YouTube legend Casey Neistat falls somewhere between prodigy and workaholic, but there’s a method to his madness.
If you follow his VLOG–like 7 million other people around the globe–you know he’s not afraid to dig deep and dive into the unknown.
These are just a few of the things we can learn from the iconic Casey Neistat:
“Free time is the enemy of progress.”
Casey’s schedule stays pretty jam-packed. Whether he’s flying to speak at a conference in Amsterdam, working late on a project for Samsung, or riding his Boosted Board to a meeting across town, he’s always on the move.
“Look back at your life. It’s always the hardest times that made you who you are.”
While he was still in high school, Casey ended up getting his girlfriend pregnant and dropping out of school to support her. Despite these hard times, he worked his butt off to become the father, husband and creative he is today.
“If you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re doing it wrong.”
There’s no one out there making films quite like Casey Neistat (unless they’re straight-up copying him) so be who you are, make what you enjoy, and avoid making more of the same. That’s just noise.
“The most dangerous thing you can do in life is play it safe.”
As a kid, we’re all taught to play it safe. Choosing to max out his credit cards to buy his first camera probably wasn’t a good idea but it worked. Figure out what risks you can afford to take and start living a little less comfortably in order to succeed.
“You either act on ideas or you set them free. You don’t dwell on ideas.”
Back in college, everyone in the creative field seemed to be holding on to their "one big idea." In reality, this simply doesn’t work. If you’re going to be creative professionally or even launch a business, act now or set it free.
“More often than not, I find myself in situations where I have no idea what I’m doing and I feel no shame in revealing that.”
They always say that if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your next project or business, then you launched too late. There’s nothing wrong with being uncomfortable and it’s quite necessary to stand out and make waves.
“Story is king. Everything else is slave to story.”
This quote, or something similar, is likely up somewhere in the halls of the Pixar building. It doesn’t really matter what else is happening or how big the special effects may be (ahem, Michael Bay), story is truly king.
“I have a rule: Ignore praise, embrace criticism. I never seek a compliment. It’s generally a Dead End.”
This goes back to that scene at the end of Whiplash where J.K. Simmons' character is talking about the failures behind the phrase, “Good Job.” Find the people who embrace your work and let them pick it to shreds. The goal is improvement.
“Some day I won’t be able to do this. The right time is now.”
Casey likely thought this when the doctor told him he wouldn’t be able to run anymore after a motorcycle accident. This is true for everyone. Don’t wait until it’s too late and wonder what if…
“Ideas are highly, highly overvalued. Execution is all that matters.”
There might be some contradiction here, but the point is to take action. Casey spoke about sitting around for two years after his HBO show came out. He was waiting for the next thing to come to him. Get out there and get it. Do it every damn day.