Why Art Shouldn’t Speak For Itself

I’ve always been told that art should speak for itself.

That our job is to do the work, the
work’s job is to speak for the work, and any attempt to make grand claims about
what the work is, what it’s supposed to do or what people should think about
it, is bad form.


And yet, every time I go to an art
museum, watch a documentary or see an interview with one of my heroes, all I
want is for the artist to speak. To me, artist statements are more interesting
than the art itself. That’s what inspires me. That’s what gives me permission
to try something new.

Yes, I pay attention to the work, but I
what I obsess over is the thinking behind the work. As the consumer,I
want the back story. I want a detailed description of the landscape that
sustained the artist when her spirit was tired and sagging. I want to know who
the artist had to become in order to finish it.

What’s interesting is, now that most
artists are operating on some permutation of free, res ipsa loquitur might not cut it anymore. If we just sit back and
let the work speak for itself, where’s the value to the fans? As Seth says,
when the cost of delivering the thing itself is so cheap, there isn’t a
bright line between exposing the work and delivering the work.

That’s why Kevin Smith has spent tens of thousands of hours
in the past twenty years – on stage, on camera, on air and on ink – answering
questions, telling stories and sharing secrets behind his work. He’s not trying
to perfect the audience experience; he’s trying to extend it. It’s the second
bite of the apple. And his fans couldn’t get that if he simply let the work
speak for itself.

Today’s audience no longer buys what we sell, they buy the story we tell. They buy the humble
beginnings that first ignited the work, the process we endured to create the
work and the resistance we overcame to sign, seal and ship the work.

Just because the work is done, doesn’t mean our mouths
should close.


What have you declined this week?


For the list called, “21 Things I Learned While Spying on Myself,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting


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to work with. Life is great and I just wanted to thank you from the
bottom of my heart.” —-Melanie Jatsek, Diet Busters

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The Love Conundrum

We can love what we do, but we can’t fall in love with what we do.

That type of attachment will be the end
of us.

Nothing against love, but when we’re
smitten by our own enterprise, hopelessly enchanted by our own work, the
blinders of the heart obstruct the vision of the brand.

And like Narcissus, infatuated with our
own reflection, we can’t see what’s obvious, practical and profitable.

Sometimes we fall in love with our own technology. And we never question our own
assumptions about redundancy. Take Kodak. They filed for bankruptcy because they
failed to innovate and adapt to the digital world.

Sometimes we e fall in love with our own inventory. And it’s hard to imagine why the rest of the
world doesn’t feel the same way. Take BlackBerry. Their sales plummeted
last year because they never realized the mobile world had already passed them

Sometimes we fall in in love with our own press. And we spend all our time soaking in the accolades
instead of trying to get better. Take Toyota. Their quality slipped
because they obsessed over company legend instead of customer legroom.

Sometimes we fall in love with our own ideas. And we get so close to them that we overestimate
their potential. Take John Carter. Pixar lost two hundred million dollars
because this boring, bloated, poorly marketed epic couldn’t recoup their
massive budget.

Sometimes we fall in love with our own perspective. And terminal certainty blocks our acceptance
of better ideas. Like Lehman Brothers. They filed the largest bankruptcy in the
nation’s history and started a global financial crisis because they were too
big to fail.

And yet, I still believe that business without love, isn’t.

But I also believe that emotion distorts evaluation. And if
we want our brand to stick around, we owe it to our customers, our employees
and ourselves to love what we do, but not fall in love with what we do.


What are you falling in love with?


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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting


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dozens of free video learning modules on sales, frontline service,
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So Many Conferences, So Little Return

For several years, I made a small career out of going to
seminars, attending week-long conferences, schmoozing at networking events, disappearing
on spiritual retreats, reading every book on the shelves, studying personal
development programs and brainstorming at mastermind sessions.

Which was inspiring and educational, but it was also
expensive, time consuming and not especially profitable.

Eventually, I had to get very honest with myself.

Am I actually creating work that matters, or just
distracting myself from what’s really important? Am I spending my time wisely,
or am I just inventing things to do to preserve the illusion of productivity? Am
I actually growing my business, or just satisfying my bottomless need for
validation and approval? Am I actually delivering value to others, or just
sitting in a corner trying to perfect myself? Am I actually connecting with my
peers, or just playing dress up for the wrong audience? Am I actually part of a
community, or just feeding into another ballwashing circlejerk of mutual

So I stopped.

