04
Sep

review-plini-nick-johnston-the-roxy-in-los-angeles-82917
 Review: Plini / Nick Johnston @ The Roxy in Los Angeles 8/29/17

I’m back!

I moved to L.A. because of my love of music, so of course I already went to my first concert. There was no way in hell that I would miss the chance to see Plini and Nick Johnston live at The Roxy on the Sunset Strip.

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Before I permanently left New Jersey I made a point to buy every album that Nick and Plini have ever put out. You know – just in case my finances got hit during this move. I have my priorities straight.

Another band that I bought everything from before moving here was Animals as Leaders – more on that later.

I won’t be detailing the set list because I’m not google. I’m here to talk about what it was like to actually go to this show.

Mike Dawes:

I got there later than I wanted to and so my biggest regret is that I missed Mike Dawes who happened to perform at this particular show. This guy is amazing. Just look at this shit:

He reminds me a bit of Jon Gomm but has a completely unique point of view that makes you feel like your face just got stampeded sideways by a metric ton of bears or something. I can’t explain it. Watch the video because wow, guys. I am going to be following his work and getting his album. I’m definitely going to be in the audience at the next show of his that I can get to.

Nick Johnston:

I arrived right when Nick Johnston went on. Holy shit, guys.

The thing about Nick’s work is that his phrasing and melodic composition is always strong, but his most recent album, Remarkably Human is his best work to date. He has Gavin Harrison on drums and Bryan Beller on bass for the album but they aren’t touring with him.

Remarkably Human really transcends way past the combo bonus of it’s parts. I think that a key to this is because of (I think it was) co-producer Scott Giffin’s addition of the piano into the mix which REALLY compliments Nick’s melodies. The reason why is that it’s unexpected. I’d have NEVER thought a piano would add much to an instrumental guitar album, but it does. It creates such an appropriate atmosphere without sacrificing Nick’s impact or authenticity.

The live show is just as good if not better than the album.

You can imagine how happy I was when Bryan Beller actually came out as a surprise guest for 2 of my favorite songs. He’s one of my favorite bassists because his style is extremely expressive and just petulantly joyful. He’s able to hold together any song no matter how chaotic and combative the rest of the composition is, yet somehow still makes space to play around. He handles the job but maybe will tie your ear dick to a flaming T-Rex when you aren’t looking is basically what I mean.

Plini:

Plini’s work is, in my opinion, the type of music that can grab your central nervous system and rewrite its programming faster than a kick to the ladysack. He’s able to tell stories with sound that transport you elsewhere in unconventional ways that adhere to your spine. The sounds he chooses to work with and how they are put together are a bit different than the usual. I’d argue he sorta created his own genre. His work tends to feel like it transfixes you into the world it lives in. It’s uniquely calming and powerful, which is a hard balance to achieve. I really enjoyed Handmade Cities.

I was not sure how that would translate live.

Spoiler: It worked. Very well.

Not only did the live execution of the songs work, but I thought it was a nice touch to have the audience do the vocal part at the end of Every Piece Matters:

But that wasn’t all. Jake Howsam Lowe from The Helix Nebula was the second guitarist.

I’ve been following Jake’s work for a while now ever since I heard his solo on ibuiltthesky’s The Sky is Not the Limit album on YouTube, which I also bought. (Notice a pattern?)

I recall listening to it being like “Ok this is simple ok…whoa wait…FUCK SHIT FUCK WHAT GOD HOLY. SHIT.” Jake can just drive you anywhere with his work and you may or may not want to go but you’ll go either way. Because Hell Yes.

I needed to take a second to calm down after he punted me out of the 36th floor of a skyscraper with that one.

This show was amazing! Holy shit, you guys. Apparently everyone in Los Angeles came out on this night – even Javier Reyes from Animals as Leaders and Brendon Small were there.

You can imagine how I nearly shat out the window and vomited out of my eyeballs when Tosin Abasi and from Animals as Leaders came out at the end to jam.

I had been totally gutted awhile back when I couldn’t make it to see Animals as Leaders live because I was preparing to exit New Jersey. I’ve been following AAL ever since I discovered Tempting Time on YouTube awhile back. What is that? 5/4? 19/16? 23/16? ALL OF THEM?

I’m dead:

I’m going with, “All of them.” Tosin is one of those guitarists that just makes you want to practice. A lot. And then some more.

