Categories
Grind Productivity

#TheUnknownHustle: 9 Stories to Fuel Your Grind

Your favorite celebrities typically didn’t get where they are now without a lot of hard work and good ol’ grinding. You may look at somebody like Chris Pratt, for example, and think he just made it because of who he is, but did you know he waited tables in Hawaii for a few years before being discovered? We’ve learned that a bunch of other celebs also had to do some pretty regular things to get the chance to play the extraordinary roles we typically associate them with.

That’s why we’ve condensed nine of our favorite #TheUnknownHustle articles into one place. Now you have easy access to inspiration whenever you need a quick pick-me-up to get you back on your grind. 

Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf at the premiere of ‘Holes’ in April, 2003 / Lucy Nicholson/Getty Images

LaBeouf crafted a stunt to try and land himself an agent: He opened up the Yellow Pages, dialed an agent, put on a British accent and pretended to be a manager who repped a child client they would absolutely die for.

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https://www.one37pm.com/culture/movies-tv/theunknownhustle-shia-labeouf
Vin Diesel
Diesel in 2000 / Ron Galella Ltd./Wire Image/GettyImages

Diesel said, “One day I was driving by the Four Seasons Hotel when I saw one of my favorite actors walking into the hotel: Morgan Freeman. So I pulled over, popped the trunk and ran after him to give him my short film.”

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https://www.one37pm.com/grind/careers/theunknownhustle-vin-diesel
Donald Glover
Paras Griffin/VMN18/Getty Images for BET

Imagine if Childish Gambino was your college dorm’s resident assistant?! Twitter user Dominique Ariel Toney, or @domtoney, posted, “All this Donald Glover talk reminds me of that time when he was an RA in my freshman year dorm at NYU. My roommate Marisa & I used to sneak into his programs bc he always had good snacks. Was impressed back then, and impressed to this day. Go Donald.”

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https://www.one37pm.com/culture/movies-tv/donald-glover-nyu-ra-unknown-hustle
The Rock
Getty Images

The Rock tried to make his football dreams come true. On a salary of $300 per week, he was the newcomer in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with what one teammate described as a “yoked-up” frame who ended up playing second fiddle to the team’s all-star defensive line. His football dreams never came true.

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https://www.one37pm.com/grind/careers/the-unknown-hustle-the-rock
Matthew McConaughey
Getty Images

The actor’s big break came from approaching a casting director at a bar…

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https://www.one37pm.com/grind/careers/matthew-mcconaughey-approached-casting-director-unknown-hustle
Jared Leto
ABC Photo Archives/ABC/Getty Images

Jared Leto always believed in himself. Once he was able to move to Los Angeles, he “ended up sleeping on Venice Beach,” he told FilmInk. “But I was young and healthy, and I knew that it was just for a short period of time. I was intent on making a new life for myself. I ended up staying in a crack motel for a few nights, and later in a youth hostel; eventually, I got an apartment.”

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https://www.one37pm.com/culture/movies-tv/jared-leto-unknown-hustle
Mark Cuban
Getty Images

Before he became an NBA mogul, Mark Cuban had a job laying carpet. He was horrible at it, so he tried his hand as a short-order cook. Next, he was a server at an upscale restaurant, but every time he would open a bottle of wine, reportedly chunks of cork would get into it.

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https://www.one37pm.com/grind/careers/the-unknown-hustle-mark-cuban-job-laying-carpet
Walt Disney
Getty Images

Early in life, Walt Disney attempted to become a cartoonist for his local newspaper, but his attempts were consistently rebuffed. Once he finally made it on staff, the legendary animator was fired by a chief editor in 1919 and told that he’d never be a cartoonist because he “lacked imagination and good ideas.”

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https://www.one37pm.com/grind/careers/the-unknown-hustle-walt-disney
Nipsey Hussle
Getty Images

For Hussle, music was a catalyst to provide actual value and change in his community. Improving his community’s accessibility to resources absent in most South Central neighborhoods was always a hallmark of his vision. Injecting much of his wealth back into Crenshaw, he founded several businesses dedicated to fostering black entrepreneurship and creating educational opportunities like Vector90, described as “a ’hood version of WeWork…with an emphasis in STEM for young people of color.” 

