we were starting to outgrow the relationship.

So I freaked out.

This wasn’t just a breakup, this was an identity crisis.

And that’s the danger of throwing your heart into something
and letting it become all you stand for. The moment it slips away, panic
settles in. And you start wondering
to yourself, what am I supposed to do
when the best part of me was always you?

Identity diversification, that’s what.

Become more than what you’re known for. Live larger than
your labels. Create a richer repertoire of meaning. Establish an identity
independent of your profession.


In short, stop being so goddamned one-dimensional. 

We’re not supposed to be one thing in life.

And we’re not supposed to love one thing either.

Selfish When You Create, Generous When You Share

When it comes to writing, I’ve always been as selfish as

With the production,
I write what I want, when I want and how I want. With the process, I don’t do drafts, I don’t use editors and I’m not
interested in constructive feedback. And with the positioning, I never think about my ideal reader, I don’t care what
will work in the marketplace and I’m not worried about people who don’t get the

The purpose of creation is liberation. To make something to
call my own. To have a body of work I can point to. One that that nobody can
take away from me.

The most
important word in an artist’s vocabulary may as well be mine.

Being selfish isn’t just our right, it’s our responsibility.

Until the work is done, that is.

Once I press the publish button and ship something out the
door, all that selfishness vanishes like a fart in the wind, and into the jaws
of generosity I go.

A copy of my new book?
You bet. Here, take mine. Take the whole case. Seriously, put your wallet away. Actually, keep it out. I’ll pay you to read it. Twenty dollars sound good?
Thirty? Better make it fifty. Say, can you break a hundred? That’s cool. Just
keep the change.

The second most important word in an artist’s
vocabulary may as well be here.

Scott Ginsberg, “Sweet Somethings,” Live at The Scottany Wedding (8.30.13)

Pay ourselves in hope till silver crosses our palms 

Take this poverty of vow

Squinting at the mirror just to see if it’s safe

It’s the stain that won’t wash out

Sweet, sweet somethings I 

Repeat on this salty night

Sweet, sweet somethings I 

Repeat on this salty night

Hanging all our fortunes not on chance

Making friends before we make requests

And we will go and eat the world if we can

To feed this starving artist bent

Sweet, sweet somethings I 

Repeat on this salty night

Sweet, sweet somethings I 

Repeat on this salty night

Set our palms against the stone

These two hearts are not alone

Protect us from what we want

All them statues shooting up

Sweet, sweet somethings I 

Repeat on this salty night

Sweet, sweet somethings I 

Repeat on this salty night

“Sweet Somethings” can be found on my fifth album, Let The City Crumble.

Learning To Love What’s Good For You

When you’re genetically wired for hard work, the hardest
thing to do is nothing.

The opposite of ambition. The antithesis of labor.

Idleness. Blech.

But just like in yoga––where the posture you hate the most is the posture you need the most––I figured doing nothing was the right move.

But not before doing a little research.

Sabbatical comes from the word sabbath, meaning day of rest.
Figured. But the word also dates back to ancient agriculture. Mosaic law
decreed that on the seventh year, a farmer’s land was to remain untilled while debtors
and slaves were to be released.

Maybe that’s what I needed. To leave the land
alone. To emancipate myself as a slave to achievement.

So last year, I decided to do nothing. For three straight months.

No working. No writing.
No marketing. No strategizing. No nothing.

Just a lot of sleeping, a lot of walking, a lot of reading,
a lot of singing and a lot of traveling. And cookies. Oh man were there

And it turns out, for someone who’s happiest when he’s
productive and prolific, for someone who’s wired to find satisfaction by adding
value through toil, taking a sabbatical was the best thing I could have done.
By the time summer was over, I was rejuvenated and equipped for the next
chapter of life.

Who knew doing nothing could be so productive?

You Don’t Need More You

has interesting economics.

It’s our
superpower for developing independent critical thinking skills, understanding ourselves
better and deciding where we need to grow.

But after a while, introspection reaches a point of diminishing returns. And we end up sitting in a corner perfecting ourselves, trapped in our own heads,bouncing our thoughts off a thin
wall,playing a never-ending game
of inside baseball.

like a good time to stop introspecting and start interacting.

Humans, after all, understand the self in the context of
other people. We regulate our emotions and
understand the world by connecting with others. So if we truly want the highest
understanding of who we are, eventually, we have to reach for someone else. 
we co-create with someone, we expand our brain’s repertoire and get new wiring
out of it.

said knowing ourselves was the beginning
of all wisdom.

knowing others is the rest of it.

