18 Lessons I’ve learned from binge watching Casey Neistat’s videos.

Casey Neistat is a professional storyteller and filmmaker with over 6 Million subscribers on YouTube

He seems like an ordinary guy narrating something about his life. I wondered, “What is it about this guy that makes millions on YouTube subscribe to him?”

The next thing I did was to look up Wikipedia about him. I learned that he used to be a dishwasher in a restaurant for 5 years. Later, he rose to fame making a video about Apple Ipod’s irreplaceable battery lasting only 18 months.

Ever since then, I began taking a keen interest in the guy and started binge watching his videos on YouTube.

After watching almost all his videos, these are the lessons I’ve learned:

1. Always keep yourself busy and motivated.

“Free time is the enemy of progress.”

If you have a lot of free time, you’ll not make the best use of it. You could build a city with all your free time if you don’t while away your time, sitting around being bored.

Furthermore, always keep a backlog list of things you have to do so that just in case you have a free moment, you can go back to that and complete it.

It’s not that we have a short time to live but that we waste a lot of it- Ryan Holiday.

2. Be a maverick.

“In life, you have two options- you can do your own thing and stand out or do what everyone else is doing and fit in.”

Most often you’re trying to fit into the rules created by someone no smarter than you or me. So if you’re always conforming to the opinions, labels and rules of the society, you can never make an impact.

I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to do what everyone else is doing.

3. Live to express, not to impress.

One of the striking features of his videos is that he never goes out his way to impress the viewers. In fact, he’s very disappointed with modern social media. Instead of representing a digital version of who we are, we display a false sense of identity. Furthermore, Casey Neistat even started “BeMe”- a social media app which forces you to share content without any edits.

Quit trying to look “perfect”.

Although it makes yourself vulnerable, you’ll allow people the permission to trust you. And THAT is hard to earn. He doesn’t waste time touching things up to look cool or better. The man loves to be himself, which is also the reason so many of us love him.

4. Find your purpose- without a goal, you can’t score.

In life you should always be doing either of the two things:

  1. Figuring out what you’re most passionate about- what do you want to be doing every day for the rest of your life.
  2. And realizing those dreams and doing that for the rest of your life

If you don’t know where the goal post is, how do you know where to kick the ball.

What am I doing and what do I WANT to be doing? This is the lighthouse you should follow through the darkness and uncertainty.

5.It’s easier to steer a moving car than a static one.

As long as you’re doing something, you’ll become good at what you do and finally find what you love. Keep the momentum and continue to persevere. But never be idle doing nothing.

The Tarzan method is a brilliant illustration of the expectation-reality dichotomy in reaching your goals in life.

6. Sometimes, the best way to find what you love is to do what you hate.

Although it seems like an anomaly, the best way to realize what you love is to understand and eliminate what you hate doing. Also if you find yourself a nice cushy job, before you know it, you’ll have these ‘golden handcuffs’. You have mortgages and if you get married, you’ll have family limitations that prevent you from pursuing your passion.

Do what you hate long enough and you’ll find yourself wishing and obsessed about what you COULD be doing instead. Let the loathing and disgust build up and you’ll finally find something you CAN’T NOT DO. It builds up the drive and motivation for you to discover exactly what you HAVE to do in life — your purpose.

7. Always seek to challenge yourself.

Comfort zones breed complacency. And complacency breeds stagnation. Develop a mindset that loves challenges. Always keep your goals a little bit out of your reach so that you have to stretch yourself as much as possible to achieve them. And in the process, you’ll become the best version of yourself.

Setting out to do something that seems hard and impossible is what brings the best out of you.

8. Be humble. Don’t be snobbish.

Realize that just because you’re famous or successful doesn’t make you entitled to disrespect those who aren’t. Stay humble and keep it simple. Always take the time to greet and smile at people — life’s not a zero-sum game.

9. Eliminate the negative people out of your life.

Always surround yourself with people who motivate, inspire and encourage you to become a better person. Cut the discouraging, judgemental and mean people that suck out your energy and try to bring you down.

Only then can you find it easier to spot the people that inspire and bring positivity into your life.

Your best friends are the ones who bring the best out of you.

10. Work and family are crucial.

Your work and family are going to occupy a large part of your life. If you can figure out work and family, you’ll most likely have a satisfied and fulfilled life.

And the best relationships and career take time and hard work. But if you invest your time in them, they’re absolutely worth it.


11. Focus on the essentials; everything else is secondary.

Content is the key, your camera gear, deep visual effects and exciting editing skills don’t matter.

What actually matters is how captivating and compelling the story you’re telling is. What are you trying to convey and what impact are you making. Do it right and you can hit Jackpot.

Furthermore, if you’ve noticed, he writes stuff on a paper to show it to the audience instead of editing it into the video.


12. Don’t give a sh*t about what anyone else thinks of you.

There will always be someone who will not like you. And it’s not your problem to worry about pleasing everyone along the way. Try pleasing everyone and you’ll end up disappointing them all. Stop trying to control how you want to be seen and you’ll save a lot of creative energy improving yourself.

The greatest challenge in life is to remain unaffected by what others might perceive about you. Not giving a sh*t about what other people think is one of the greatest accomplishments of life.

13.Don’t love things more than yourself.

Casey has tattoos all over his body and writes stuff on everything he has. He owns them; personalizes them. Underlying that practice is the philosophy that nothing material is too precious.

Casey’s personalized worn-out looking glasses

We’re taught since childhood to maintain things neatly. But life gets so hassle-free once we eliminate the constant need for caring about material goods. Things are things, keep it that way. Don’t overvalue them. If you’ve bought a new Mac, don’t worry about preserving it pristine forever. Nothing is forever. It doesn’t mean we ought to be careless. We just need to stop overvaluing them.

14. Leave things to the imagination of the audience.

Casey narrates so much in a pretty short interval. His editing cuts sharp which later came to be known as “The Super Cut”. He doesn’t shoot the entire journey, only the glimpses, allowing space for the audience to fill it with their imagination. He narrates a story instead of giving a speech, which makes it less boring and interesting.

16. The biggest risk in life is not taking any risk at all.

Your life shrinks or expands in direct proportion to your willingness to assume Risk.

Identify risk, identify fear and smash right through it. Because fear is- looking back and regretting the things you wish you had been doing.

The most dangerous thing you can do in your career, the most dangerous thing you can do in life is to play it safe.

17. Just execute and never complain.

A complainer is a person who generally makes excuses and doesn’t take responsibility for their own actions.

If you don’t like something, do something about it. Don’t bitch about it and complain. Furthermore, When Casey Neistat found that Apple iPod’s irreplaceable batteries last only 18 months, he made a video that got viral. It reached Apple after which it changed their warranty program.

Focus on change, not complaining.

18. Make it count.

The time is now. The right time is always now.

Make the regret list on your death-bed as short as possible. Also, there is this limited amount of time you have on this earth and we’re all ending up at the same finish line. Make the best use of it.

You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough