Is Anyone Else Tired of Being Right?

Have you ever been in a committed relationship with someone that you loved completely and devoted yourself to fully – who was totally wrong for you?

That’s terminal certainty.

It’s that mindset when you’ve convinced yourself that you’re correct, despite evidence to the contrary. And from that moment on, nothing will make you go back on your commitment. Nothing.

Because you just know.

The decision is final: She’s the one. Together forever. End of story. No room for discussion.

And then one morning, you wake up and realize that you no longer like this person, you no longer want to spend the rest of your life with this person and, by the way, none of your friends ever liked this person in the first place.

They just kept quiet to avoid breaking your heart. So you stayed together to preserve your sense of rightness. And as a result, you ended breaking your own heart.

That’s terminal certainty.

AND DON’T GET ME WRONG: I’m all about commitment.

But the ego has a sneaky way of convincing the heart that it has shit for brains. And if you’re not careful, you can become a victim of your own conviction.

Here are a few ideas to help you cure terminal certainty:1. Practice listening louder. Readers often ask me how I know what I’m going to write about each day. And to their frustration, my answer is always, “I don’t.”

Because that’s not the way creativity works. You can’t decide what you’re going to write – all you can do is listen for what wants to be written. Otherwise you end up limiting yourself to what you already know you want. And that prevents you from hearing the unintentional music that might change everything.

The same goes for the page of life: If you want to keep yourself open to possibility, don’t ignore the whispering invitations of the world. Listen loudly. Respond to your inner urgencies. And trust that whatever needs to open within you, will. Because the last thing you want to do is force-feed the canvas with something that doesn’t matter.

If you’re not alert to the forces streaming around you, you’ll never pin down what wants to be written. Grow bigger ears. Trust the process. And always ask yourself what wants acceptance in this moment. You’ll have no trouble figuring out your next move. What are you allowing yourself to give birth to?

2. Goals are overrated. It’s one thing to be goal oriented – it’s another to be goal obsessed. That’s the problem: Once you become too fixated on your goals, a whole host of dangerous reverberations echo through your life. First, you lose sign of the true intention behind the goal. And that’s way more important than crossing some arbitrary number off your list.

Second, you become too attached to the outcome. And you lose site of what matters most: The person you’re becoming while accomplishing the goal. Third, you lock yourself into working on something you’re no longer passionate about. And that’s not fair to you, your work or the world.

And finally, when you’re too fixated on accomplishing your goals, you end up living in a perpetual state of dissatisfied expectation. And that blocks you from finding contentment in the now.

My suggestion: Hold intentions; don’t set goals. This approach focuses on the present moment, isn’t so outcome oriented and makes it easier to pivot when life throws you a curveball. Then, instead of striving for the finish line, you can remember why the hell you’re running in the first place. Will you really be that much happier when you accomplish all your goals?

3. Certainty locks down your story. After wearing a nametag everyday for the past eleven years, I’ve finally comes to terms with this reality: Commitment has the potential to degrade into detriment.

Here’s why: The deeper you commit to something, the more likely you are to become so obsessed with idea of being committed to that something, that your desire actually becomes bigger than what you’re committed to. And as a result, you end up hurting the people you love because you’re blinded by the fire of your own conviction.

What’s more, you block yourself from whole world of cool opportunities that would have come your way had you not been so damn certain.

But it’s too late. You were too right.

All I’m saying is: Never overlook the possibility of changing your mind midstream. There’s nothing wrong with quitting. And it’s not a sign of failure to change your vision. As long as you do so when it’s right – not when it’s hard – nobody is going to spank you with a ruler.

In fact, they’ll probably give you a medal. At least you had the guts to admit you were wrong, turn the car around and barrel into the other direction. Most people wouldn’t be able to handle that kind of imperfection. Are you too attached to it?

4. Plans are for architects. One of my favorite mantras comes from legendary point guard Steve Nash: “If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you.” I’ve been living that philosophy for nearly a decade.

Think about it: When I started my business the day I graduated college, I had no idea what I was doing. And now, nearly a decade later, I’m happy to report that I still have no idea what I’m doing.

Interestingly enough, it seems to be working: Business is good, and life is even gooder. That’s the big secret nobody tells you in business school: You don’t need to know where you’re going – you just need to know why you’re going there. Because if you know your why, the how will come. As long as you develop a deeper awareness of the dance – and believe that the path will take you where you want to go – you’ll figure it out.

Stop making gods out of your plans. Find your core motivation, embed into the pavement and use the why to set yourself on fire. Because the irony is, there’s actually a lot of predictability in uncertainty. But only if you listen. Are you willing to plunge forward planless?

REMEMBER: Our troubles come not when we think we’re wrong, but when we’re sure we’re right.

Life’s too short to stay on the wrong path just to avoid looking like an idiot.

Try not knowing. Hug uncertainty. Be blissfully ignorant.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you still addicted to terminal certainty?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Is your frontline IN line?

