It’s not my job to be the lord of answers for everybody

Maisel wrote a brilliant book about how to quiet an overactive, hypercreative mind. He suggested that we create and use thought substitutes, which are pieces of language that help prevent our brain from conjuring up its usual distortions and distractions. 

It’s a practice of thinking thoughts that serve us, rather than pushing on the pedal that’s driving our racing brain. 

Personally, I find questions to be helpful. Especially when my hero complex strikes, and I feel this irresistible urge to save and fix and inspire everybody around me. And so, instead of deputizing myself as the world’s part time unpaid career counselor, I ask myself one simple question. 


Is this really my business? 

Because most of the time, the answer is no. Unless I’m hired as a consultant, or unless someone I care about truly needs my advisement, it’s not my job to be the lord of answers for everybody. It’s not my responsibility to change somebody’s life in five minutes or less. It’s not my mission to penetrate people’s defenses and take them where they don’t want to go. 

That’s not really my business. 

Using that thought substitute has been liberating for me. It’s one of the many tools I use to quiet my racing brain. To keep me from trying to change and save and fix everyone I encounter. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS…

What do you say to yourself to quell your overacting mind?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of 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. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

Gently moving toward what scares you

Whyte famously said that our greatest vulnerability is the very door through which we must pass in order to open the next horizon of our lives. It’s the rite of passage. The proving ground. The refining fire. And unless we open ourselves to that unknown invisible force, we’ll fail to move the story forward. 

On our six month anniversary, my wife ask me to move across the country with her. I was speechless and sleepless. I felt the controlling instinct welling up inside of me. Because in that moment, all of my deepest vulnerabilities bubbled to the surface. 

Who would be my friends? What would change about my business? How would relocating affect all of my routines? And what would happen when we moved into a tiny apartment together and she discovered what a repulsive, adolescent, stubborn slob I really was? 

Thankfully, she gave me time to think about it. And during that period of reflection, I learned a lot about myself. Namely, that I’m not the kind of person who craves change. I’m too ritualized. I eat the same breakfast and wear the same outfit and listen to the same music and execute the same tasks, every day. And so, any form of change is a threat to my sense of control. 

But then I thought to myself, well, maybe moving across the country is exactly what I need right now. Maybe that’s the door I need to pass through to open the next horizon of my life. 

And I was right. That transition was the single best thing that ever happened for me. It changed my life in every way. Physically, emotionally, romantically, creatively, spiritually, professionally, the list goes on. Because it forced me to move toward what scared me. 

Proving, that only when we’re aware of our absolute vulnerability are we most powerful. 

And so, next time you find yourself stuck, itching to evolve, longing to level up to the next great adventure, ask yourself what great vulnerability you need to confront. I know it’s hard to change what you feel so safe with, but give yourself the gift of at least asking what unknown invisible force might be waiting to shape you. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS…

How can you turn your apparent vulnerability into a source of strength?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of 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. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

Make your education greater than your experience

One of the great underrated superpowers is the ability to learn a lot from a little. To turn every moment into a part of your education. To metabolize even the smallest events or situations into breakthroughs in thinking and action. 

That’s how you maximize growth. Like the company that seeks a return on investment, the individual seeks to maximize return on experience. 

But in order to make your education greater than your experience, you need a system. A purification process. Otherwise you’re just winking in the dark. Things are happening to you, but those experiences aren’t being integrated into your bloodstream. 

And so, next time you encounter a moment of conception, that little piece of kindling that gets the fire going, do more than just experience it, process it. Treat that moment as a container of raw materials that’s scheduled for delivery at your mental factory. Notice it, listen to it, appreciate it, document it, store it, reflect upon it, expand around it, refer back to it, and most of all, share it with others so they can add new dimensions to it. 

That’s how you learn a lot from a little. 

I like to think of it as turning a seed into a forest. That’s the mantra I’ve returned for the past fifteen years. And what’s fascinating is, once you’ve built your first forest, once you see just how much timber and shelter and oxygen and fuel and livelihood can come from a single seed, you never walk through the world the same way again. 

Because you realize that those seeds can come from anywhere. You realize that the next forest is just waiting to be built. 

But only if you make the decision to breathe from the atmosphere of intellectual possibility. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS…

Have you designed a system for drawing big wisdom from little moments?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of the list called, “11 Ways to Get More Ideas Than You Know What to Do With,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

Sending your dream rocket into the sky

Churchill was out of his mind. 

He’s well known for saying, never, never, never give up. 

