If everybody says you’re nuts, you just might be onto something

Today is day 2,443.

And lately, I’ve been thinking…

My nametag (for some strange reason) has always seemed to invite negative comments, snide remarks, criticism, hatemail, angry people and even a few death threats!

I know. I don’t get it either. I’m trying to make the world friendlier for God’s sake!

That’s why I always remember what Albert Einstein said, “If at first your idea does not sound absurd, there is no hope for it.”

Still, I often wonder what prompts a stranger to react in such a way. Especially in response to an idea that’s clearly positive and friendly.

Ultimately, I’ve learned that when it comes to Haters, it usually says more about THEM than the person they hate.

What about you?

1. Ever had an idea people thought was crazy?
2. Ever been told to “tone down” your true self?
3. Ever felt completed rejected for doing nothing other than being yourself?

It sucks. Trust me, I’ve been there many, many times.

So, the challenge is twofold:

STEP 1: Shaking it off.
STEP 2: Figuring out WHY someone would respond to you in such a negative way.

The first step is easy.

It’s all about ATTITUDE.

You just brush the invisible dust off your shoulder and say what Tony Montana would say in the movie Scarface.


(In your best mobster accent, of course.)

Because anything that kills your enthusiasm is the enemy.

The second step requires a little more work.

It’s all about VALIDITY.

That is, deciding whether or not someone has the right to be so negative towards you.

In my experience, I’ve found seven common reasons why people are negative. NOTE: these don’t just apply to nametags – they apply to ANYBODY trying to make a name for himself.

1. Jealousy. Here’s an odd statistic: 99% of the criticism, hatemail and negative remarks I get for wearing a nametag are from MEN. Isn’t that interesting? Women rarely seem have an issue with it. Maybe because men, as a whole, are more insecure? I’m not sure. But every time I speak to a new group of people, the overwhelming audience response to why MEN are the only ones who respond so negatively is, “Nah, they’re just jealous.” (Ironically, the ONLY people who ever come up and rip my nametag off are WOMEN. Isn’t that weird?)

THINK ABOUT THIS: Why would someone be jealous of you?

2. Ignorance. Criticism always comes to those who stand out. And when humans don’t understand something (or someone), there’s a visceral response. That’s why ignorance creates fear: it’s a natural defense mechanism. People feel threatened and contaminated by something (or some-ONE) that they perceive as “different.” Now, this doesn’t mean ignorance is bad. Whereas stupidity is “not thinking,” ignorance is simply “not knowing.” You duty is to educate people.

THINK ABOUT THIS: What is it about you that people think is “different,” but later learn is actually UNIQUE?

3. Personal stuff. If someone has no parade of his own, he will try to rain on yours. This will make him feel better about himself. REMEMBER: for some people, their only source of getting up is by bringing others down. Don’t let ‘em get to ya.

THINK ABOUT THIS: Next time someone seems to have a MAJOR issue with something minor, ask him, “Why is this so important to you?”

4. Mirroring. In my favorite book, The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield explains, “When people see others living their authentic lives, it drives them crazy because they’re not living their own.” Yes, the world truly is a mirror. And often times, people simply project their own issues onto you.

THINK ABOUT THIS: Is this person’s criticism unjustifiable?

5. Losers. Seriously, if you have enough time in your day to go to someone’s website, get his email address, then send him a two-page letter telling them what a loser he is for wearing a nametag, you have WAY too much time on your hands. Besides, if I’m such a loser, and my idea is so dumb, then why did I make an entire career out of it? And why are you on my website anyway? Seems a little contradictory, if you ask me.

THINK ABOUT THIS: Is it possible that some people are, in fact, losers?

6. Fear. Some people are just too afraid to be themselves and venture out on their own. They know they can’t make it, so by sabotaging you, they selfishly fulfill the premise of, “If I can have it, nobody should!” Their goal is to use their doubts to reactivate your own, all for the sake of THEIR comfort, not yours.

