May your delusions be benign and your compulsions useful

Just because a project doesn’t make money or make history or even make a splash, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile. 



I’ve worked on dozens of ventures over the years, some of which failed to get traction, some of which failed to even seen the light of day. Hell, I’ve written entire books that nobody even read. 



But those outcomes never mattered to me. Because if the experience of working on something was successful in giving me meaning and purpose and energy and optimism, there was no failure. That was enough for me. 



I’m not in the results business, I’m in the effort business. 

I’m not playing to win, I’m playing to keep the game going. 



Sound like delusion and rationalization and reconciliation and interpretation? 



That’s because it is. I see what I need to see. I modify my perceptions to fit whatever makes me happy. 



Adams said it best in his book about luck. Reality is overrated and impossible to understand with any degree of certainty, so you may as well pick the delusion that works. Because no matter what reality delivers in the future, your imagined version of the future has great usefulness today. 



Remember, we may not control reality, but our perceptions can certainly help influence it.

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Do you give yourself the freedom to imagine new and useful ways of looking at the world, even they’re distortions?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Nobody is going to make life interesting for you

The word boredom has no etymological origin. 

In fact, the word didn’t even appear in our language until the eighteenth century. Western society literally invented the concept of being bored. Thanks to our hyper efficient, over stimulated, fast paced, achievement oriented, attention deficit culture, we developed a zero tolerance policy against tedium. Our voracious appetite for new stimuli simply can’t cope with the stillness. 

So we invented a word for it. 

Gallagher actually did some incredible research on novelty, finding that boredom is largely a modern condition that still doesn’t exist in much of the world. Situations that would strike us as profoundly dull, he said, like waiting for hours or even days for a bus, are considered just the way life is in many developing nations. Their ability to do nothing is simply alien to us. 

And so, boredom, this inability to provoke meaning from our current situation, is a subjective experience, not an objective fact. It’s our own internal predicament, not some unstoppable external force. 

Looking back to all the supposed boring times in my life, both during childhood and adulthood, I now realize that they were purely of my own making. Boredom simply appeared in my life when broader meaning was absent. Had I known at the time that meaning is made and not found, has I known that nobody was going to make life interesting for me, perhaps my sadness could have been avoided. 

That’s why I always have at least five meaningful and interesting creative projects in front of me at all times. Because I know that engaging with any one of those commitments is guaranteed to flood me with a set of intensely positive emotions like happiness, exhilaration and even bliss. 

Proving, that boredom isn’t a public health epidemic, it’s simply a byproduct of poorly structured meaning systems. We can chase meaning and come up empty handed, or we can create meaning and wrap our arms around gold. 

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Are you still expecting the world to relieve you of boredom?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Moments of Conception 173: The Father/Son Scene in Thank You For Smoking

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the father/son scene in Thank You For Smoking:



The barometer of value. According to a research report from the three largest
media distribution services in the country, nearly two thousand press releases
are sent out each day. That’s north of a half a million each year. Now, some
people argue that this marketing approach is a form of spam. Just another
impersonal, insulting, shotgun strategy for getting somebody’s attention. And
perhaps that’s true. But the press release process is still an inherently
worthwhile experience. Not only because it challenges you tell your own story,
but because it requires you to create value. Otherwise you wouldn’t be writing
it. Lefsetz famously wrote that having a new album is not a
story. That with a twenty four seven news cycle online, he says, what happens
in your life is not a story. The hard
core already knows what’s you’re up to and the rest don’t care. And so, perhaps
the press release isn’t the point. Perhaps the point is having interesting
experiences and creating meaningful things in the world, all of which earn you
the right to write a press release in the first place. After all, before you
write things worth talking about, you have to do things worth writing about.
Life is subordinate to art, not the other way around. The press release for my documentary certainly didn’t go viral, but it still earned tens
of thousands of headline impressions and hundreds of online pickups. And to me,
that was a victory. Because it showed that I did something worth releasing. If you were arrested and charged with
creating value for people, would there be enough evidence to convict you?