But that’s a deeply dangerous thought. Because in many cases, quitting can be a viable, intelligent and profitable option. In fact, the real question isn’t whether to quit, but what to quit. 

And so, for the people who long to chase their dream, the people who have this thing inside of them that screams now, they don’t need to quit their day job to catch it, but they do need to quit a lot of other things instead. 

Outdated ways of thinking, inefficient methods of working, old approaches to earning and safe strategies for succeeding. The list differs for each person, but the reality is, we all have to end something to get to the next level.

I have a friend who spent the first decade of her career in corporate advertising sales. And most years, she was among the top performers in the entire country. But by the time she turned thirty, the entrepreneurial bug had bitten her. Because she realized that she could actually serve her clients better and cheaper if she opened her own independent agency. What’s more, being her own boss would afford her flexible work hours and create a quality of life that was more sustainable than being a cog in the corporate system. 

However, she didn’t storm out of the office at the end of the week. She didn’t call her boss an asshole in front of the entire company, steal the goldfish and then walk to the elevator in a blaze of glory. No matter how satisfying that would have felt. 

She paced herself. She quit watching television and stopped going to bars and woke up early and stayed up late giving her little economic engine every advantage she could. Then, after a few months, once she had built enough of a runway to get that bird off the ground, she did quit her day job. And she sent that dream rocket into the sky. 

The point is, quitting is underrated. Don’t overlook it as a path to happiness. Just make sure you’re quitting the right thing. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS… 

Will you quit because it’s hard or because it’s right?LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of the list called, “11 Ways to Get More Ideas Than You Know What to Do With,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

Mediocrity isn’t just rewarded, its demanded

I’m infuriated by the demand for mediocrity. 

People around the world
are achieving massive success creating products that are cheap to produce, easy
to manage, safe to launch, quick to sell, simple to monetize, likely to scale
and effortless to imitate. 

Which sounds like a brilliant business model. And
admittedly, there’s part of me that admires that level of shrewdness. 

But the
only caveat is, this approach means you have to be willing to accept
mediocrity. You have to be okay doing generic work. And for those of us who
didn’t come here to swim in the shallow end, that’s simply too big of an
existential risk. 

Personally, I prefer to create challenging work that pushes
people. I’m not interested in the hot new get rich quick online cash grab
content generation thought leadership snake oil bullshit factory. 

I’m here to
make art. I’m
here to get someplace rarified. I’m
here to launch something that lasts forever. I’m here to build things that are worth
noticing, worth owning, worth pointing to, worth crossing the street for, worth
standing in line for, worth taking a picture of, worth paying extra for, worth
showing off, worth socializing around, worth being criticized, worth sharing
with others, worth being tired for, worth getting yelled at for, worth being
sore for, worth sitting trough traffic for, worth coming back for, and worth
saving for years. 


That’s my filter. Those are the measures of worthiness
against which I execute my work to assure that mediocrity is never hot on my
trail. 

And so, next time you’re staring down the barrel of the entrepreneurial
gun, face to face with a situation where mediocrity might be exalted, remember
the words of the greatest songwriter alive. Morrisonsang

Gotta
fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay, you gotta fight with all your might
not to get in the bleeding heart’s way, because when you just go through the
motions, they won’t want to hear a word you say. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS… 

What are you doing consistently that average people aren’t?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of the list called, “11 Ways to Get More Ideas Than You Know What to Do With,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

Moments of Conception 203: The Give Up Scene from School of Rock

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.

Based on my books in The Prolific 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 give up scene in School of Rock:





The futility of
everything is fertile ground.
The most devious culprit of creative
demoralization is futility. That hopeless feeling that you’re just winking in
the dark, throwing petal after petal down the canyon, waiting to hear the echo.
Good god, it just makes you not even want to try. Because there’s too much noise, too many channels, too much
competition and too little bandwidth for the rest of the world to consume yet
another work of art. Why even waste your time? Ughh. Fortunately, these feelings are perfectly normal. In fact,
it’s our responsibility as artists to identify emotions like these. To observe
them without being overwhelmed by them. And to figure out how to domesticate
them, as opposed to pretending they don’t exist. I read a great article written by an addiction
psychotherapist, who said that emotions come and go like guests who come to
visit. Some are welcome and we’re delighted to see them, others, not so much.
Sometimes they leave sooner than we would like, other times they stay way past
the point when we want them to leave. But eventually they all leave. Love that. And so, anytime you notice
these feelings of futility starting to course through your artistic veins, empty
yourself of expectation. Zero out your emotional board. Choose to make art for
yourself, knowing that you can’t guarantee that anybody else will give a shit. Choose
to make art to make yourself proud, knowing the everybody else is too busy
getting ahead to care about you. Choose to make to make meaning, since most
people probably aren’t even thinking about you enough to judge you anyway. And
remember to keep passion in play. Because when you’re sitting alone in a room
throwing frisbees out the window all day, passion might be the only fuel you
have to keep going. Do you complain about
the wind, hope the wind will stop or adjust your sails?