After a major life change, Los Angeles just reached out and made it clear to me that it was going to welcome me. This is where I belong. This is where the music that I like lives. I’m free to study and become the musician I always wanted to become without reproach. It’s all up to me now.

I stayed up until almost 3AM drinking in the Rainbow room in some bizarre alternate universe with, like, 80% of the musicians I listen to and who inspire me to study to be the best guitarist and vocalist that I can be. I met so many cool people and they even saw fit to let me backstage where I basically just talked about dicks and butts a lot. (The usual. You know. I keep it real so no one gets confused.)

The next day I practiced for hours after I woke up wondering if this was actually real life or was this like some bizarre dream that ends in a David Hasselhoff parody comprised of chipmunks like the last dream I had.

Answer: I did not see the Hoff so I guess it was real.

The only thing that I have left to say is: Yes, they are all phenomenal live and they are super sweet guys. The Plini / Nick Johnston tour may be the best tour of the year. You should not miss this one. The Los Angeles show was something super special way beyond what anyone could have imagined. When I left for L.A. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with this blog. But I know now that it’s time to refocus myself here onto what has always been the most important thing in my life ever since 5 year old me heard Van Halen, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden for the first time.

Music.

I have so much to share with you about my new life and adventures in SoCal. Just you wait until I get back from running PotterVerse. :)

SEE THIS TOUR!



Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Rock Music, Metal Music, and Marketing. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

Hang out with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/onezumi
Instagram: http://instagram.com/theonezumi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onezumi

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12
Jun

real-talk-should-i-let-my-kid-go-to-art-music-school-or-should-i-force-them-to-study-something-else
 REAL TALK: Should I let my kid go to art / music school or should I force them to study something else?

“Should I let my kid go to art / music school or should I force them to study something else?”

I get asked this question probably once a week – minimum.

Some background for those of you just joining us: I do a lot of shit. During the day I am a VP level Project / Product Manager responsible for a long list of art and technology things that you probably use. For example, if you’ve ever used an iPhone, you’ve used something I’ve designed and deployed.

After I go home for the day I start my second shift as Showrunner of (Re)Generation Who: Baltimore’s Doctor Who Convention and PotterVerse: Baltimore’s Harry Potter Convention.

Then I do my third shift, which is seriously studying to be a musician.

I’ve worked professionally in the arts, marketing, finance, mobile telecom, and pharma – all at blisteringly high levels because I don’t know any other way to work. I also professionally wrote and drew a comic for 10 years and worked in animation. One of the big things that I do is I ensure that my events have programs within them that elevate the arts and encourage kids and adults to pursue their Thing.

It’s my Why.

If I didn’t feel strongly about this I’d be using my second shift time to sleep or eat or something. I would probably have bought a house by now.

At my core, I am a performance artist and musician. Always have been.

For example, this is the most “me” that’s ever been captured in a photo. The only thing missing is my guitar:

Exhibit A: Wonder Woman

This is an important element so that you understand what I am going to write next.

Parents come to me for advice when their kids want to study art or music. Some are terrified. Others want me to tell their kid it’s a bad idea. I don’t have a BFA. I have a BA. I didn’t go to art or music school.

I will not tell your kid that it’s a bad idea to study the arts. Sorry. I’ll give your kid real advice that’s based in the actual world. They should be studying both. Why?

Creative Jobs:

Today’s CREATIVE climate is one such that all of us creatives have to be everything. For my comic, I wrote, drew, evangelized sponsors, created social media campaigns, handled my finances, did outreach, and pretty much everything else myself. Same for my events. If you are doing a creative project, you will have to be every department in your own company. Period.

We are all octopi.

We have to be in order to succeed. If you want to be an artist or musician and you suck at Marketing there’s a pretty high chance you are going to fail and not even know why. I am not the best at anything. I’m just really good at some things and Beast Mode Level in Marketing.

You can be the best and still no one will care if you don’t know how to market and manage yourself. Success is still not guaranteed and MONEY is required to make money. So make sure you can do something else to generate funding. Kickstarter and Patreon are a tiny fraction of the guaranteed money I can pull down from a consulting gig. Because I was good at other things, I’m able to support myself and wisely invest in my education and projects such that I can do what I want.