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https://www.one37pm.com/culture/music/theunknownhustle-nipsey-hussle/preview/
Categories
Grind Productivity

4 Books That Tim Cook Swears By

Before Tim Cook assumed the throne of Apple, he was a top executive at tech giants like IBM and Compaq. Though he is decidedly brilliant, filling Steve Jobs’ shoes is no easy task. But since taking the position of CEO, Apple has seen a triple increase in stock and is implementing renewable energy, labor-friendly supply chains, user privacy and highly recyclable products. Apple is entering a new wave of success, and much of that is owed to the work of Cook.

Speaking at commencement ceremonies and leadership engagements, Cook’s work ethic and educational background is respected by entrepreneurs and business executives all around the globe. While much of his knowledge and aptitude was gained from firsthand experience, we were keen to get a look at his reading list, because maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to get a glimpse of his genius.

‘March: Book One’ by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
Amazon

This book is the first of three in the March trilogy collection. Congressman John Lewis dabbles into his lifelong journey as an activist during the civil rights movement to receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Book One follows Lewis during his youth in rural Alabama, his first time meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. and his goal to end segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins. While racism is not as vivid through laws and regulations as it was during the ‘50s and ‘60s, Lewis’ journey and perseverance are still relevant for young entrepreneurs and leaders today and generations to come.

Assisted by co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell, the March trilogy comic offers readers a history lesson, inspiration and the foundations of overcoming struggle all while being entertaining.

‘Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon’ by Larry Tye
Amazon

The title of a ‘liberal icon’ says it all. Kennedy was known for his progression to knock down racial discrimination, activism in decriminalization and being an advocate for the poor. In this biography, Larry Tye captures the story of RFK through unpublished memoirs, unreleased government files, and private miscellaneous documents. He interviews close peers and obtains an in-depth and lucid story that you won’t find on an online blog.

The story of RFK, pushing an agenda that was highly discouraged, is one that can transcend into the life of modern-day entrepreneurs. Determination, dedication and discipline led this man to become the most convoluted and disputed Kennedy yet.

‘Gandhi: An Autobiography–The Story of My Experiments With Truth’ by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
Amazon

Many of us know the philosophies Gandhi followed but know little about his life and what led him on a journey of conquering peace. In this narrated autobiography, Gandhi allows his readers an in-depth look at his most vulnerable moments. From marrying at 13 to seeking personal reformation, there is a lot to learn about this peaceful leader. Gandhi’s practices were extreme and took commitment and self-control that any entrepreneur could benefit from embodying.

‘Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition Is Reshaping Global Markets’ by George Stalk
Amazon

Saving the best for last, reportedly this book is so good that Cook’s been known to hand out copies to his colleagues and employees. This research-based read highlights time as a strategic weapon and the equivalent of money, productivity, quality and innovation. Companies can learn to advance by reducing elapsed time with the tips and insight George Stalk’s book has to offer.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

5 #LowKeyInvestors Making Major Business Moves

Venture capital is no longer limited to the suits of the finance set.

From Hollywood’s A-list to internationally known rock stars, many celebrities have started to nudge their way into the investment world, often with a surprising amount of stealth. In our #LowKeyInvestors series, we unearth some of the most successful under-the-radar business ventures of celebritydom you might have missed.

Check out the notable stories of these five #LowKeyInvestors. 

Drake
Photo by Vivien Killilea / Getty Images

On “0 to 100,” Drake spits a philosophical maxim: “Know yourself, know your worth.” In other words, be self-aware of your skills—knowing your strengths and weaknesses will push you to work with talented individuals who can fill in the gaps. Over the years, Drake has stayed true to his own advice, collaborating with everyone from eSports companies to whiskey distilling experts.

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https://www.one37pm.com/grind/entrepreneurs/lowkeyinvestor-drake
Ashton Kutcher
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

It looks as if Ashton Kutcher wasn’t just method acting when he was playing the role of Steve Jobs. Investing heavily in companies like Uber and Bird, Kutcher has transformed from everyone’s favorite merry prankster into a venture capital mastermind. Whoa, dude! 

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https://www.one37pm.com/grind/entrepreneurs/lowkeyinvestor-ashton-kutcher
Mike Shinoda
Frank Maddocks / WBR

In the 2000s, the members of Linkin Park were making bank, selling out stadiums and hitting multiplatinum milestones left and right. But Mike Shinoda and his bandmates had another lucrative hustle: investing in startups. Launching their VC firm Machine Shop Ventures in 2015, the rap-rock shredders have made millions since, continuing to prove that musicians can also be incredible businessmen. 