Not completely. I still attend events here and there. I
still learn everyday. And I still show up where it counts.

But at this point, I’d rather create than consume.

And what’s fascinating is, when I make creation my dominant
act, I do learn. I do grow my business. I do deliver value to others. I do
connect with my peers. I do feel part of a community. I do make meaning. And I
do make money.

Sure beats spending a week at some hotel in Phoenix trying to prove myself to people I don’t even like.


What have you declined this week?


For the list called, “21 Things I Learned While Spying on Myself,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting


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42 Additional Things You Should Never Apologize For (And Why)

Read Part 1 of this post here!

38. Never apologize for ordering dessert. Especially if the menu offers one of those chocolate volcano brownie thingies. (Insert Homer Simpson drooling sound.)

39. Never apologize for pulling your triggers for joy. Screw it. If it makes you happy, do it. Unless strangling people with Ethernet cables makes you happy.

40. Never apologize for reclaiming what is rightfully yours. There’s a difference between entitlement and basic human rights.

41. Never apologize for rooting for the Yankees. Even if they do buy their way to victory. They’re still the greatest sports franchise in the history of the world. Do the math and show some respect.

42. Never apologize for saying how you feel. That’s like saying sorry for being real.

43. Never apologize for saying no. Especially when you’re doing so to reinforce your boundaries and create a space for the right “yes” to come into your life.

44. Never apologize for self-promotion. It’s not shameless when all you’re doing is transferring your love. That’s what self-promotion truly is: Transference of emotion. Remember: If you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you. Just don’t be too shameless.

45. Never apologize for setting high standards and enforcing them. Ditch those frightened people who tell you to play smaller just to appease their insecurity. Try telling them to play bigger.

46. Never apologize for sharing your gifts and talents with the world. This is the purpose of your life and the validation of your existence. To take whatever unique gift you’ve been given and re-gift it to the world. Not doing so isn’t just selfish – it’s stupid.

47. Never apologize for speaking your mind. Honesty makes people uncomfortable. Good. Comfortable people rarely take action.

48. Never apologize for sticking to your values. Especially if you’re only doing so to avoid making someone else uncomfortable. Tough shit. If people can’t handle someone who stands up for what he believes, that’s their problem.

49. Never apologize for taking a break. Learning to press your Off Button is the single most important lesson you could ever learn.

50. Never apologize for telling an unpopular truth. Honest trumps comfort.

51. Never apologize for telling the truth. You’re doing people a favor. Especially yourself. Honesty is the single source of all the world’s stress.

52. Never apologize for things that make you laugh your ass off. Funny is funny. Don’t feel bad for laughing. Don’t look to see if the King laughed. Just let the humor wash over you. It’s healthy.

53. Never apologize for things you can’t change. Instead, figure out what you CAN change and get to work.

54. Never apologize for thinking something was possible. That’s what possiblitarians do. They walk around the problems mentally and prayerfully and see what they see. They face problems artfully and lovingly enough to convert them into something beautiful. They believe.

55. Never apologize for treating yourself to something special. I call it a “Victory Dance.” It’s about celebration. It’s about ritual. It’s about rewarding yourself.

56. Never apologize for voicing a reasonable complaint. When everyone assumes somebody is going to say something, nobody says anything. It’s called diffusion of involvement, and it’s the murderer of the collective voice of man. Don’t feel bad for complaining. As long as you suggest three actions for every one complaint, you’re all right in my book. Unless your complaint is about my book. In which case we might actually have a problem.

57. Never apologize for walking away from a relationship that was holding you back from being the best version of yourself. Even when delivering the death stroke causes your partner significant pain. Don’t say you’re sorry. You might feel terrible. You might feel like a horrible person. And you might feel more guilt than ever before in your life. But don’t say you’re sorry. Those words help nobody.

58. Never apologize for what needed to be done. You were kind, honest and true; and it was the right thing to do. Good for you.

59. Never apologize for what you don’t feel. That’s a betrayal of your truth. And saying sorry for doing so compounds your inauthenticity.

60. Never apologize for what you’re about to say. Immediate personal discounting denotes lack of confidence and reduces listenability.

61. Never apologize for what’s important to you. If you do, then it’s probably not that important to you.

62. Never apologize for who you really are. Brag about it. Shout it from the rooftops.

63. Never apologize for your art. That defeats the whole purpose of creating art.

64. Never apologize for your attempts at humor. Even if they’re totally lame.

65. Never apologize for your boundaries. They are limits that promote integrity. And if you don’t set them for yourself, others will set them for you.