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Geographic Impotence, or, How Having No Sense of Direction Can Change Everything

Consider four clichés:

If you don’t know where you’re going, you may never get there.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you’ve finally arrived.

I respectfully disagree.

In my experience:

If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you.
If you don’t know where you’re going, there’s no destination to scare you.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up somewhere better.
If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s easy to hear unintentional music.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you can pivot and change mid-course.
If you don’t know where you’re going, the wheels of serendipity can set in motion.

My name is Scott, and I am geographically impotent.

Which isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you have to lose your way to find your home. But personally, I can’t imagine living in a world where you can’t get lost.

Today we’re going to talk about the value of having no sense of direction.

Feel free to let your brain wander:1. Intelligence is the great impediment. Admittedly, I didn’t put lot of thought into my first book. There was no strategy, no through line, no promise to the reader, no take home value for the buyer and no unique selling proposition for the target market.

I just wrote it because I wanted to write it. I wrote it because I had a story worth telling. And I wrote it because if I didn’t, my heart would never forgive me. So I just shipped the damn thing.

And when the book came out, it’s not like I wised up and got my act together. There was still marketing strategy. No social media push. And no finely orchestrated plan that was in perfect alignment with my personal vision statement and life purpose.

I just handed out copies to every single person I knew, along with two free nametags in the back of each book. That’s it. And because I wasn’t trying to make money – I was trying to make a point – the book ended up making history. All because the intention was pure, the process was organic and the art was completely selfish. Sweet.

Remember: When you know too much, you execute too little. How could you become dumber today?

2. Goals are for soccer players. The problem with goals is that you’re never really happy when you accomplish them. You just keep setting more goals. And you end up living in a perpetual state of dissatisfied expectation. Nothing but an infinite regression of marginally worthwhile accomplishments.

This is not healthy.

First of all, there’s more to life than accomplishing your goals. Being trumps doing any day of the week. And just because you’re not “getting things done” doesn’t mean you’re going to disappear. Secondly, life changes. Quickly. And often times, what you thought you wanted later proves to be irrelevant, redundant or erroneous.

Instead of deadlocking your life to an arbitrary list of pointless attachments, focus on your intention. Decide how you want to invest your life. And let go of your outdated plan that has no relationship with reality. You might also try making a list of one hundred reasons why you do what you.

After all, life’s greatest transformations occur in the moments when we’ve lost our way, but preserved our why.

Remember: Success is not a spreadsheet. And what can’t be measured, matters. Are you a victim of the victories that don’t count?

3. Beware of making gods out of your plans. I don’t plan – I just sort of do stuff that feels consistent with who I am, and go from there. Truth is: Planning is procrastination in disguise. But people do it because it preserves their sense of control. It reinforces the illusion that they know what they’re doing. Which they don’t.

That’s why I’m completely against any permutation of the phrase, “Ready, aim, fire!” Because you’re never ready, aiming is overrated and fire burns people.

An alternate formula you might consider is, “Try, listen, leverage.”

First, you just try stuff. You just do stuff. Don’t plan anything. Don’t overthink it. Just start. Second, listen. To the people who matter. And not for opinions, but for reactions.

Then, be sure to treat everything you hear with deep democracy. Finally, leverage. Kill two stones with one bird. And constantly ask yourself, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”

The point is: Failure doesn’t come from poor planning, but from the timidity to proceed. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how.

Instead of holding a meeting to get ready to prepare the execution of your plan for formulating your strategy to begin the initial stages of brainstorming your pre-launch, just go. Are you prematurely committing yourself to an endeavor that might later prove to be unprofitable?

4. Don’t think big – think now. The problem with the big picture is that it fills up your entire wall. And that prevents you from hanging the art that matters most. When the reality is: Just when you get there, there disappears. Just when you think you have life figured out, it changes on you like a traffic light.

And just when you think redheads are your type, your online dating profile matches you with a dishwater blonde that steals your heart like a thief in the night.

That’s been the biggest learning for me: That your currency will change. That you will outgrow things. And that you will have to leave some people behind. That’s why I’m all about getting lost. And that’s why people who try to choreograph everything piss me off.

I’m sorry, but life isn’t that predictable.

The world pivots quickly. And if you don’t meet the now need, you’re going to make the mistake of living your life and not being present for it. As Adam Duritz reminds us, “You have to be in your life or it will pass you by.”

Look: Just embrace the moment. It pays better. Are you willing to leave room for the unexpected, or are you still seduced by the sexiness of what’s next?

REMEMBER: There’s no shame is having no sense of direction.

Try getting lost. Step into the beauty of useful serendipity.

You may end up somewhere that changes everything.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What will your addiction to terminal certainty cost you?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on delivering unforgettable service!

The Steve Nash Guide to Not Knowing

I was watching basketball at the time.