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https://www.one37pm.com/culture/music/linkin-park-mike-shinoda-lowkey-investor-investments
Kenny G
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Kenny G, the master of the sax, has also shown an incredible capacity for smart investing. Supposedly around 80 percent of his investments netted a profit. Forget Charles Schwab or Ameritrade—Kenny G is your new stock market guru.

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https://www.one37pm.com/culture/music/lowkeyinvestor-kenny-g
Nas
Nas during the 1998 MTV VMA party / Jeff Kravitz/Film Magic Inc/Getty Images

Nas has been in the investing game for quite some time. From Dropbox to Lyft, the Queens-born rapper has proved himself to be quite the shrewd investor for the past 20 years. When it comes to lyrics versus money, it’s hard to tell what Nas is better at handling. 

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https://www.one37pm.com/grind/entrepreneurs/lowkeyinvestor-nas
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

#TheUnknownHustle: Peter Dinklage

*Warning! Game of Thrones Spoilers Ahead* 

Lords, ladies, fellow countrymen and damsels: This is a day for jovial celebration. 

We. Have. Made. It!

Game of Thrones is finally nearing its epic climax. 

As blood, dirt and fury sailed up into the air, so did our popcorn bowls and hearts—the countless betrayals and merciless slaughtering of our favorite characters have roused enough tears to fill up a few Narrow Seas. But somehow, through all of this brutal drama, Tyrion Lannister, portrayed by Peter Dinklage, is still alive, still hilarious and still a bit sloshed.

No one watches Thrones for happy endings, but the wintry realm of Westeros wouldn’t feel so compelling without Tyrion’s charisma. Since the series’ premiere in 2011, Dinklage’s lauded performance as Tyrion has earned him three Emmys, a slew of critically acclaimed roles and loyal fleets of passionate fans. But long before he was animating Tyrion’s blazing wit—shaper than Valyrian steel—to cut through his enemies’ egos and threats, Peter Dinklage was earning his literal battle scars as the co–front man of a “punk-funk-rap” band called Whizzy.

Steve Eichner / Getty Images
Peter Dinklage singing with Whizzy at Columbia University, 1994.

In an interview with Playboy in 2013, Dinklage recalled how reckless he and his bandmates would get onstage:

“I have a pretty big scar that runs from my neck to my eyebrow. I was in a band called Whizzy for many years in New York. We were this punk-funk-rap band. We played a show at CBGB, and I was jumping around onstage and got accidentally kneed in the temple. I was like Sid Vicious, just bleeding all over the stage. Blood was going everywhere. I just grabbed a dirty bar napkin and dabbed my head and went on with the show. We didn’t care much about personal safety. We were smoking and drinking during our shows, and one time my bass player fell off the back of his amp because he passed out. It was one of those bands.”

Jamming around New York City wasn’t just a fun outlet for Dinklage. As a struggling actor, he admits he “was pretty angry back then,” and that performing as Whizzy’s MC-slash-trumpeter was more of a cathartic release than some frivolous hobby. Much of that frustration stemmed from never being considered for serious roles in casting rooms. In the Hollywood ecosystem, being a dwarf doesn’t necessarily lend itself naturally to leading-man stardom, but Dinklage was resolute in his ambitions. In a Reddit AMA five years, fans were shocked to read that he almost turned down D.B. Weiss and Benioff’s offer:

“I had one hesitation, because of the fantasy genre, I told [showrunner David Benioff] I didn’t want a really long beard and pointy shoes,” Dinklage wrote. “[Benioff and D. B. Weiss] assured me this character and this world wasn’t that. They told me about his complexity, the fact that he wasn’t a hero or a villain, that he was a womanizer and a drinker, and they painted a flawed and beautiful portrait of him, so I signed on.”

Many actors with dwarfism are typecast in perpetuity, relegated to playing a very finite number of roles—mostly elves and leprechauns. Dinklage, when he was in his twenties and living in a rat-infested apartment, proudly refused to accept these gigs despite their good pay. An interview with Rolling Stone clarified his intentions further: “I feel it’s the responsibility of people my size to persevere a bit more about what they do,’’ he told Rolling Stone. “Because it will just perpetuate itself if you agree to do these things.”

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

These Startup Founders Want You to Grow Your Own Shrooms

It all started with some mushrooms.