Cubicle Jobs:

Today’s BUSINESS climate is equally competitive. Why do you think I went from being so broke I couldn’t afford shampoo to where I am today? It’s because I did creative projects after work which gave me the expertise and training that NO COMPANY will give you today. I am VP level and in that entire journey I have never had a company try to nurture my skills. I did that myself because I knew that if I just sat in a cubicle I’d be like that guy in Office Space whining about his red stapler for the rest of my life.

Or worse yet – pretty much every job I’ve had had laid off all of us every 6 months to 2 years. If you are a cubicle jockey, that is just as tough in today’s world. How will you stand out? I stand out because of everything you see on my bio page, and ALL of that was because of the arts. I get raises where others don’t because of my creative capabilities.

The biggest mistake you can do as a parent is to squash your kid’s desires.

Childhood is supposed to be about experimentation. That’s when you have the TIME to DO IT. I work in a field that has literally nothing to do with my BA from Rutgers University. I could have majored in Butt Science and I’d still be where I am because of who I am and the natural drive that I have.

Them: “That’s a strange Butt Science Degree you have there, young lady.”

Me: “But I can manage any project and make you $$$ unlike anyone else. Google what I did on the internet.”

Them:
“Hot, damn! Here’s a cash money!”

Today people judge you by what you can do and have done – not by what is written on a piece of paper. I don’t even posses a Project Management certification (PMP) and I make more money than many of the people I know who have that. Why?

Track record of exceeding expectations.

I was at vacation in Disney World one year at the same time a PMP Conference was there. That was a moment of clarity for me when I realized that I basically bypassed that due to achievement and was going to the Magic Kingdom while they were stuck in some dry meetings for the day.

But back on the main topic –

Do you think I have the time in my 30s now to study music seriously? Not really. I give up sleep and a social life to do it because I need to do it or I’ll slowly die. There’s been a hole directly in my chest since I was 5 years old when I first heard Van Halen and Iron Maiden that told me I should be playing music but with no money or support I was stuck sitting in my room hoping that I could afford a guitar when I got older.

Today I am making up for lost time and I am at a terrible disadvantage because I wasn’t given the freedom to experiment as much as I needed as a kid. I didn’t let go of the anger about this until I was 28.

The hole is still there. It’s still trying to kill me unless I play music. This is who I am. People trying to direct me into other careers meant well, but ultimately caused a pretty severe disservice to my development.

My advice is to always nurture interests, no matter how impractical they may seem. In my experience, those things tend to propel whatever you end up doing forward because the default position in life is to be a sack of flesh eating a Lean Cuisine in a cubicle that’s dripping water from the ceiling while Judy in Accounting is explaining the color of her baby’s poop to you.

Anything different won’t be necessarily accepted. I’ve never been a woman who “fit in”. The key is – if you leverage it properly you’ll out perform and out earn everyone else and it’s all because of the arts.

We dismiss the impact of the arts and we are jackasses for doing so:

America’s dismissal of the arts in general has created a lot of boring people who can’t think their way out of a paper bag. It’s basically a slave class of workers that companies use as flesh cogs in a disposable and replaceable machine. There is no longevity at any company anymore. My longest corporate gig was 2 years before yet another merger had us all on unemployment due to no fault of our own.

Let your kids experiment. Let them be themselves. You can’t stamp it out no matter how hard you try. My devotion to music is a perfect example of that. Experimentation is the key to finding out who you really are. I worked in animation for Disney and found that it wasn’t my dream just like I worked in comics and discovered the same. The key thing is that I got to try it and got it out of my system so that I knew what WAS my dream and could focus on that. I should have been able to figure this out when I was 20, but I didn’t have the exposure to it that I needed to make that decision.

Sorry, but it’s highly unlikely that anyone knows what they are doing at age 18. Technology changes so fast now that it’s kinda impossible. My job didn’t even exist when I was in college.

Tell your kids to study the arts, but also make sure the school they go to prepares them to market themselves such that they can manage things and support themselves no matter what happens in the future. Failing that, make sure that they can study the arts on their own time because nobody needs a diploma to play music or draw things. They just need enough of whatever it is that they need (usually exposure to concepts, support, and industry knowledge) to prepare them for the future.

The biggest stupidity I’ve ever seen is how America separates the arts from academics. Rutgers University actually prevented me from taking creative classes since I was enrolled in their main school. Some creative schools really fail at preparing their students for the real world octopi approach and produce proficient creatives that have no idea how to get and hold down a job.

