The Secret of the 57

Jake Kahana
May 4, 2018 · 2 min read

If you’ve ever been to a diner with a ketchup lover, you know the secret of the 57.

Order a plate of fries and when that old glass Heinz bottle arrives, there’s only one thing to do. It’s not to just shake and shake it. Or stick a knife in it. Or leave it upside down.

Never going to come out like that.

All you have to do is flip it over and hit the 57 on the side. Like magic, the thick ketchup magically unsticks itself from the side and flows.

There’s a secret to getting unstuck.

Our creative brains work like that.

At Caveday, we tell people to sit with their problem and the task at hand. We do that because we know the secret of getting great things unstuck– do the work.

It sounds stupidly simple: do. the. work.

If you’re a writer and get stuck, write. If you’re a painter and get stuck, paint. If you’re a filmmaker and get stuck, shoot. But! Know that what you’re about to make is going to be bad. You just need to get some of the juices flowing and the good stuff will come.

Doing the work is hitting the 57.

You are an artist. You are a writer or painter or filmmaker or whatever you are. And your art is doing that thing. So? Do it. You’re not always working with a full bottle – things don’t always flow so easily so fast. But the secret of the 57 in the life of an artist is just to do the work.

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Ideas and stories to improve your relationship to work

Jake Kahana

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Artist and teacher helping people thrive in a distracting world by leading them in unlearning. Cofounder of and US faculty at



Ideas and stories to improve your relationship to work