Buried under layers of defensiveness. Joey is accurate when he says people make things
more complicated so they can feel sorry for themselves. It’s what our species
does. Human beings are amazingly adept at being defensive creatures who can
deny almost anything. And so, overcomplicating is just another arrow in our
rationalization quiver. It makes sense. Complexity feels like progress.
However, thinking in
absolutes can actually be quite useful. Even if it’s just a thought experiment,
the simple and finite world of black and white has its merits. It knocks out
excuses, reduces our experience of
anxiety, prevents our rationalization of poor choices and enables daily
decision making to be significantly easier and faster. As a textbook right
brainer, I can attest to the power of this mindset. Thinking absolutes has
always been difficult for me, but what I’ve come to understand is, abstinence
is cheaper than moderation. The best way to block a punch is to not be there.
Once we become okay with that, once we stop creating a labyrinth of bullshit
around problems and start filtering the world’s noise to make the purest signal
we can, clarity and liberation ensue.Are
you introduce complexity for the wrong reason?


Build your story where you are. Nick has fallen into depression after the public
relations nightmare exposed his lobbying practices. But thanks to his son, he
recalls the integrity in his job. He realizes that his gift is defending the
defenseless and protecting the disenfranchised. And so, he reclaims his message
about consumer choice and responsibility, reminding the courts that liberty
includes the freedom to make unhealthy decisions. And he’s inspired to open a
private lobbying firm, continuing to do what he does best.Talk.Meanwhile, his son wins a school debate using lessons his
father taught him. Yet another reminder, dark and satirical as it may be, that
we are the authors of our own narratives. We are the public relations agents of
our own careers. I’m reminded of my favorite filmmaker, Kevin Smith. He said people
had been telling him that he was a failure and that he was doing it all wrong
for twenty years. But he reminds us to never trust anybody when they tell us
how our story goes. We know our story. We write our own story. That’s what
being an artist is all about. Not just creating the work, but creating the mythology
that surrounds it. Which story in your
life do you want to feel on a new level?

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What did you learn from this movie clip?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Dream bigger sooner

When I look back at my list of goals from five, seven, even ten years ago, what I’m most surprised by is how small my thinking was. 

The ambitions were achievable, but they weren’t exactly visionary, strategic or emotionally compelling. The goals were honorable, but they weren’t big enough catalyze my spirit and create a sense of urgency. And they were challenging, but they wouldn’t have required a quantum step in my own capabilities. 

In fact, I’ll never forget the first time I shared my projected income goal at my annual mastermind planning session. My two colleagues nearly fell to the ground laughing. They were so ghastly underwhelmed by my goal that each of them threw twenty dollars on the table and bet that I would double my goal by the summer. 

They were wrong. I tripled it. 

Lesson learned, dream bigger sooner. Overcome the fear of owning your full potential and just fucking go for it. Pressfield reminds us never to let ourselves work small. Start playing from power, he says, because you can always dial it back later. If you don’t swing for the seats from the start, you’ll never be able to drive a fastball into the upper deck. 

What do you have to lose? Dream bigger sooner. Because even if you fall short, even if the dream is a long shot, at least for today, it’s fuel. It energizes and elevates and educates you in the process. And that makes you a winner no matter what. 

Don’t die with your music still in you. Go to your grave with your life poured out, not buried grievances and dreams unexpressed. 

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Are you fooling yourself into having goals that your can easily meet which don’t require any work, effort or challenge, and have no possibility of failure?

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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

From individual to oppositional

When you’re genetically predisposed to asset your individuality, born with a deep desire to actualize your potential, you can’t help but want to follow your own path. You can’t help but aim yourself in the direction of your own creation, doing work that allows you to be as smart as you are. 

After all, those values make you feel fully alive when you honor them. It’s who you are. It’s how you create meaning in the world. 

The challenge is, that predisposition puts you at odds with conventionality. And if you’re not careful, you can go from being an individual to being oppositional. You can fall down the rabbit hole of your own romantic, nonconformist, artistic mythology, making you an insufferable pain in the ass to be around. 

What good is being an innovative thinker when everyone you encounter feels chronically overwhelmed by your unconventional nature? What good is being passionate and driven and committed when you’re always exhausting to be around? What good is being an iconoclast when you bring so much outsider energy to your social interactions that you alienate normal people? 

There must be a balance. Creativity, after all, is meant to be a bridge, not a wall. 