You can and should do both because both of these things are critical to survival in today’s real world. Discouraging someone from pursuing an interest is about as stupid as trying to hold your coffee cup with your buttcrack.

It never works and just causes inflammation that results in lost sleep and a lower quality of life in their 30s when they finally have the money to buy a guitar and a few lessons.

Click here to join my mailing list to be alerted when I release my upcoming book and other creative projects.



Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Rock Music, Metal Music, and Marketing. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

Hang out with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/onezumi
Instagram: http://instagram.com/theonezumi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onezumi

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16
Feb

life-with-eyes-you-can-see-every-person-who-is-trying-to-look-at-your-ass-which-you-never-realized-before
 Life with eyes = you can see every person who is trying to look at your ass which you never realized before

Yeah. I didn’t expect the last 2 years to be mostly me fixing all of the broken things on my body that I had to just ignore for most of my life. I am not sure you could pay me enough money to go through this again. I’ve been talking about this for awhile but this isn’t something you just get over quickly. I’m so happy that I am almost TOTALLY done!

I now have sight – and a lot of other things I’ve gotten fixed before, during, and after that debacle. Now I’m almost done with physical therapy. I’m stronger than I have ever been but I am still processing all of this. I work so much that I haven’t been outside all that much so I haven’t encountered absolutely everything in life post eye surgery yet. My last gig was so awesome that they let me work from home so I wouldn’t die in a car accident while recovering.

You start to go a bit nuts when you have to stay indoors for long periods of time and heal – and it’s not like you can stop working if you are in my position. During all of this I still delivered that amazing quality I’m known for. It’s actually EASIER to work now.

But I still get confused occasionally and I am still wrestling with how insane it is to get sight for the first time in your 30s.

Completely new relationship with the world. Having eyesight kind of feels like being a low level psychic. It’s easier to discover who the shitheads are.

I can now read facial expressions and can tell if someone is asking me how I’m doing and really wants to know or is just asking that to take up conversation time.

Understand the law of attraction

Imagine being an alien and landing on planet earth for the first time. That’s maybe (sort of) a description of what this is like.

I’m not joking, guys. Something “better” can freak you out if you aren’t used to it. And you know what? It’s weird for my family and friends too – many of them try to help me “too much”. For example, Harknell keeps forgetting that I no longer need a “Seeing-Eye Husband” and sometimes goes back into the formation we’d walk in when I was blind – until I gently nudge him out of my way. :)

I love that almost no one realized that we had a defined system for moving me around. It had 3 parts:

1. He’d walk in front of me and I’d track to his shoulder.

2. I’d hold my phone and he or an assistant would text me or whisper into my ear who a person was so I could walk up and say hello seamlessly. It was like I was an airplane with air traffic control.

3. I’d use my iPhone to photograph and zoom things so I could see them.

Any sort of change – even a positive one – opens the door opens to fear – to questioning what’s real and what isn’t.

Also you can see every person who is trying to look at your ass which you never realized before. @_@;;

What I thought the world was before my surgeries wasn’t true. The world is actually easier to live in than what I thought it would be. I struggle daily with the idea that I spent my entire life thinking things were a certain way but it wasn’t. I can seamlessly drive anywhere now.

I’m still processing it and I plan to go outside and experience as much as possible to get used to Life After Sight. And I do apologize that I am not posting anything super deep today, but I wanted to share one thing with you.

The older I get the more I realize that life is a weird cycle of gains and loss tied to if you are a positive or negative person. If you are positive, you’ll attract positive people and things to you. If you are negative – the reverse. The biggest thing to remember is that everything is temporary, everything changes, and the only thing that matters is that you keep going and seek out positive things because it’s the incremental contributions that add up to amazing things.



Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Rock Music, Metal Music, and Marketing. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

Hang out with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/onezumi
Instagram: http://instagram.com/theonezumi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onezumi

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27
Jan

real-talk-qa-negative-thoughts-how-to-silence-negative-thinking-about-yourself-events-and-life
 REAL TALK Q&A: Negative Thoughts: How to silence negative thinking about yourself, events, and life

The me of 15 years ago and the me of today would probably not be friends.

I used to be a highly negative person. For those of you who have met me in person this is probably a pretty big shock. My reputation today is that I can stay calm and polite in even the most stressful situations. My staff has in the past pulled me aside after a particularly rough situation and asks me how I didn’t blow up. Here is the answer. Today I’m going to talk about negative attitudes, where they come from, what happens when you are negative, and how I stopped being negative.