THINK ABOUT THIS: When you work your butt off and become successful, people will be intimidated by your work ethic. Don’t sweat it. Don’t ever accept someone saying, “You’re making me look bad.” (Here is the complete list of 100 people not to listen to.)

7. Jerks. Some people are just mean to everybody. Period.

THINK ABOUT THIS: At least you’re nice!

NOTE: I am not suggesting you ignore all criticism.

Criticism is healthy. Finding out where you suck is a MUST if you want to make a name for yourself.

But don’t just sit there and take it like a punching bag.

Brush it off initially.
Validate it intelligently.
Act upon it appropriately.

And next time a Hater tries to bring you down, remember what my favorite author Julia Cameron says:

o In the history of the world, no statue has ever been set up in honor of a critic.
o A critic is a someone who knows the way but can’t drive the car
o When people are afraid of being artistically diminished themselves, they may never be able to do anything but diminish you.

After all, if everybody says you’re NUTS, you just might be onto something.

Why do YOU think people respond so negatively to others?

Share your reasons here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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It’s like being back in college again

Thanks to Ye Olde Google Alerts, I stumbled across an article written by Matt Sussman discussing tomorrow’s NCAA showdown between Oregon and Miami of Ohio (my alma matter).

I wont quote the whole article, but I about laughed myself out of my desk chair when I read this section:

For a school stowed away in Southeast Ohio’s armpit, Miami sure has a lot of famous graduates: Woody Hayes, Weeb Eubank, Paul Brown, Ara Parseghian, Ben Roethlisberger, Ron Harper and Charlie Liebrandt

Not listed, but should be, is author Scott Ginsberg, known as “The Nametag Guy.” He claims to have worn a nametag 24/7 for the last six years. (Most. Awkward. Sex. Ever.) He claims that the nametag not only gives him a profound level of approachability and confidence, but it keeps the evil pirate ghosts from invading his mantra and selling his soul for rum. Ginsberg is clearly a glaring omission on the list of notable MU alum. If only there were some way I could add his name to that Wikipedia list.


But it gets better…

Read the comments on the article and hear a few of my old college friends chime in, a classic bit of hatemail, AND, my comment back to the guy who sent hatemail.

Special thanks to Suss for the link love.


Who’s the most famous person from your college?

Tell us all about ’em!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Adventures in Nametagging: Minneapolis Style

Little did I know that I would be doing staff training at the Minneapolis Hyatt one week after this happened:
Man Falls From 17th Floor at Minneapolis Hotel, Survives

According to the article, a Wisconsin man in town for a dart tournament apparently was goofing around Saturday morning at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency when he crashed through a window and fell 16 stories.

The man, identified in a police report as 29-year-old Joshua S. Hanson, of Blair, Wis., landed on a roof overhang near the hotel’s main entrance along Nicollet Mall. His most serious injury was a broken leg.

This picture shows the glass from the window, and if you look closely, a wood panel covering the hole in the roof. Wow!

So, other than the obvious looming of such a miracle around the hotel, the training sessions went excellent. Great group of staff at this hotel. Several of the third shift employees told stories about how they dealt with the incident.

They handled it like pros.

Is that the luckiest dart player in the world, or what?

Post a story here about your most memorable hotel incident.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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NametagTV: The Never Ending Nametag

Do you always come prepared?

Do not try this at home!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Do you want to be That Guy?

Find out how TOMORROW with the release of Scott’s forthcoming third book!

Check out www.hellomynameisscott.com for all the juicy details!

The World is a Mirror, Part 5


Sometimes I still can’t believe it. How wearing a little nametag for one day evolved into all of this.

Well, ok. I do believe it. I guess if I didn’t believe, none of this would have happened. But still, some days I just look at my nametag in the mirror, start laughing and think, “Man! This is crazy!”

But that’s the beautiful thing about an idea: its evolution. And I think the moment you come up with your own great idea is the moment you also begin to develop a greater appreciation for idea evolution as a whole; hence the title of this essay series.

