A few weeks ago I got to have a telephone call with YouTuber Casey Neistat. I asked him how he seems to always capture such great audio — often in very difficult environments. His response was “nothing happens by accident”. He was alluding to the amount of effort he puts into creating what appears to be effortless output.
I reckon the real secret to Casey’s success is his obsessiveness (in a good way) and his perseverance. It seems that whatever he sets out to do he’ll grind away at that activity raggedly until he’s an expert at.
My buddy Jason asked him how it feels to have taught at MIT and have kids (and adults) being taught about him. His response: “All I can do is focus on achieving things in the present”. This answer really resonated with me. As a former endurance athlete, there were many occasions where I felt like giving up during gruelling mountain races.
Focusing on the next rock or tree, your breathing, pace and literally where you’re going to next put your foot down is definitely the secret to winning races. Forget about the finish line, the pressure of the expected results from yourself and others. Instead just focus on the next immediate step your going to have to take. One foot in front of the other. This strategy is as valid in business as it is in athletics.
How can we all learn to be a bit more Casey? In his own words: “Do more”. Get up a little earlier, go for a run during lunch, eat better. Seek out and exploit every opportunity to learn more. Most importantly, stay focused by concentrating on the task in front of you. Don’t let interference take over your head. Block out all thoughts that aren’t relevant to successfully achieving the task in front of you. Persevere and execute.