A river reaches places its source never knows.
Over the past twenty years, thousands of people from around the world have reached out to tell me that my nametag experiment has been featured as a case study in their business book, college course, company newsletters, training seminar, student project, trivia archive, teaching resource or documentary film.
My personal favorite was when my seminude picture wound up on one of those media roundups of the worst tattoos of all time, and a producer from a reality show called to see if I wanted to be a contestant on an upcoming episode of Tattoo Nightmares, a show about chronicling the horror stories behind people’s unfortunate tattoos and their attempts to fix them.
You couldn’t make this stuff up if you wanted to.
But this experience, call it a moment of exemplarity, has become a constant for over half of my life now. And every time it happens, that little dancing smile of satisfaction still comes across my face.
Because what an absolute privilege to be an example for something meaningful. What a delight to know that something as simple and absurd as wearing a nametag everyday could actually have a broader impact beyond just getting weird looks on the subway.
In a noisy world where everyone is trying to do something worth noticing, remembering, sharing, spreading, it’s quite a relief to already have that box checked.
And interestingly enough, my aspirations for wearing a nametag were never even that ambitious.
I just wanted to make friends and meet girls.
But as my mentor once warned me, a river reaches places its source never knows.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What will you do that emanates out like ripples and laps onto the shores of the world?