66. Never apologize for your brand. Branding is the best, highest version of yourself – (plus) – the way people experience themselves in relation to you. Not everyone will like it. And if everybody does, you’re doing something wrong.

67. Never apologize for your displays of affection. My quota is to say, “I love you” to at least one person a day. What’s yours?

68. Never apologize for your enthusiasm. Next time someone tells you to “tone it down” a little, look her straight in the eye and say, “How about you tone it UP a little?”

69. Never apologize for your faith. You’re entitled to your own definition of God. Just promise not to beat people over the head with it.

70. Never apologize for your fundamental values. That’s who you are. At your core. Your personhood. Your foundation. That’d be like a cayenne paper saying sorry for being spicy. Not cool.

71. Never apologize for your happiness. Especially when people get on your case for being in such a good mood. Just smile and hope it rubs off.

72. Never apologize for your natural abilities. Instead, leverage that which comes easy to you in the service of others.

73. Never apologize for your obsessions. As long as your obsessions aren’t hurting others or the world – have at it, hauss.

74. Never apologize for your own sense of beauty. If it touches your heart, ignites your soul or moves your spirit, it’s beautiful. To you. Doesn’t matter if it’s a bald eagle, a song by The Smiths or puddle of mud outside of Bob Evan’s. Beauty is subjective and nobody has the right to take it away from you.

75. Never apologize for passionately going for what you want. Stop kidding yourself about the things that you “need.” It’s all about what you WANT. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting.

76. Never apologize for your pricing. You deserve to be compensated commensurate with your value. State your feel confidently and shut up. He who speaks next, loses.

77. Never apologize for your success. Instead, figure out the lessons attached to your victory path and share them with others.

78. Never apologize for your taste. Guilty pleasures, schmilty pleasures. If you love reading trashy romance novels that use words like “throbbing member” and have Fabio on the cover, go for it.

79. Never apologize for your value. You worked very hard to establish it and you’ll be damned if you’re going to back down now. Stand up, speak up and sell the hell out of it.

What do you refuse to apologize for?

For the list called, “37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

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37 Things You Should Never Apologize For (And Why)

1. Never apologize for acting on your instincts. Listening to your body – then taking action on what you hear – is the hallmark of heroic people.

2. Never apologize for all the tears you’ve cried. Crying cleanses the soul. Shoot for once a month. Even if it’s just a brief mist at a tender moment in a sad movie.

3. Never apologize for anything in your portfolio. If you feel the need to do so, it probably doesn’t belong in your portfolio in the first place.

4. Never apologize for asking for what you need. The answer to every question you DON’T ask is always no.

5. Never apologize for asking questions. When you stop asking questions, you don’t just run out of answers – you run out of hope.

6. Never apologize for asserting yourself. The word “assert” comes from the Latin asserere, which means, “to claim, maintain or affirm.” And that’s exactly what you’re entitled to: Your opinion. Your belief. Your say. Let nobody take it away from you.

7. Never apologize for being a health nut. Next time someone says, “What are you, on a diet or something?” look them straight in the eye and say, “Yeah – you got a problem with that?” Then, when they back down, you go right back to eating your tofu.

8. Never apologize for being a newbie. Everyone great chess master was once a beginner.

9. Never apologize for being early for an appointment. In the history of Corporate America, no employee has ever been fired for consistently arriving ten minutes early to every meeting.

10. Never apologize for being funny. The world is too damn serious. We need you. Seriously.

11. Never apologize for being human. Once you do, you’re no longer human – you’re a cyborg.

12. Never apologize for being passionate. Unless you’re passionate about stabbing strangers with broken Coke bottles.

13. Never apologize for being smart. That’s the ONE thing the government, the media (and every other entity that’s trying to control you) is terrified of: Smart people who take action. Be one of those people.

14. Never apologize for being the age that you are. It’s just a number. “A chicken ain’t nothing but a bird,” as my Grandpa likes to say.

15. Never apologize for breaking a rule that isn’t really a rule. Be proud of yourself for being a rule breaker. Then go break another one.

16. Never apologize for calling bullshit on someone. Especially when nobody else is the room is going to do it and this person REALLY needs to be taken to task.

17. Never apologize for demanding respect. If you’ve demonstrated that you deserve respect by giving it to others first, you’re good to go.

18. Never apologize for disagreeing. Especially if you do so respectfully. On the other hand, if you’re disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing, or because of your pathological need to be right, that’s a different story.

