An atmosphere in which people can feel like complete human beings

How to unlabel yourself

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Each of us are raised with labels and terminology and a system for interpreting the world.

And that’s a good thing. Labels have a profound utilitarian purpose. They make it faster to classify and understand what’s going on around us. They create mental shortcuts that give us a handle by which to hold people.

Which is certainly a lot easier than the messy discomfort that often arises out of relating to an actual human being.

The challenge is, the act of labeling diminishes people’s capacity fulfill their potential. It tends to focus on weaknesses and deficiencies, rather than talents and gifts.

This reminds me of something my pastor friend once wrote:

Labels meant to establish helpful boundaries often turn into walls that frame prisons. And in constructing inflexibly hard and defining boxes into which people are shackle, the breath of life cannot be exhaled.

Take it from a guy who’s been wearing a nametag twenty four seven for the past seventeen years. I launched this social experiment when I was in college because I had grown exhausted with society’s labeling system.

That’s when I decided to beat people to the identity punch.

And so, I labeled myself first. I started wearing a nametag all day, everyday, and haven’t taken it off since. Because I wanted the world to know that I was a real person with feelings and dreams and flaws and ideas.

Six thousand days later, here’s what I’ve learned.

Every human being is somewhere on the journey to self understanding. Each of us has our own story. Which means, no theory about us is true. No category into which the world places us is a comprehensive picture of our unique experience.

And so, when we interact with each other, we accept the fact that we don’t really know what’s going on with the other person. We embrace the mystery and move forward with curiosity and wonder, radiating a spirit of care and attention. And we give people the tremendous gift of being seen and having the validity of their experience mirrored back to them.

Dante’s famous words, ogni parte ad ogni parte splende, say it perfectly.

Each part is emitting its radiance to each other part.

If we keep our ears open, our mouths shut and our label makers holstered, we have a real shot at connecting.

How are you creating an atmosphere in which people can feel like complete human beings?

For 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!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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The Nametag Guy in action here!

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