In 2010 I chose to put together a system to reprogram my brain’s default to be positive instead of negative. I gave it a duration of 3 years. A test. If my forced attitude change didn’t work to show improvement in my life by 2013 I’d drop it and try something else.

I am a huge fan of looking at myself as a social experiment.

How To destroy negative thoughts


I automatically assume I am a stupid asshole that needs to be observed and directed by my own self. This is how I’ve permanently broken behavioral patterns that weren’t serving me. I simply refused to become attached to myself and these patterns in the first place.

Not only did it work – it’s the main reason I’ve been so successful.

Understanding Negativity:

First let’s talk about what creates a negative perspective so that we can understand how to undo it.

Our perspective gets defined when we are young. Trauma and lack of support from parents, family, and/or school are some of the common things that can create a negative perspective. If we are set up to fail over and over again we expect to fail. If we keep experiencing trauma after trauma, we expect more trauma.

For example, if you wanted to be a musician and your parents simply told you that you may as well not try because it’s impossible and stupid they have set up a negative expectation. Maybe it won’t work, but starting a pattern of giving up before you start is incredibly damaging to a person’s life and ability to succeed and innovate. This can easily become the lens with which you view the world if you don’t take action to override it. These comments and experiences slowly filter through every aspect of your life until you expect everything to not work, give up before you try, and become a self-fulfilling prophecy that repeats over and over again.

The result is that the fictional parents in this example may have felt they were protecting their kid but instead prevented them from entering into a thought pattern that would have led to good behaviors that equal success – whether they literally become a musician, a corporate manager, or both. Our interests are varied pathways to many ideas and experiences. The worst thing we can do is shut down an interest in another person.

Fixing negative thoughts

How to Fix it:

The good news and the bad news is that the world generally responds to what you think and what you believe. The solution is simple but also probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do: You have to change “fuck this” to “Hell yeah!”.

My internal voice used to be a doppelganger for the TV version of Tara from True Blood:

This is maybe funny on TV but it’s not cool in real life. This is definitely not the type of behavior that gets anyone to advance in life. It only attracts more negativity to you and then the cycle returns and then you maybe die alone and no one cares.

There were some years where my brain would act like this but my mouth would speak in a more kind way. It was jarring. It was like my body knew what to do but my brain didn’t want to let go of the lens that trauma had created for me. I call it my nightbird because when I name a sonofabitch that means I can take control of it and own it.

I forced my nightbird to shut up with one simple step: Every time my brain would default to a negative statement – even if that was justified – I’d think of a positive statement related to the same situation immediately. Eventually my nightbird let go and defaulted to the positive programming.

If someone was driving stupid in front of me instead of saying “fn slow asshole!” I’d say, “This person may have been having a bad day. I’m glad they are able to go out and get their errands done.”

If someone pushed through me in a store instead of thinking that they should f off, I changed it to “that wasn’t personal – they are probably in a rush. I love their hair color!”

Even if someone is highly aggressive toward me I try to understand the pain they must have that is generating it and meet it with kindness and a kind thought.

This seems like some hallmark card bullshit but it’s actually just as difficult to change as it is important to change. If you want your life to be positive you have to act positive first. There are no exceptions to this. No one wants to set up their picnic blanket next to the biggest pile of dogshit. The only way I’ve found that works is to make it a practice to:

1. Don’t judge yourself. Understand where you are and what you need to change. Judging yourself leads to depression and weakens your ability to fix the issue.

2. When you emote something negative – IMMEDIATELY emote a positive in the same way. Make it a game. Cancel out your negatives with positive.

3. After enough repetition, this will become your true nature and you will have opened up the door to success and a better life. It works. I am your proof.

You are not where you are. You are how far you’ve come. Keep going and keep it Real.

<3 Oni



Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Rock Music, Metal Music, and Marketing. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

Hang out with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/onezumi
Instagram: http://instagram.com/theonezumi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onezumi

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11
Jan

real-talk-qa-wednesday-how-to-set-goals-you-can-actually-reach-or-why-your-new-years-resolution-doesnt-work-and-how-to-fix-it
 REAL TALK Q&A WEDNESDAY: How to set goals you can actually reach OR why your New Year’s Resolution doesn’t work and how to fix it

Submit your question for a future Q&A Wednesday by emailing me via the top bar on this site.