19. Never apologize for expressing yourself. That’s all “leadership” is: The full, free expression of your truth. Don’t say you’re sorry for that.

20. Never apologize for falling in love. Your heart’s calling the shots.

21. Never apologize for falling OUT of love. Your heart’s still calling the shots – even when you throw up an air ball.

22. Never apologize for getting something off your chest. That which you suppress will find a home in your body. And then it will trash the place.

23. Never apologize for giving it your best shot. As my Grandpa also reminds me, “You do the best you can with as many as you can.”

24. Never apologize for growing up privileged. As long as you scrap the entitlement attitude, remain grateful for everything you’ve ever been given and respect the life situation of those who are less fortunate, it’s all good.

25. Never apologize for having an overabundance of love in your life. Instead, circulate what you’ve got. Pay it forward. Share it. People need it. Especially St. Louis Rams fans. God we suck.

26. Never apologize for lack of experience. Instead, share your Learning Plan; demonstrate your dedication to lifelong learning and practice becoming the world’s expert at learning from your experiences.

27. Never apologize for lack of information. Ignorance is acceptable. Staying ignorant, however, is stupid.

28. Never apologize for liking stupid movies. Movie snobs annoy me. Some of my favorite movies are among the most ridiculous films ever made. So I love Road House. Sue me.

29. Never apologize for living your truth. Few things in the world are more important.

30. Never apologize for looking out for yourself. Self-preservation is a primary driver of human behavior. It’s how we’re wired.

31. Never apologize for loving yourself. If you do, you probably don’t love yourself as much as you thought.

32. Never apologize for making a decision from the heart. Remember: It’s not thee truth – it’s YOUR truth.

33. Never apologize for needing alone time. Solitude is soil. Solitude is medicine. And if you don’t get your fix every day, your life will suffer.

34. Never apologize for needing to use the bathroom. Yesterday a girl in my yoga class walked out of the room and actually said to the teacher, “I have to pee, I’m SO sorry.” Unbelievable.

35. Never apologize for not being there when someone called. You have a life, too. People can’t expect you to wait eagerly by the phone all hours of the day.

36. Never apologize for not embracing someone else’s agenda. Especially if that agenda robs you of your true talent.

37. Never apologize for occasional absentmindedness. Everyone’s brain farts.

Next, read Part 2 of this series!

What do you refuse to apologize for?

For the list called, “37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Get the hell out of the house!

You’re an artist.
You work at home.
You’re self-employed.
You have no coworkers.
You attend very few meetings.
You wear your pajamas all day.
Your studio is your spare bedroom.
Your work includes LOTS of solitude.
You have clients, but you mainly interact with them via email or phone.

Well then. A job description like THAT can only mean one thing:

You need to get the HELL out of the house!

See, as a creative professional, getting out of the house and into the world is crucial component to supporting, enriching, inspiring and informing your art. Here’s why:

o You get ideas. From your observations, scannings and experiences. Then they get digested by your creative filter and get excreted onto your canvases. Raw material for your art is literally infinite … as long as you’re willing to step out the front door.

o You share ideas. To test them out. To solicit feedback. You let the world be your editor, adding to or subtracting from your ideas to make them better.

o You round out ideas. The people you interact with and the experiences you have add new dimensions to existing thoughts. After all, art never finishes! And, as your references grow richer and deeper, so does your art.

o You change your scenery. This alters your patterns and routines. And regular “breaking of set” enables you to notice anomalies, experience changes and discern intricacies in the world, all of which fuel your art. And, if DON’T do this, sitting in your living room all day gets real old real soon. All work and no play makes Jackie a dull boy … All work and no play makes Jackie a dull boy … All work and no play makes…

o You become more relatable. Nobody can relate to art created in a vacuum. Especially in terms of research, since Google and YouTube can only teach you so much. See, there must be a spirit of humanness and ordinariness in your art; created by an artist who, himself, is human and ordinary because spends time with OTHER ordinary humans in ordinary places doing ordinary things. Without getting out of the house, you’re just making shit up.

So. Still wanna to sit at your desk in your pajamas all day?

Didn’t think so.

In that case, here’s a sampling of Displacement Environments to test out:

WHERE PEOPLE INTERACT: Yoga classes. Coffee shops. Malls. Churches. Temples. Intramural sports. Public beaches. Dog parks. Crowded cities. Or, a really terrible (yet fascinating) day job, waiting tables, selling furniture or parking cars.