You have ruined my sense of reality.I just finished reading a novel about a husband who
kidnaps his wife for ransom. In the final chapter, there’s a powerful passage,
in which the woman comes to terms with her new reality. “It’s a big blow,
finding out a person isn’t who you thought they were, that the world isn’t the
way you thought it was. You’re living your life under certain assumptions, and
then you find out they’re all wrong. You thought you were walking on firm
ground, but you’re really walking through a swamp of shit.” I know that
moment. It’s sad and jarring you feel betrayed and you start to think you don’t
understand the world anymore. I’m reminded of when I quit my first job. I spent
an hour writing an earnest, thoughtful letter of resignation to my bosses,
thanking them for believing in me, even requesting a face to face meeting so I
could share my appreciation in person. Pretty professional, don’t you think?
The bosses ignored me for two weeks. Literally, not a word. No acknowledgement.
No exit interview. Just silence. Unbelievable. It really bothered me. I felt
empty and invisible. Not because I was expecting balloons and cake, but a
simple goodbye would have been enough. Jesus. Grant me that much. The point is,
life is full of disappointment. As much as we’d like to remove the teeth from
the cruel bite of reality, we can’t pretend that the world is different than it
is. But that shouldn’t keep us from doing our best to make sense of it all.
Because odds are, in the end, the majority of the tally marks will be in the
win column.Are you shielding yourself
from the sharp edges of reality?



Buffer yourself against disillusionment.There’s a clear relationship between creativity and
addiction. In fact, there are many ways to approach recovery much like art. I
was reading thememoirof a recovering junkie who explained that addicts
often struggle to cope with an external world that will not submit to their
imagined demands. As the old saying goes, an addict is a piece of shit around
which the whole world revolves.Interesting.
Sounds like the creative process to me. That’s why this movie is a perfect
illustration of the gap between our beloved expectations and life’s actual intentions.
Dewey was a natural born rock start who got kicked out of his band because his
onstage antics unnerve his band mates and the crowd. And now he’s been reduced
to a washed up, bitter, angry substitute teacher. But what he didn’t realize is
that in the same way that the solar system is not obligated to provide us with
the sun, the marketplace is under no such obligation to embrace our next
creation. And so, if we are to buffer ourselves against disillusionment, we
have to empty ourselves of expectation. We literally have to expect nothing
except the satisfaction of doing something awesome. It takes a lot of time and
practice and patience get to a point where that’s enough for us. But once we
do, it’s a lot less likely that our dreams will be shattered on the rocks of
disappointment.Are your expectations
serving or frustrating you?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…

What did you learn from this movie clip?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

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 2016-2017.

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

Digging in for a repeat of the prior harvest

Gutsche’s book on innovation makes a powerful point about the evolutionary roots of our species and how that affects our ability to adapt to change. 



He writes that although humans have evolved into excellent farmers, the problem is, once we find a field to farm, we’re neurologically wired to repeat the chain of decisions that lead to the last harvest. We’re grasping at what worked in the past. It’s our last line of defense against the status quo. 



And so, the challenge is finding new fields to farm. Bigger ones. Better ones. Farms with more fertile soil and better access to water and highly efficient production and distribution. It’s a strategic decision that every organization, small business, entrepreneur, freelancer and artist has to make. 



I’m reminded of a client I used to consult with, whose initial market was performing at high schools and colleges around the country. And both of us agreed that in those early years, that particular land was quite lucrative. But over a seven year period, the field began to grow fallow. Client budgets thinned out and student personalities shifted and competition become too stiff. And both of us agreed, digging in for a repeat of the prior harvest wouldn’t yield a significant output. 



But then my client pivoted. He remade himself as the world changed. He adjusted his business model based on market feedback. And he catapulted himself into a new market niche where his assets could shine brighter than the competition. 



He found new fields to farm. 



Proving, that we can keep our blinders on while the world leaves us behind, or we can adapt and evolve and leap toward the future horizon of our work. 



Remember, the status quo is doing fine without you. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS… 

Are you digging in for what you hope will be a repeat of the prior harvest?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of the list called, “11 Ways to Get More Ideas Than You Know What to Do With,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

That’s just one shelf in the room

I started writing books when I was twenty years old. 