When the game was over, the announcer stepped onto the floor to interview my favorite player, Steve Nash.

“It’s fascinating to watch you play. You’re quick, you’re scrappy and you’re smart. And I never know where you’re going to take the ball: Straight to the basket? Across the paint? Out to the three-point circle? I mean, how do you know where you’re going to go?”

“I don’t,” Nash replied.

The announcer froze.

“Yeah, but you’re one of the best point guards in the league. Millions of fans adore you. And your numbers are off the charts. What do you mean you don’t know?”

And with a sweaty, confident smile, Steve said something I’ll never forget:

If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you.

That’s the art of not knowing.

And it’s not only valuable for basketball players, it’s also profitable for businesspeople.

THE QUESTION IS: Are you smart enough to be dumb when it matters?

Today we’re going to explore a collection of ideas to help you convert strategic ignorance into a competitive advantage.1. Reason is highly overrated. When I started wearing a nametag every day, there was no strategy. There was no agenda. It was just something I did. And what always amazed me was how how hard it was for certain people to wrap their heads around that. They simply couldn’t accept the fact that I was doing something just the sake of doing it.

In fact, some of them got outright angry, insisting that there must be a deeper motivation behind my actions. Nope. I just feel like wearing a nametag. What do you want from me?

Years later, I read Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He named this type experience autotelic, or engaging in an activity or a creative work that has an end or purpose in itself. The other option is exotelic, which means doing things not because you enjoy them, but rather to accomplish a later goal.

Which category describes your actions?

The point is: Life’s too short to surround yourself with people who a demand a reason for everything. Instead, stay in touch with your childlike sensibility. Never discard your playful spirit. And remember that sometimes, digging a hole is just digging a hole. You don’t need to find the treasure when digging is the treasure.

After all: Sometimes the best reason is the one you don’t have. Are you motivated by the quality of the experience you feel or the quantity of the results you achieve?

2. Position yourself as the curious one. Not knowing has nothing to do with stupidity. It has everything to do with being aggressively skeptical and keeping a posture of incurable curiosity.

That way, you can recognize the broken patterns most people miss. That way, you’re the person who comes in, raises his hand and asks the dumb questions everybody else stopped asking long ago because they already know everything.

Which they don’t. They just haven’t kicked their addiction to terminal certainty yet, and they need a fix.

That’s what I tell the clients who rent my brain: That I’m an outsider. A new pair of eyes. And the reason they’re paying me is because I know nothing. Yes, it sounds like a counterintuitive position to take as a consultant.

But in my experience, when you become known as a breath of fresh air, those who matter will come in droves to inhale. And they’ll pay big money to sustain that high. Look: People are tired of listening to the same messages from the same people. Try walking in with some perspective. You’ll walk out with a check.

Remember: Sometimes it takes a person who knows nothing to change everything. How are you marketing your stupidity?

3. Not knowing is the great gateway. In the humbling book Being Wrong, author Kathryn Schulz takes the reader on an adventure through the margin of error. Here’s my favorite passage:

“We all outgrow some of our beliefs. So instead of parading your own brilliance, try rebuilding your understanding. Otherwise certainty becomes an obstacle to the path toward truth.”

That’s the cool part about not knowing: It engages a higher part of yourself. That’s what keeps you mentally flexible. That’s what allows you to trust the process. And that’s what affords you the psychological freedom to pivot into new directions. Only from that space of openness, vulnerability and surrender can you make discoveries that change everything.

The only problem is: Not knowing will drive your ego crazy. Even if you know you’re wrong — your head will make sure your heart never gets that memo.

But that’s an inner battle you have to fight. And it will annoy you to no end. My suggestion: For one week, stop being right. No arguing, no asserting your opinion and no spinning everything people say into another statement you disagree with. You’ll be amazed how differently you treat people when you’re not trying so hard to prove them wrong. What insecurity is being disguised by your relentless need to be right?

4. Ignorance isn’t just bliss — it’s boldness. I started my company the day I graduated from college. I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t smart enough and I had no experience. But I took the plunge anyway. Because I knew that if I waited until I knew what I was doing, I never would have done anything.

That’s the advantage of not knowing: It gets you going. And as long as you have the right mindset, jumping doesn’t have to be a reckless endeavor. Risky, but not reckless.

Here’s the distinction: Risky is embracing uncertainty; reckless is rejecting ambiguity. Risky is growing increasingly mindful of how your pebbles ripple, reckless is remaining utterly unconcerned about the consequences of action.

All I’m saying is: The less you know, the less you fear. And it’s a lot easier to break the limit when you don’t know the limit exists. At least that’s what the officer told me. If you didn’t know the ropes, would that give you permission to to fly?

REMEMBER: Any idiot can be right.

Only a real genius can embrace wrong.

Pull a Steve Nash. Give not knowing a try.

Because life is boring when you know all the answers.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you still addicted to terminal certainty?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on delivering unforgettable service!

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