If you have trouble setting and sticking to goals this Real Talk Q&A Wednesday is for you.

I never do New Year’s Resolutions. Since I am a business owner in charge of 3 events plus my freelance career as a marketing consultant who needs to set and exceed goals in order to be employed– this often surprises people. The real deal is that I set goals every day/week/month/year as an overall life practice so it makes New Year’s Resolutions a moot point.

New Year’s Resolutions are mostly marketing. I should know because I am a marketer. It’s great to sell people gym memberships and $65 planners but as far as sustainability and success the positive outcome tends to be low for many people. There’s nothing wrong with gym memberships and $65 planners, but if you give up in 2 weeks you’ve wasted your time and money. I’m going to tell you how you can set goals and win.

The most important thing to understand is why most New Year’s Resolutions fail.

You fail to reach your goals because you fail to understand how the human mind works when you are setting them.

Oh man, that’s a problem. But guess what? Every problem is an opportunity.

How to set goals & use problems as opportunities

I am ALWAYS telling my staff this because it’s the truth. I’ve achieved to where I am solely because I was able to take negatives about my situation, personality, and behavior and then transmogrify them into positives.

transmogrify your "bad" behavior and you'll always win.

In my case, I have the ability to hyper focus on 1 thing. It can be a big problem because the house could be burning down and I’ll still not want to get up to stop what I am doing. I figured out how to trick myself to turn this on and off. Similarly the problems I face in life, every time I’ve solved it something better came along later.

So let’s ignore the problems for now and talk about strategy. Let’s use the problem of not understanding how the human brain works to actually understand it and use it.

Here is an example: If you wanted to lose weight and your normal diet was to eat a lot of crap food and drink a gallon of soda every day you might be tempted to say, “Next week I am going to immediately stop consuming bad food and I’ll only eat lean protein and vegetables from now on!”

No, dude. You are probably gonna fail.

The person that does not fail in this example is an exception that probably makes up a tiny percent of the population (major congrats to them). People don’t like change. In my MMA and bodybuilding days every January the gym would be flooded with people incorrectly using the machines and by the end of January the gym would just be the regulars again. Did those people suck? No! They just set themselves up for failure by not understanding how the human mind works.

MAke your New Year's Resolution work - Super Mario style?

When you set goals you can’t slam your butt immediately down the Super Mario chomp chomp of life and expect to win.

People exist on various vibrational levels and none of them are bad – just different. To move from your starting level to a higher vibrational level is like jumping from Canada to Texas or becoming an Olympic athlete in 1 week. You just can’t do it. The distance is too wide.

Unrealistic Pressure:

The idea of a New Year’s Resolution puts a lot of communal pressure on people to “get it right”. All eyes are on you. Everyone is doing it. Peer pressure! But guess what? When we make mistakes our brains want to give up and go back to what we used to do. How do we fix this?

1. Make goal setting a daily and weekly part of your life no matter what time of the year it is.

2. Create small, realistic goals that add up to bigger goals.

I'd describe my average day as a butt flamingo that crashes through a window like Batman. Here's how I manage it.

I’d describe my average day as a butt flamingo that crashes through a window like Batman. Here’s how I manage it.

Weekly / daily task review:

If you know what you want to achieve you won’t need to spend much or any time on revisiting your big picture, but if you are still shaky and finding your path you may want to make a list of what you want to accomplish this year and even for the next 5-10 years. If you have trouble staying focused on the big picture you may want to keep this list visible in your workspace. If you don’t know your big picture your goal can simply be to experiment with several things that you enjoy to see if your big picture reveals itself this year.

I review my task list and strategy every night and/or morning for each day. Once a week I meet with Harknell to discuss bigger picture items that we have to collaboratively solve for my business.

Perfection doesn’t exist. Manage change instead:

Understand that these goals WILL change a lot – and sometimes even completely. That’s why I’m looking at them at least once a day and adjusting them. In theory I could have a day where I have to go into NYC on business (like this week) where I lose an entire day. Or like last year where I lost almost the entire year to eye surgeries and recovery. Obviously when I had eye surgery my task list changed almost completely. I had to get help from people to do things I would have normally done. It sucked but I still pushed forward the best I could with what I had.

Your goals are only guides to give you a baseline of what’s up. Your job is to manage change, not to be a robot. This is not about “getting it right” or being perfect.

