Five lessons from Sam Bennett's Get It Done

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 8:12pm - Atlanta

I read Sam Bennett’s Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius last May when I really needed a kick in the pants to release some of the backlog of content I had accumulated over the preceding semester. Here are some of the key takeaways I took from it:

  • Procrastination is pressure that’s relieved by action: “The pain caused by procrastination reminds you that your projects are important to you… Breaking your project down into manageable, bite-size bits makes it something you can actually do, as opposed to leaving it a big, overwhelming, untouchable vision that leaves you stuck… As much as procrastination hurts your heart, moving forward - even just a little, tiny bit - makes your heart sing.”

  • Pursuing perfection stops pursuing good: “The best lessons are going to come from your actually diving in and making your own mistakes and compassionately analyzing your successes and your failures… If you put enough good work out into the world, maybe someday someone will be researching you.”

  • Deadlines inspire action: “There is beauty and magic to deadlines… they set our wheels spinning and they let us know when we’re slacking off. Nothing gets anything done until the last minute. Now, the ‘last minute’ is earlier for some people than it is for others… but for those people the pressure of their internal clock makes ‘early’ or ‘on time’ feel like ‘late.’”

  • There’s no cap on success: “There is no shortage of success in the world. They didn’t get your success. They got their success. So bless them and dismiss them and bring that attention back to you… We look inside ourselves and all we see are the seed. You must trust that your seeds, with proper tending, will grow and flourish and serve to impress and inspire… You don’t know how another artist works and slaves and worries and gives up and starts again - all you see are the results.”

  • Fear signals greatness is on the horizon: “I’ve noticed that the more daring the creative area, the more vicious and violent those critical inner voices can become. So over time, I’ve learned that the louder and meaner the voices in my head are, the greater the probability that I’ve just had a really great idea… The voices in your head are trying to keep you safe. They don’t want you to make yourself vulnerable. They try to scare you into in action by telling you that no one will care about your work is that people will judge you harshly. But art is about making yourself vulnerable… The world needs you art.”


Here are some other recommendations from around the internet: 

An announcement: I’ll be reacting to the Pokemon Direct live on Twitch tomorrow (Jan 9) at 9:30am ET/6:30am PT/2:30pm GMT. The replay will be posted to my YouTube channel soon after the event ends.

Watch this: You’re insane if you don’t want to work at Pixar after watching this time-lapse of a day in the life of the studio.

Read this: The New York Times’Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura reports on Seke, an endangered language from Nepal’s Mustang region that has one-fourteenth of its speakers hailing from one Brooklyn apartment building.

Watch this: I love absolutely everything about Oscar Enestad’s performance from last year’s Melodifestivalen, Sweden’s national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Tweet of the day: Just watch and enjoy.

Listen to this: Kotori & Synthion have an epic remix of Madeon’s All My Friends that bangs in every sense of the word.

That’s all for now, see you Friday.

A first timer's impression of the Apple Watch

Sunday, January 5, 2020 4:07pm - Atlanta 

The Apple Watch Series 3 Nike+ edition has been mine for just under a month now, so I figured now is as good a time as any to discuss how I feel about using it on a daily basis. 

Let me start with the basics: this is a 44mm Series 3 in space gray that shipped with the Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band. Primarily, I’ve used it for notifications, music controls, and fitness tracking. It’s excelled at all three with flying colors. Effortlessly having notifications appear on my Watch and being able to act on it or dismiss it in an instant has helped me be immensely more efficient.

Being able to control music playback and add songs from Beats 1 while out and about without having to resort to pulling out my phone is also really really nice and I’m sure my parents appreciate me being more present on navigating the city streets of Atlanta.

However, all of that pales in comparison to the almost sorcery that is my Apple Watch being able to unlock my MacBook Pro just by being near it. It makes the usually 15-20 second process of inputting my password (I have the 2017 non-Touch Bar version) take somewhere in the neighborhood of five seconds. Frankly, that’s worth the $229 asking price on its own.


Okay, now that this is out of the way, let me recommend some more stuff:

Twitter account of the day: I was watching Kinda Funny’s Internet Explorerz earlier today and they stumbled on this GOLDMINE of an account featuring some good ol’ internet fails. Have a laugh (or two or three)

Listen to this: I launched a new playlist on Apple Music called Off Air that is designed to help you wind down and to help me process some depressive thoughts I was feeling last night.

Watch this: This new video just posted on my channel, chronicling the first part of my Walt Disney World trip last September over at EPCOT.

Quote of the day: 

“Expect great things, and great things will come.”

- Norman Vincent Peale

That’s all for now, see you Wednesday.

