Do What You Can’t

You might have heard this sentence from Casey Neistat’s Samsung video with the same name. As a creator the message directly touched me. I think his story is completely true and that this mindset should be used by more creators. Unfortunately, some people may not feel as touched by these kind of videos. Perhaps they haven’t been able to do as “extraordinary things” such as travelling the globe or jumping off a plane with a GoPro on their head, and therefore devalue their contribution. But it’s not all these “extreme” things that has gained Casey millions of subscribers. It’s his never-ending creativity, hard work, determination and positivity. In this article I will discuss some essential behaviours that make you live a life in line with the philosophy: “do what you can’t“. 

Work with the mind

  • Belief : This is the most essential element to do what you can’t. Without belief in what you do you will lack motivation and you might never achieve your goals.
  • Start : As soon as you have the belief that you can do “what you can’t”, you have to start. To start is always the hardest. Especially since we often have a tendency to doubt and compare ourselves to those considered as the most successful in the field. To start by saying that everything has already been done and to question what you could possibly bring fresh to the table, has already made you loose and most likely abandon the idea.
  • Patience : To do what you can’t you need to be patient. Never stop producing and you will continuously improve your skills and work. You can never make amazing content overnight. It’s a long process as you often have to try multiple ideas before you find “THE STORY” that will change everything. It will come sooner or later. The more productive you are, the greater the chances to find the most brilliant idea.
  • Live in the present: My approach to deal with patience is to focus on life day-by-day. As soon as I start worrying too much about any end-goal, I feel like I have failed because I am not yet there. If instead I focus on the present I can more clearly see how I am making progress. The same way of thinking applies for the past. Once a creation is finished, move on to the next one and don’t get stuck in “past success”. To rely on past creations will not only make you lazy and less productive, but it will also hinder your development.

“Work hard and don’t give up hope.” Tena Desae

To do is to act!

  • Essentialism : If you concentrate on the essential task of what you need to do to accomplish what you can’t, you are already on your way to success. Keep your focus! In Elin ‘s latest article, she refers a lot to the book on essentialism we both loved by Greg McKeown. To create and to not waste time you have to explore your options. By careful exploration you will eliminate the non-essential and focus on what’s really important to reach your goal.

Unfortunately you cannot do everything. For example, to go out for party every weekend and wake up with hangovers will not boost your productivity. I don’t say that you cannot see your friends, but be wise in your decision of when and how much you see them. Creative success requires hard work and prioritisation.

Ask yourself what is the most important: Be out dancing on Friday and Saturday and sleep in on Sunday? Or spend some extra time working on your projects that can bring you closer to your dream goal. It’s not only a question of prioritisation but also of balance. A good balance keeps you more focused and thereby productive. If it ends with a question of whether to be with friends or not – your true friends will understand and support you in your pursuits. And the ones who won’t… Perhaps you have to go through some principles of essentialism as you evaluate the truthfulness of the friendship.

In the end, if you focus on what’s essential instead of trying to do everything on a middle-level effort – you have increased your chances of success a million times!


“Learn beyond your direct field” 

Learn : To always be curious and willing to learn new things, is another mindset that will enable you to do what you can’t. To have a talent is fantastic. But to learn and have several skills that can make you excel in your talent is even better. For example, if you want to be a creator you will need people to see your creations. Thus you must learn and adopt different media and communication strategies to spread your works online. Or if you want to open an art-store you must also learn how to manage your shop. The examples are applicable for any type of work.

Learn beyond your direct field, both things that are useful but also things that you just find interesting. Or even better – something you may find difficult and perhaps boring as a result. If you dive into it you will most likely enjoy it in the end. Furthermore, the more knowledge you have, the more creativity will flow!

  • Surf the wave : As soon as you are in the right mindset, you have published some creations and your friends begin to see, share and appreciate you work you are on the right wave. The wave may be small at first, but if you don’t fall off your board it will take you to even bigger ones. Life is fragile and short. It’s up to you to make the most of it and to do your best. If you ask Casey and me that means to do what society tells us we can’t.


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