You fail because you focus on perfection.

Be flexible:

List out all the stuff that you want to accomplish this week and imagine that they are in a reserve pool that you can flow out into the next day or week of free time depending on how your life is going. Realize that you are probably going to have to double the amount of time you think you need for most of these tasks. You might have to move some of those tasks to next week – that’s why I look at it as a pool. It allows for flexibility within a real life. To start you may want to test how much you ACTUALLY get done for the first week so that you don’t overload yourself and set yourself up for failure.

Start small:

There’s no shame in starting with just 1 thing for the first week. We all have lives and unpredictable events in our lives. Some of us work day jobs in order to be able to afford to go for their actual job that they want. All of these things can impact or destroy our goals for the week. Be at peace with that. If your tasks have to go back into the pool because your day job forced you to work 80 hours of overtime simply slide the task into your next available free slot, repeat the weekly strategy meeting and readjust your timeline. This is reality. Life happens. There will never be a perfect time to start this. If you think that you are just making excuses to not move forward and that’s the topic of another post entirely.

Life will happen. Plan for that and be flexible with small, achievable goals.

EXAMPLE: If you want to lose weight your tasks would look something like this:

1. Stop drinking soda. If this is tough stop drinking it for 1-3 days per week and work up to 7 days a week.

2. Stop eating fast food. Feel free to use the same 1-3 day duration to start and then work that up to 7 days.

3. Exercise. This can be a short walk once a day, moving up to a workout in your home once a week.

4. Increase exercise level. Work out at home 2 and then 3x a week. Consider joining a gym but only do that if it will help you exercise more and won’t be a deterrent. (I work out 5 days a week and don’t have the time to join a gym anymore because doing it at home means that I will do it. Understand your quirks and work with them instead of trying to make yourself some impossibly perfect automaton.

No one gives a crap how you achieved it, they only care that you did it.

You are building a house, not making it magically materialize in a second:

Imagine your biggest goal is like building a house. Your small goals = molecules of each brick. Your bricks = bigger goals or milestones. You don’t start out achieving a brick. That’s too big and almost impossible. You get the molecules and build your first brick, then your second brick, then before you know it you have a house. Your work processing this along the way is CRITICAL TRAINING for you being able to handle the increased responsibility that will inevitably be your reward for success.

Your process is more important than the actual goals.

Your process will have evolved your brain toward making good habits and it will also hard wire achievement into your personality. When you get to a more advanced level you’ll actually have the ability to handle the pressures that come with it. I can tell you right now that the me of 7 years ago could not handle the me of today’s life. The process was more important than the actual tasks. I had to go through all of that to be able to get through all of this.

People might be shocked today to know that I was a chunky kid with no athletic capabilities whatsoever. That chunky kid evolved into being fit and the first female black belt from the police training facility where I founded multiple self-defense classes. I didn’t do that overnight, nor did I have access to the best food and equipment.

I used to drink 3-6 cups of soda a day as a kid. As a very fit adult soda smells and tastes disgusting to me. You will almost never see me drink it because I just hate it. I vibrate on a different level that that now. When I was a kid I would have thought you were insane because it was what my entire family drank – I rarely drank water. The act of seeking out small goals distracted my brain from the length of the journey. I made those bricks and then made more and more bricks. I evolved myself from being an overweight low achiever to a very fit habitual overachiever.

This transformation could not and did not happen overnight.

If you focus on how great it feels to achieve something small that adds up to something large you will lose track of time and notice you’ve achieved a big thing before you realize it. Start small. DO NOT start large. Realistic achievement motivates the human brain to keep going – not trying to climb Mount Everest in a day. I actually knew someone who wanted to start hiking and decided to go on a 2 week long hike as their first hike. They ended up failing badly. The came home needing surgery because because they were not in the physical shape needed to accomplish this.

Start small. Your process is the most important thing.

This is the main concept you need to grasp before you can do anything. If you keep chunking your tasks into tiny things, resetting your expectations every day when you review your list, and focusing on your process rather than how much you’ve achieved you’ll be empowered to adjust your plans for the amount of willpower and stress level that you may be experiencing in life. That’s when you will really start to shine.

You are not where you are. You are how far you’ve come. Keep going and keep it Real.

<3 Oni



Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Rock Music, Metal Music, and Marketing. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

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