And at that time, both in my life and in the world, writing a book was a big deal. Because not everybody could do it. It took time and money and connections and resources and courage and maybe even a dusting of talent. 

Fast forward fifteen years, and now the industry has completely inverted. With the infinite shelf space of the web, the major publishers approaching irrelevancy, the long tail knocking down barriers to entry, the big box retailers going bankrupt, the third party publishing and fulfillment houses popping up, the declining design and setup costs and the non existent printing and shipping costs, everything is different. 

Now that anybody can write a book, anyone will. 

Meaning, that endeavor no longer carries the cache that it once did. 

And that breaks my heart. Because now that I’m thirty two into my catalog as an author, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the drug doesn’t have the same effect anymore. It’s sad to say, but my primary medium of creative expression has reached the point of diminishing returns. 

And so, the question is, what happens when the thing that brought you so much joy and satisfaction and recognition and money begins to level off? A few things. 

First of all, I’m still going to write books. Probably forever. I can’t not do it. The process is too meaningful for my mental and emotional health, and the product is too valuable for my professional health. 

Secondly, I remember that books are just one shelf in the room. After all, the goal to always explore new ways of being an artist. And so, if books aren’t filling me up like they used to, that doesn’t mean I have to give up writing them, but I do have a responsibility to pick up the creative slack elsewhere. 

That’s one of the reasons I started making music films. Because that new medium of expression gave my addiction the fix it needed. 

It’s polyamorous creation at its finest. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS… 

Are you limiting yourself just because people won’t accept the fact that you can do something else?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of the list called, “11 Ways to Get More Ideas Than You Know What to Do With,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

If anyone can do it, I shouldn’t do it

Our greatest currency in this world is our originality. 

That’s the one thing we have that nobody can take away from us. In fact, we couldn’t get rid of our originality even if we wanted to. It exists as a genuine outflow of the self. 

The hard part is, and this is where the real work comes in, originality demands a willingness to experiment. Otherwise we’re just the echo of another person’s work. 

Jobs famously said that he’d rather gamble on his vision than create another me too product. He demanded original thinking from himself and the people around him. And as a result, his company created innovations that changed the world forever. 

I remember those words every time I launch a new creative endeavor. They remind me never to start with an intention, but to start with an experiment. Because the last thing I want to do is create something that anybody could have created. My soul simply can’t cope with that sinking feeling of unoriginality. 

In fact, I’ve created a handy filter to prevent that very fear. As I move through the creative process, I continually ask myself several reflective questions. 

Am I so identified with this project that nobody could steal it, and if they did, people would know it? Is my work is so thoroughly autobiographical that the world won’t be able to parse the product from the person? And if I forget to sign my work at the bottom of the canvas, would the world still be able to tell that it was me? 

These are the tools that allow me to maintain my originality. They remind me that if anyone can do it, I shouldn’t. 

That my job is to only do the things that only I can do. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS… 

To what extent does the selective emphasis of your creativity deviates from the conventional norm?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

Leave the excuses you have made not to risk yourself

To make an earnest, exposed statement is itself an act of bravery. 

After
all, the world is a cynical, corrupt, snarky place. One where people fetishize
irony and have zero tolerance for earnestness. 

And so, it’s no surprise that
we’ve develop a conflicted relationship with our most earnest aspirations. There’s
too much social risk. 

Think of it this way. When we’re sitting in traffic and
another driver catches us belting out show tunes at the top of our lungs, there
are two possible responses. 

We can turn beet red and avert our eyes and
shamefully slide down our car seat, hoping that person doesn’t judge us
further. 

Or we can turn the knob to eleven and sing even louder and maybe even
roll down the window and reach out the invisible microphone and invite that
other person to sing along with us. 

We always have that choice. It’s one that
we make dozens of times a day. Instead of sheepishly admitting our guilty
pleasures, we could shamelessly express our sincerest enthusiasms.
Instead of dodging responsibility for our decisions, we could find the
firm ground on which we stand fearlessly and sing that song as loud as we can.

The
point is, irony is exhausting. Trying to look cool is a complete waste of
energy. Earnestness, on the other hand, is liberating. And it’s a lot less
work. 

What’s more, when we take complete ownership over something, truly
allowing that thing to possess us, the world has a hell of hard time trying to
shoot holes in it. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS… 

What excuses are you making not to risk yourself?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For a copy of the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Inventor. Singer. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

www.nametagscott.com

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

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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

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