Cracks

Thursday, January 2, 2020 4:04pm - Atlanta

My iPhone XR took a fall a couple weeks ago while I was at my day job from about the height of my pant pocket (I’m just over six feet tall). I didn’t think too much of it until I noticed a small crack on the upper left corner of my phone’s tempered glass screen protector.

Thankfully, the screen itself is fine but nevertheless there’s a small blemish on my otherwise mint condition product RED iPhone. I haven’t gotten around to replacing it frankly because I can’t bring myself to make the $10 purchase of shame for more screen protectors and honestly it’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Yet I’ve spent the last 115 words blabbing about it. The small stuff isn’t worth sweating over. 


It’s been a while since I’ve done this but let me recommend some stuff to you.

Watch this: I’ve been OBSESSED with Veronicas Illusion’s The Wrong Kind from the 2016 Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, Denmark’s national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Good luck getting this one out of your head.

Listen to this: If you subscribe to Apple Music and like that, you might want to give me a follow for my monthly playlists cataloging some of the best tunes I find every month updated constantly. 

Watch this: Season 3 of Alexa & Katie is streaming now on Netflix. It’s a godsend that I can’t recommend highly enough if you’re looking for a feel-good family comedy that tackles a lot of modern teen issues in our society. 

Crazy stat of the day: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest dominated ratings on Tuesday night, headlined by performances from BTS and Post Malone, according to Deadline

“Part 1 of the special earned a 1.9 in the adults 18-49 demographic as 7.29 million viewers donned their novelty 2020 glasses to watch the special. This led into the second part, which skyrocketed to a 3.2 rating as 10.73 million viewers counted down the final minutes of 2019…”

Quote of the day: Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer Jennifer Lee on finding new talent and exploring different animation techniques (shoutout to @Animated_Antic for finding this) to Deadline:

“I think the main thing for us is growing as storytellers, expanding on the legacy, and supporting the legacy, in ways that are timeless and then timely, and that’s always a juggle. But other initiatives for us are, we want to tell the stories of the world, but the people of the world. We want to be creating partnerships and opportunities for a diversity of filmmakers. We say this and mean this: Talent is universal; access is not. So, we work really hard to grow talent from within, and make sure we’re spotting it right - that we’re using all the tools to do that, and then finding new talent to join us. Disney+ is a great opportunity for us, growing.

“You know, Walt’s big thing was always that you can’t rest on your laurels. You have to keep changing and pushing yourself creativity, trying things you’ve never tried before and being fearless, and I want to make sure we keep doing that. It’s scary taking risks. There’s no reliable formula, but at the same time, we are a studio [where] all 800 of us stay together, film after film. We push each other; we challenge each other. It’s a very unique experience. I feel very lucky. But I also know those things are how we’re going to keep being worthy of being Walt Disney Animation Studios, which means a lot to us.”

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

2020: The year of consistency

Wednesday, January 1, 2020 4:18pm - Atlanta

Hello and welcome to 2020! This is the second special edition of Reflections this week, and is meant to complement yesterday’s recap of 2019. You don’t necessarily need to read that email/post before this one, but it could help to provide some context on my goals for the year ahead.

I’m just going to structure this by talking through each of my five goals so let’s just jump right into it.

Launch print line, Patreon for wallpaper downloads

This is more of a relaunch than a fresh launch but I want to make my Patreon more meaningful as well as launch products that people (hopefully) want to purchase. In the past, I’ve tried offering early access to content but that didn’t set the world on fire (and frankly I never figured out the workflow to consistently make content with time to post it on Patreon for early access. 

I also find myself posting hundreds of photos to Instagram (I posted 675 times last year) and they just sit on my hard drive after being dumped onto Facebook’s servers. I’d like to think that they can have a second life beyond the Instagram feed to move onto your devices and your homes eventually. 

This is probably going to launch closer to the summer as there’s a lot of prep work to do in terms of preparing photos for Patreon and figuring out how I want to manage the print line both with my archive and with new images that I will inevitably shoot in 2020 and beyond.

Content

I’m going to combine these next two because they go hand in hand with each other and frankly one is so self-explanatory that there really isn’t much of an explanation to provide beyond just stating it: continuing to grow my audience. I don’t believe in hyperfixating on the numbers to put a hard numerical figure on it, but continuing to grow is obviously important to continuing to build a career around creating awesome content.

The second goal is similarly simple but there are a few more moving parts to it. I want to have something new released every weekday between YouTube, Andijack Music, andrewokwuosah.com, or just an edition of Reflections on a particularly busy day. Roberto Blake, one of the main influences on the strategy and business aspects of crafting this career, preaches the benefits of showing up for your community every day. As I mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, I tend to take long hiatuses from releasing content on YouTube and on Andijack Music when life gets in the way or I lose momentum. I do tend to show up on Twitter and Instagram on a daily basis though despite everything. 

