How to better yourself

It’s not easy: How to better yourself in 2016

Casey Neistat Tom SachsI’ve been following The Neistat Brothers for years. Since their HBO days – and before 4k video and all sorts of automatic filters and easy video editing. In case you want a reminder – check this link.

But in recent weeks, we’ve delved into their history a bit. Casey Neistat is now a prolific and popular “YouTuber,” who has over 2 million subscribers and on average a million views per (daily) video.

That translates into a grand a day for most people – more likely double that for him since he’s reached “superstar” status. You might have seen the blizzard snow-boarding video. That’s great for him!

And as you might suspect, people want to “glom” off this success. Not always in a bad way, but it’s clear that Casey is influential, and people like this girl Sara Dietschy published “how to Casey Neistat a vlog” – by basically mimicking an already demonstrated method. A fairly good job, but frankly, completely unoriginal.

They say not much is “original” these days – as most “new” things are typically “mashups” of previous iterations. In that case, it was essentially a carbon copy, with a few (mildly humorous) changes. But that is the nature of the beast, I surmise. Incremental changes over time eventually become something entirely different, right?

Roots – what influenced people like the Neistat Brothers?

tom sachsA simple day of exploring the videos publicly available – plus a little observational intuition, you’ll realize that these Neistat “Bros,” had a major influence from a gentleman named Tom Sachs.

Tom Sachs is an artist in NYC. A truly unique artist without a doubt – and quite successful. But what sets him apart is his prolific methodologies.

He “employs” about 10 interns to help out around the studio. Both Casey Neistat and his brother Van Neistat were under his direction over a decade ago. Those Neistat brothers are phenomenal filmmakers. Without a shadow of a doubt!

And as you get to know how Tom Sachs is wired – you can see the stunningly profound influence he has on not just the Neistat brothers, but probably everyone who has the privilege of getting that opportunity – and not blowing it.

Persistence, order, discipline, and more

bruce lee persistenceI don’t know Tom Sachs. An observant person would think “someone is the way they are” because of early childhood influence. My guess is that Tom’s parents (along with friends and other family members) somehow shaped who he is today. And who he is – is an amazingly unique and regimented individual.

His “order” in his workspace (as well as work ethic) is unparalleled. Sure, you can say it’s a bit extreme – but it teaches proficiency and efficiency. And he seems to get the “Bruce Lee” mentality of persistence (repetitive reinforcement) to become an “expert” at your trade.

That is what I find fascinating – as well as inspirational. Having order in your life is profoundly beneficial both short and long-term. And he’s willing to share his knowledge!

Yes, while having an almost overly-disciplined way of living might very well be “unforgiving,” (hence the “penalty” for screwing up), I believe it has more “pros” than “cons.”

Because once you get the “cons” out of your way, being an expert at whatever you choose to do just paves the way to more opportunity and growth in the future.

But the major key in all of this is – that if you “view between the lines,” you can find golden nuggets about how to improve your own life. How to do things more efficiently. Sad that the lack of common sense has almost required “back to basics” type instruction like this – but it is what it is these days. If you don’t get inspired to “clean up” whatever organizational mess you have in your life today after watching these clips – then you will likely need additional motivation. Oh well.

I highly recommend you watch a few of these videos below. Grab a bottle of wine, or whatever you like to imbibe. I’ll explain why these are worthy of your time beneath the sub-headings. Enjoy, and you’re welcome!

First: 10 Bullets

10 Bullets is a video Van Neistat made about his mentor Tom Sachs in NYC. It’s based on a book a previous student wrote about the “Code” of Mr. Sachs’ studio.

Sure, almost anyone can take a position that it is on the “weird” side. But, it’s not. It’s a man’s PRIVATE studio – and he can establish whatever “rules” he wants for said workspace.

But the video, thanks to Mr. Neitsat’s expertise – is engaging, compelling and addictive. If you don’t get any inspiration from this whatsoever – then you’re either perfect as God wanted – or totally oblivious to life.

Love Letter to Plywood

This is one of my favorites.

We’ve gotten into woodworking a lot over the past few years (as much as space permits). I’ve built desks, work benches, and bookshelves all by hand. I absolutely love it. My creations!

Tom Sachs is a big fan of Plywood – and he demonstrates the reasons why this is a fantastic invention by mankind.


Lastly – I could have picked a few others (Like the boat race between Van and Tom), but this was more important. It’s called COLOR.

In COLOR – the “basics” of what kind of colors are used at the studio are outlined. In addition – the different finishes are explained – for both their pros and cons.

Anyone delving into painting their home or apartment would benefit greatly from this video production. Thank you Tom Sachs!

In closing: Why mentors and internships are still valuable

This brings up a very important point. “On the job” training and skills are still of massive importance. Why having “expert” mentors is gold. Never brush that aside!

“Back in the day,” that is how knowledge was transferred. Through physical, real world experience. Not just looking at videos of other people. Learning from someone who went through the tribulations the hard way can save you.

Trial and error. Learning from mistakes. Muscle memory. Repetition and perseverance. Wouldn’t you want an expert by your side?

Today? Everyone wants an instant answer. Screw the “physical” expert. We have Google!

What would happen if that “database” of solutions went away? You’d be left to your own devices and experience. Which is why it’s more important than ever today to build that natural database up as much as you can. You can choose to hone in on a specific trade to vault yourself to the top – or learn many, and be “the Jack of all trades.” A win either way.

Mimicking and copying still has some merit – but using your brain has much more.

Final Note: Does how you are “wired” play a role?

I discussed this subject with some people as I was penning it – and one viewpoint stood out to me. “We’re all wired differently, and not everyone can be organized, etc.”

That resonated with me. I sort of want to believe that it is the flaw of the human that some folks are neat and orderly – while others are scattered, yet more creative.

After thinking about it for a while – I concluded that there is absolutely no downside for being organized and meticulous about your life. Ignoring that aspect with a “viable excuse” is a bit short on merit. There are nothing but “upsides” when it comes to efficiency and organization. About the only valid argument I could come up with for the “creative,” yet “scatter-brained” individual was that they “wasted less time being organized.”

But that is a bit of a contradictory statement. Because they don’t factor in the time they waste looking for things they need (as a result of their messy lifestyle…)

Either way, it’s always up to the individual which route they take in life. Grabbing the (unorganized) Bull by the Horns might very well prove to be fruitful for most if not every person that chooses to take that path.

Have a nice day!

How to better yourself Casey Neistat

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