And so, always recognize that part of your work as a creator is understanding and coping with the psychological demands of your chosen profession.


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Are you delightfully artistic or terminally creative?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

I will persist until you die or hire me

Our culture bombards us with the promising message that persistence will be rewarded in the end. 



But effort alone is not enough. We could kill ourselves and get nowhere. 



When I give presentations to businesspeople, I remind them that there’s a fine line between following up and being a stalker. Whether it’s looking for a job, closing a sale or following up with an old client, if we don’t demonstrate a valid reason for our persistence, we’re just annoying. 



Irritating our way into people’s inboxes isn’t a wise approach for getting attention, earning permission or solidifying trust. 

Persistence, like most things, is like tofu. It takes on the flavor of whatever sauce it’s immersed in. And so, if we fail to pair persistence with value, the flavor won’t be right, and the answer won’t be yes. 

I once did four interviews for a potential consulting gig, each round coming to the table with bigger and better visual aids, homework assignments and other unnecessary props. And I was convinced that my antics and performances and stunts would impress them into hiring me. 

Unfortunately, the company explained that bringing in someone with a personality as big as mine did not make sense for them. I may have been talented, but not talented in a way that was necessary to fit into their machine. 

Woops. Guess not every company needs a creative visionary. 

Behold, the dangers of misguided persistence. 


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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Success is attributable to internal and external factors

Just because you have a great fire in your soul and nobody ever comes to warm their hands by it, doesn’t mean the world is blind to your talents. Just because you build it and nobody comes, doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in what you have to offer. 



Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. Being the right person, in the right place, at the right time, with the right product, in front of the right audience, and with the right leverage. Even if that moment comes late in your career. 



Maron achieved commendable success as a young comedian and actor, but didn’t become a household name until his podcast became a cult hit when he was in his late forties. Hundreds of millions of downloads later, it’s clear that his success was the intersection of talent and timing. 



Marc was the perfect age to take advantage of the opportunities that the comedy podcast boom opened up. He was in the ideal life situation to take back the means of production and experiment with a nontraditional medium that was less than a decade old and had no rules. Combine those structural forces with his insightful, intellectual and interesting worldview, you’ve got one hell of a recipe for success. 



The irony is, now every young comedian is trying to follow the same path. And yet, few have achieved the same level of success, because although the talent might be there, the timing isn’t. 



Maron got through a door just as it was closing. 



Proving, that timing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.


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Will you still be around when the world is finally ready for you?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Not everyone deserves a backstage pass to your dream

You don’t need permission to dream, but you do need to be discerning about the people with whom you share your dream. 



Because as excited as you are about making it a reality, the last thing you want to do is waste your passion on people who don’t appreciate or deserve it. Doing so will kill your momentum early on. 



For example, if you were raised in a family where there was a layer of disapproval over everything you did, perhaps your relatives are not the ideal focus group to help work out the kinks in your latest startup adventure. If you work in an office filled with bitter people who make nice but secretly hate each other, perhaps your coworkers are not the best test audience for your forthcoming documentary. 

Years ago, I made the mistake of sharing the preliminary sketches of one of my more unconventional projects with the wrong group of colleagues. Their feedback not only devastated me emotionally, but nearly derailed the entire launch. 

The point is, not everyone deserves a backstage pass to your dream. Safeguard it. Never allow the passion of your idea to break the seal of protection around it. Never gush to people who are just going to belittle your ambitions.

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Are you looking for people to tell you that your dreams are crazy so you can abandon them and make it their fault and not yours?



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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Moments of Conception 172 — The Flow Scene from The Hustler

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the flow scene in The Hustler:





You have to
lose yourself to find yourself.
Since I was a kid, music was always my
gateway into flow. The inner sanctuary. The one thing that made every other
thing fall away. I may not have used the word flow when I was twelve years old, but all I knew was, playing and
singing songs was my optimal state of consciousness. The bliss station in which
action and awareness merged, my perception of time disappeared, the inner
critic went quiet, neurochemicals flooded my system and I transcended the inner
division between self and ego. Complete engagement, total immersion and pure
freedom. Music was what made me feel like the best, highest, truest version of
myself. And that was the irony. Only by losing myself did I find myself. Only
by letting go did I unlock the real me. But music isn’t everybody’s drug of
choice. Eddie’s gateway is playing pool. Long before researchers identified the
scientific principles behind flow, he understood it intuitively. Some things in
life are like that.
Easier to experience before they have been explained. And so, when he saw that everything was working for him, and
all of the sudden, he got oil in his arm, he didn’t have to look, he just knew.
That’s what made it great. But his girlfriend shared perhaps the greatest
insight of all. She reminded him that some men never get to feel that way about
anything. And so, any time we experience flow, even if only for a moment, we
should be grateful. It’s the optimal state of being for our species, and should
not be treated lightly. What experience
allows you both lose and find yourself?



You’re better because it took longer. There’s nothing more painful than being patient with a
dream. When you have this thing that sticks inside of you and says now, this
idea that you want to fly so badly that you would gladly tape wings on it, any
impediment to progress feels like a shot to the heart. You’re just so eager in
those early stages. You almost say to your dream, why can’t you come true faster? But nine women can’t make a baby in
one month. Which is usually a metaphor for the software development process,
but it’s equally applicable to the dream management process. I remember
listening to a fascinating interview with a successful comedian, who revealed that she
didn’t become successful until her early thirties. The host, however, told her
that she was better because it took longer.
Had she found her comedic voice too early in the process, she would have
bypassed the necessary existential, emotional and psychological work required
to get there. Had her dream been handed to her right away, she never would have
logged the thousands of hours it took to make something of herself. And so,
it’s the foundational development that becomes long term benefit of delayed
gratification. Which might be difficult to see with stars in your eyes, but if
it’s worth dreaming about, it’s worth waiting for. Don’t worry. You’re better
because it took longer. Are you willing
to keep your hand raised until it’s your turn?



The best technique is commitment. The Hustler was
published in the late fifties. Tevis’s book was the first and best novel
written about billiards in the four hundred year history of the game, and it
quickly won a respected readership and later an audience for this movie. More
importantly, the book and the film brought the excitement of pool to a new
generation, activating a revival around the country in the early sixties. And
so, we have to consider the story with a healthy dose of context. Because back
then, billiards wasn’t a mainstream dream. And that changes everything. For
example, when I started my career in the
publishing industry, not everybody was doing it. Because not everybody could do it. The digital revolution
hadn’t happened yet. But thanks to deflated industry ecosystems, massive advances in
technology, cultural shifts in taste, evolutions in genre and nonexistent
barriers to entry, now anybody can make
anything for nothing and win everything. Let me say that again. Anybody can
make anything for nothing and win everything. It’s both beautiful and
terrifying at the same time. Because when anyone can do anything, they
will. And when that happens, the
marketplace will saturate. Making it harder and harder to stand out. Yet
another reminder of the power of delayed gratification. Because talent isn’t
enough. When the pieces of the pie keep getting smaller as more people throng
to it, the best technique is commitment. What inspires your persistence and
determination?

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What did you learn from this movie clip?

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For a copy of the list called, “11 Ways to Out-Market the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Becoming an expert on your own anxiety

In my mid twenties, I was hospitalized for stress three times in one year. 

That was a telltale sign that I needed to develop a healthier relationship with my own mind. 

And according to my therapist, the first step was learning how my anxiety manifested itself. Mastering my own stress patterns. Turns out, most my symptoms were psychosomatic. Stomach cramps, chest pains, abdominal bloating and loss of breath, to name a few. 

But what I quickly learned was, even if there was little I could do to keep those waves from coming in, at the minimum, understanding my anxiety would provide me with a sense of control that I didn’t have before. My doctor was right. Learning to notice it, name it, objectify it, and of course, love it, allowed me to nip it in the bud. 

That practice pulled me back into my body and out of the mental experience of threat. I started to build a foundation of confidence and efficacy in my relationship with my mind. I started to become an expert on my own anxiety. And after several years of daily work, those waves subsided to a safe, calm level. 

All those tightly wrapped coils of stress finally let go. The pain subsided to the point of irrelevancy. 

And the best part was, once I cleaned up all the anxiety and the noise, the process made me more of who I was meant to be.

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Are you doing whatever work is necessary to reduce your experience of anxiety?

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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

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