If one thing was clear from meeting Gary Vaynerchuk and Casey Neistat, it was that these two do not let other people's opinions dictate the pursuit of their dreams.
Vaynerchuk, an awe-inspiring entrepreneur.
Casey, a kick-ass movie maker with a purpose.
Both are violently disrupting the status quo.
Across Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, these two combined have just under 7 million followers — 6,895,232 to be precise. If Gary and Casey’s following were a country, it would be bigger than the populations of Paraguay, Ireland, New Zealand or El Salvador — to name but a few.
Both men are so admired because they are aggressively pursuing the paths that matter to them, not ones they were told by others to take. Despite having entirely different backgrounds, they both talked extensively about two things: the art of listening to yourself and the hustle required to be successful.
Rejection is Everywhere: Listen to Yourself, Not the Haters
Casey dies by this mantra. Although he may look like another overnight sensation who was always destined for the top, his story says otherwise. After realizing that he had spent years playing the politics of the film industry, Neistat wanted to start making content that he loved.
The world thought it was a dumb move, and his Hollywood agent tried desperately hard to convince him against the decision.
After all, how many award-winning filmmakers turn around and give a middle finger to the system? The answer: next to none. That is exactly what makes Neistat so unique: he could not care less about what anyone else thinks of his dreams, they are his. And yet, today we are often susceptible to quitting our pursuits prematurely because we live in such fear of what others might think.
Overnight Success: There is No Such Thing
Moreover, the rapid sexualization of entrepreneurship - “Hey, let’s wake up tomorrow and build the next Facebook” - combined with this fear of judgement has meant that today, we rarely talk about the critical role that self-belief and hustle play in creating both successful people and companies.
We have become addicted to this idea that success is recognized and celebrated from day one. It might be easy to think that Neistat was an overnight sensation the second he decided to turn away from Hollywood and make internet videos, but the reality could not be more different.
“After a couple of months, I had five or six videos up with a few thousand views. I had a show on HBO at the same time, yet my kids’ friends from high school had more views than I did.”
The beautiful part about Neistat’s story is that the lack of initial success did not deter him, nor did it make him pay any more attention to what everyone else thought. If anything, it only gave him greater resolve to keep plugging away. The proof is most certainly in the pudding, too. Today, Casey has nearly 4 million subscribers on YouTube alone with the total views on all his videos fast approaching the 1 billion mark.
Who needs a Hollywood agent?
The Hustle From the Best is Often Invisible
However, for both Gary Vee and Casey self-belief and resilience is only half of the equation. Without an obsessive work ethic, they both remarked that is tough to get anywhere regardless of talent. Now, this is often hard for the world to believe because we often only see the success, rather than the hours of grind behind it. The hustle has become invisible, just ask MJ.
Vaynerchuk’s documentation of the undocumented art of hustle resonates with so many across the globe because Gary is not selling the sexy dream world of entrepreneurship: he is talking about stark reality. Nobody wakes up one day with an idea and suddenly makes millions of dollars.