We Can’t Run From Who We Are

I just watched this video of a toddler discovering his shadow
for first time.

Awwwwww. I nearly
choked by his adorableness.

But then, my hamster wheel started turning.

With million views, thousands of likes, hundreds of
comments and dozens of articles written about this viral video, I knew there
had to be a deeper layer of meaning. The cute factor may be hard to resist, but
we can’t deny that something more interesting is going on here.

Devin’s shadow is a perfect example that we can’t run from
who we are.

Our identity chooses us, not the other way around. No matter
how hard we work to kick nature out, our truest self will still bubble up the

Online. Offline. At work. At home. In the community. We
can’t help but be ourselves.

Michelangelo famously said the sculpture was inside the

He wasn’t talking about art, he was talking about us.

Negativity Is The Easy Way Out

I come from a long line of positivity beacons.

Fundamentally affirmative personalities who respond to others
with of constant chorus of yeses. Relentless encouragers whose immediate
optimism makes the people around them think to themselves, I believe in this, I can do this, I’m ready to try this.

That’s why it’s so hard for me to wrap my head around
negativity. It doesn’t compute with my biology. When I encounter people whose
native wiring is to soil conversations with shit, they might as well be speaking
another language.

I guess I understand the allure. Negativity is easy to find,
easy to dispense and even easier to rally people around. And resisting the pull
of that force is no easy task.

But ninety percent of life is doing things that aren’t easy.

And our attitudes shouldn’t be any different.

The Existential Pain Of Not Doing

Motivation doesn’t happen to us, it happens in us.

If there’s something we need to discipline ourselves to do, it’s not a question of making the time to do it. Everybody knows nobody has time for anything. 

The secret is creating a rich context of meaning around the activity so it becomes existentially painful not to do it.

Dragging our butts out of bed and into the gym is no easy task. But it becomes a lot easier when we change our understanding of what the gym means to us. If we started viewing it as more than just a smelly room to pump iron, maybe we wouldn’t hit the snooze button as often.

That’s how I trick myself into working out everyday. My studio is more than just a place to sweat, it’s a center of belonging. A
neighborhood community. It’s where I connect with people who have
overlapping value systems.

And that’s just externally. Internally, it’s
also the place where I work out my emotions, purge my stress and return to center. It’s training to handle the demands of life. My studio is anti-depressant that keeps my sanity in tact.

Considering that depth of meaning, would you ever want to miss a day?

In That Kiss I Saw A Vision Of My Future

“Your culture will kill you softly with its song, and you won’t even notice.” One of the first
lessons I learned from wearing a nametag everyday was, if you don’t make a name
for yourself, someone will make one for you. And it might not be the one you
want. Proving, that identity is a
proactive endeavor. We can’t be bystanders in defining who we are. It’s too
important to leave up to chance. Interestingly, that same lesson could be
applied to organizational culture, but on a larger scale. If we’re not intentional about creating an
environment worth coming to––and passing on––the culture will create itself.
And we’ll lose control of the collective experience of every individual who has
anything to do with us. Because every organization has a culture. The
question is whether it’s alive and breathing, and who’s running the ventilator.

“In that kiss I saw a vision of my future.” So many things in life just go away. A prospective client
reaches out, shows an interest in our work, asks tons of questions, requests a
price quote, emails back immediately, gets our hopes up about working together,
and then just magically disappears. No explanation. No apology. No nothing. They
just go away. And despite our follow up efforts, courteous and professional and
persistent as they may be, still nothing. What the hell. You came to me, remember? But that’s just it. Just because she
kissed once doesn’t mean you’re in love forever. That’s good advice for love
and work. Because we can obsess over what went wrong all night. Was it me? Was
it them? Was it technology? But in the end, some things just go away. And although
it’s wildly unsatisfying, although we’d rather hear no than nothing,

“The greatest verb might well be earn.” Continuity is currency. It’s what earns us the benefit of the doubt when we make
mistakes. Music is the perfect example. Some of my favorite bands, ones
that I’ve been a loyal fan of for decades, occasionally put out a weak album. And
it hurts my ears, but I usually get over it pretty quickly. Because
I know there’s more where that came from. I trust my heroes. I forgive them quickly. They’ve brought so much joy to my life for so long, and I’m sure they’ll be back soon enough. The point is, we should all work toward that level. More than talent and accuracy and perfection, we should all strive for continuity. Because when we’re playing every day, we can afford to take shots and miss.

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