My goal here is to build the habit of working on content in advance during school breaks so I can get ahead and have some content prepped so I can focus on making incremental progress while I am in school, removing the pressure of having to finish something every day to meet a deadline.

Speaking of content, I have a lot of plans for the year. YouTube content will focus on capturing experiences, starting with my Disney trip last September as a mini series with weekly episodes starting January 6 and moving into my Lagos trip last August along with so many videos that I filmed last semester and am bound to film over the course of the year. Expect new videos on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9am ET.

Probe will continue to spotlight new albums with a new album mix every Thursday starting January 9 at 9am ET everywhere you find Andijack Music.

Discography Season 1 featuring UK artist bLiNd will continue on Tuesdays starting January 14 at 9am ET running for eight weeks before taking a short siesta before Season 2. Who will be spotlighted on Season 2? Nobody knows… (Seriously, I’m open to suggestions.) 

Heavy Rotation will continue to air new episodes on Fridays recapping all of the new music you need to know about from the week along with previews from both Probe and Discography. Episodes will honestly release whenever I finish them on Fridays. It could be 9am ET or 11:59pm ET. Who knows? Subscribe to Andijack Music on your favorite place to listen to podcasts and it’ll be on your device the moment it’s released. New this year are seasonal special episodes that I’ll be releasing on select Saturdays throughout the year. These include the traditional Spring Break and Labor Day Weekend mixes along with some new experimental content that I’ll announce closer to their release.

And then there’s Reflections. This is a very new thing so I won’t rehash too much. Basically, this newsletter will come into your inbox every weekday evening…. Hopefully, you subscribe to get it into your inbox. Please subscribe. Please.

Personal habits

The last two habits are more personal so I’m grouping them into this bucket.

I want to read for pleasure every day this year. Last year, I read a measly three books last year according to Goodreads. This is extremely depressing to me considering that I love books. Ask anyone that’s ever had to ring up my order at Barnes & Noble (or my parents telling me not to take dozens of books back to their shelves). Overall, I hope to complete 15 books this year but rebuilding the habit is a lot more important to me.

Lastly, I want to get to and maintain inbox zero for my personal sanity. I’m currently sitting at 1,382 emails in my inbox as of this writing and I hope to get it to a point where I can go through my emails once a day and be done with it to maintain inbox zero. It would be nice to go to bed knowing that I have a clean mind and a clean inbox.

Wow, what a long read. If you’re still here, thank you for making it this far. Reflections will be back in its normal format tomorrow.

2019: a recap

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 8:45pm - Atlanta

This is a special edition of Reflections reflecting on the year that was 2019. 

I end this year in a much better place mentally than I was starting it with a newfound appreciation for the many friends I have and the experiences they’ve caused me to have over the last year.  None of the anxieties I deal with have gone away, I’ve just learned how to be more vulnerable and express when I feel them.

Now, let’s talk about my content. On YouTube, I’ve been slacking honestly. Videos take a lot more post production than a lot of the other content I produce especially when I’m juggling school and navigating the creative blocks that come with them. That inevitably leads to a stockpile of videos sitting on my hard drive waiting to be edited and released. Well, those will begin to be released in 2020 starting with vlogs from my September Disney trip next week.

I’m so so proud of Andijack Music this year. Heavy Rotation spun off to form two additional shows: Probe and Discography, both of which supplement Heavy Rotation to better showcase the music that soundtracks our lives. The shows also moved over to a gracious new home at Anchor, which helps to get the shows out to nearly a dozen platforms around the world. 

And then there’s this newsletter. Reflections might only be a couple weeks old but it’s an important part of my future heading into 2020 as the commentary pieces that I was making as For Your Consideration, The Vision Zero Diaries, and just my Twitter feed move to a written format here in Reflections and on andrewokwuosah.com

Miraculous Can Unite is still kicking extremely strongly and ends the year with over a hundred subscribers to its name and nearly 10,000 Twitter followers and friends that I’m so glad to have to fan out over the show with alongside Abby, Duncan, Serena, Alex, and Katie. 

Under the hood, I did in fact make the jump to an entirely 4K recording setup between Santa Lucia and my several month old Sony a6400. That Sony camera sparked my biggest ever year on Instagram with over 600 posts (and that’s just the ones I ended up posting) from destinations around the world from Atlanta to Hampton Roads to Lagos and Huntsville. I already have a few trips lined up for 2020 so I’m really excited to see what opportunities they create.

To wrap things up, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who I’ve had a conversation, snapped a photo with, done something extremely stupid, or otherwise lived life with you this year, I’m extremely grateful to do life with you. 2020 is going to be an amazing year and I can’t wait to get started. Tomorrow’s Reflections will be me dishing out my goals for the next 365 days and we’ll settle back into our usual format on Thursday.

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