WHERE NATURE FLOURISHES: Botanical Gardens. Zoos. Mountains. Local Farmer’s Markets. Creeks. Lakesides. Or, desolate spaces of solitude in the heart of nature’s beauty.

WHERE ART OOZES: Galleries. Flea markets. The Santa Monica Promenade. Theater districts. Schools (especially elementary). Music stores. Or, studios and workspaces of fellow artists, solo practitioners and Spare Room Tycoons.

The choices are infinite!

No matter where you live and work, Displacement Environments are ALWAYS at your disposal.

So, as you test them out, remember these simple rules:

1. Make sure there are living things around. People. Animals. Plants. Anything. They provide the energy, the light and the life force that fuel your creativity. They also tend to be more interesting than, say, buildings.

2. Go there regularly. Not every day. And not according to an overly regimented schedule. Just commit to returning to a certain places consistently, and a variety of places occasionally. Over time, you’ll make friends, become a regular, notice patterns and start to accumulate a rich mosaic of experiences and references.

3. Immerse yourself. And when you’re there, really BE there. Watching. Listening. Scanning. Observing. Allow the world to enter into your consciousness through your unique filter. After all, the goal IS to support, inform, inspire and enrich your creative practice!

So, whether you’re a writer, painter, consultant – or ANY type of Creative Professional, just remember these seven words:

Get. The. Hell. Out. Of. The. House!

Because REAL art can’t be created in a vacuum.

What informs your art?

For the list called, “10 Best Books on Creativity You’ve Never Heard Of,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Still eating Top Ramen three meals a day?

Bummer. Perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis.

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NametagTV: Outtakes, B-Rolls and PSA’s

Who needs a real job?

Go play a joke on somebody today 😉

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Tired of cold calling?
Bored with traditional prospecting approaches?

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Creativity is about NOTICING

NOTICING … ancillary answers.
Because their unintended, incidental nonchalance might be exactly what you didn’t realize you were looking for.

NOTICING … anomalies.
Because NOT questioning or challenging standard scripts is dangerous.

NOTICING … happy accidents.
Because making mistakes has proven to be a leading cause of creative breakthroughs.

NOTICING … how quickly people understand your idea.
Because if they don’t “get it” right away, they never will.

NOTICING … how people respond to your idea.
Because if everybody loves if, or nobody wants to steal it, or if you continuously get shot down at “Why?” it’s probably not that good of an idea.

NOTICING … internal comments.
Because creativity is about listening to your heart, your gut and your inner voice.

NOTICING … what’s around you.
Because innovation is all around an ideas are just WAITING for you to capture them.

NOTICING … when things don’t work.
Because then your mind can search for solutions.

What do YOU notice in your creativity practice?

For a list called “9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll give you the write stuff!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Want to learn more about pumping up your creative prowess?

Cool! Perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis. Rent Scott’s Brain today!

Writing is the Basis of All Wealth, Part 3

First, you write out a description of your perfect customer.
THAT will enable your Target Marketing Scanner to be on high alert.
Which will filter out the WRONG customers.
Which will make room to attract the RIGHT customers.
Which will enable you to focus your time and efforts on serving a specific niche.
Which will enable you to charge a higher fee, because people demand specialists.
Which will not only increase your bank account, but also earn you the FREEDOM to work according to your own pace and not have to kill yourself all the time.
Which will give you more free time to spend on non-work stuff.
Which will make you really, really happy.

Writing is the basis of all wealth.

Read part one and part two of this series!

What did YOU write today?

For the #1 way to avoid writer’s block, send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll help you unblock yourself!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Want that customer to return with three of his friends?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on NametagTV.com!

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Writing is the Basis of All Wealth, Part 2

1. You start by posting a few dozen articles (better yet, a few HUNDRED articles!) on your website, blog or on www.ezinearticles.com.
2. Thousands of people will read and share them.
3. Which will boost your Google rankings.
4. Which will make YOU the easy-to-find, obvious expert on your niche topic.
5. Which will cause media outlets to contact you for interviews (since Google is how they find their experts.)
6. Then, your media appearances can then be leveraged into your marketing materials, i.e., “Featured on 20/20!” or “Quoted in The Wall Street Journal!
7. Which will boost your credibility.
8. Which will support a higher fee.
9. Which will increase your bank account.

Writing is the basis of all wealth.

Read part one and part three of this series!

What did you write today?

For the #1 way to overcome writer’s thinker’s block, send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll help you unblock yourself!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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