GREAT EXAMPLE: A few months ago I watched a documentary about the making of Fraggle Rock, one of my favorite childhood TV shows. In this special DVD edition, Jim Henson narrated a behind-the-scenes look at the making of his beloved children’s program.

All throughout the documentary, Henson kept making references to a small insert that came with the DVD box. I eventually grabbed the case and found a small booklet labeled, “Jim Henson’s Sketchbook.”

I opened it and saw dozens of scribblings; original drawings and blueprint ideas from Jim Henson’s vision for an underground colony of joyful creatures called “Fraggles,” who loved to sing and dance. He even made a little note that “these creatures would bring peace and joy to children around the world.”

Sooooo cool. Actual brainstorms from one of one the world’s most creative minds! I devoured the sketchbook all night.

Stuff like that is fascinating to me. I guess I just like ideas. I like to marvel at the way they evolve from nothing to something. In fact, one of the many definitions of creativity is “to make something out of nothing.” And I think that’s a great way for people to learn: to follow the path of an idea from the cradle to the grave.

Speaking of, I recently stumbled across my original “Nametag Notebook” from my junior year of college. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten all about it! And although it wasn’t as interesting or valuable as Jim Henson’s sketchbook, last month I took some time to read through it…

I plopped down in a comfortable chair (Carmel Apple Cider in hand) and took a trip down Memory Lane. Er, wait, maybe it was Nametag Manor. Whatever. It was a road. Anyway, here’s what I found.

During that first year of nametagging, I jotted down observations of group reactions to wearing a nametag, individual stories and encounters, comments made about my nametag, even the names of new friends I made while wearing the nametag! The pages oozed with experiences and encounters with strangers and friends alike. I even sketched out a diagram of the chest placement of my nametag to prove that left vs. right didn’t matter; and that vertical placement was more important.

And check this out. The most interesting entry of all was towards the back. I found a near-blank page with the following note written in large, block letters in the center:


It was dated April 25, 2001.

Before I started writing books on the word.
Before I started giving speeches on the word.
Before I built a business around the word!

Sooooo cool.

That’s evolution: the growth, expansion, development, progress and transformation that makes something out of nothing. It’s a beautiful thing.

I encourage you to take some time today to think about one of the coolest, most successful ideas you ever had. For work, for life, for anything! Consider its origins. Ponder its evolution. See how far it’s come.

You’ll probably end up marveling to yourself, “Man! This is crazy!”


What’s your favorite idea evolution example?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Do you want to be That Guy?

Find out how in 26 days with the release of Scott’s forthcoming third book!

Check out www.hellomynameisscott.com for all the juicy details!

How my nametag almost got me kicked out of a wedding

First of all, I didn’t know it was a black tie wedding. I guess those things happen when you don’t read the invitation carefully. Or at all. Woops.

Secondly, I arrived 2 hours late. (Thanks a lot, alarm clock that never went off at the Best Western Garden Inn in Santa Rosa, CA.)

Anyway, when I arrived I noticed that all the men were wearing tuxes. Damn it. Hope nobody minds that I’m wearing a measly old suit!

And I really didn’t think anyone would care. But ever since Wedding Crashers came out, I suppose families are on the look-out for inconsistent guests who don’t seem to fit in.

(That’s me!)

So, I think it was the late arrival plus the suit/nametag combination that did it.

After the service, I strolled around the reception area. I felt a tug on my left shoulder. With my mouth stuffed full of mini pizzas, I turned to an intimidating man in his mid-fifties wearing a beautiful black tux and a big scowl on his face.

“Excuse me, sir, but do you know this is a private party?”

I swallowed quickly. “Um, yeah…?”

“So, were you actually invited to this wedding?” he probed.

Who is this guy? What the heck is he talking about?!

“Well, I’ve known the groom for like, 17 years,” I defended.

He glanced down at my nametag as a smile slowly replaced his angry stare.

“Oh wait, yeah! I know you. You’re Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy! Gosh I’m so sorry about that. Please forgive me…

…I’m the father of the bride.”


Have you ever seen a real Wedding Crasher?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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