As two seniors about to graduate with a double major in finance and economics at UC Berkeley, Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora would have been the first to admit they knew absolutely “nothing about food or agriculture.” But on one fateful day during a business ethics class, their career paths shifted dramatically.

In an interview with Fast Company, Arora recalls that transformative moment: “Our professor said you could grow gourmet mushrooms on agricultural waste, like coffee grounds,” Arora remembers. “We both reached out after class to ask for more information, and he was like, ‘Honestly, I have no idea, but this other kid asked me about it too. You guys should link up.’”

Following his advice, Arora eventually linked up with Velez, and the two became fast friends. After dedicating their spring break to creating a mushroom farm in a frat house kitchen, they made a 180-degree turn and set their sights on a greener future: They decided to jump-start a mushroom wholesale business.

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Success came quickly, and the shroom slingers found themselves selling hundreds of pounds of oyster mushrooms to local vendors and restaurants. But their ambitions outgrew their small farm and morphed into a new venture of creating an indoor and urban gardening company called Back to the Roots.

In ONE37pm’s interview with cofounder Alejandro Velez, he shared that curiosity with us, detailing the future plans for Back to the Roots, his inspiring meeting with Gary Vee and how the company managed to get New York City’s public school system to switch out sugary Kellogg’s cereal for their organic line.

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font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;\”> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style=\”padding: 12.5% 0;\”></div> <div style=\”display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;\”><div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);\”></div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;\”></div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);\”></div></div><div style=\”margin-left: 8px;\”> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;\”></div> <div style=\” width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)\”></div></div><div style=\”margin-left: auto;\”> <div style=\” width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);\”></div> <div style=\” width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);\”></div></div></div> <div style=\”display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;\”> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;\”></div></div></a><p style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;\”><a href=\”https://www.instagram.com/p/BK6kTyEjC0j/\” style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;\” target=\”_blank\”>A post shared by Back to the Roots (@backtotheroots_official)</a> on <time style=\” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;\” datetime=\”2016-09-28T21:43:25+00:00\”>Sep 28, 2016 at 2:43pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src=\”//www.instagram.com/embed.js\”></script>”, “hed”: “”, “subhed”: “”, “buttonText”: “”, “buttonUrl”: “”, “dropCase”: false, “mediaId”: null, “jwplayer”: “”</div>

Tell me about where you and your partner found your passion for urban farming and organic food.

Alejandro Velez: It was either investment banking or being a teacher. Those were my two thoughts and Nikhil Arora was going into consulting, and we both heard in our business ethics class that you could grow mushrooms with coffee waste. I thought that was remarkably random and kind of cool that you can take the waste and grow stuff on it. That led us to try to develop a product out of our kitchen during spring break. We cold emailed a guy that had written that you could potentially do this and nobody had ever really done it commercially. We eventually started hustling mushrooms in college, and that turned into giving up our job offers and becoming full-time waste collectors and mushroom farmers.

It seems like you are trying to change the way Americans eat and think about food. Is cultivating a deeper appreciation for food through gardening kits enough?

Velez: I wish I could say it was, but the answer is no—absolutely not. There are so many factors that go into bringing healthy food to every single kid and family in the country. I just finished Michelle Obama’s book and a lot of the things she shared speak to the path that we’re on. I think it’s so clear how many layers there are to bringing healthy food to all schools, all kids and families. Just like Mrs. Obama mentioned in her book and Sam Kass, who she referenced a lot, I think we are trying to do our part. We think that by creating gardening kits that teach kids and families how to grow these mushrooms using coffee waste—as crazy and almost esoteric and random as it may seem—it is also this kind of magical moment for kids all over the country to say, “Holy crap, I can grow this thing, what else can I grow?” We don’t see our urban indoor gardening kits leading the charge to solve world hunger. We are an all-around inspiration and trying to ignite curiosity and teach these kids in a way that makes them feel like they are having fun learning.

What’s been the greatest challenge for you?

Velez: I think scaling our business, as well as getting the word out about what we do. The published articles about our business are everything to us, and as soon as teachers find out that our products exist and use them, they fall in love with it. We have received so many phone calls from educators crying and get all of these incredible letters from the students themselves about the projects they’re doing in school and how it’s turned into them building a garden outside and eating so many more vegetables, caring about where it comes from. It’s crazy how these tiny little kits that we create here turned into this much bigger movement. At the end of the day, I think that we have an opportunity to make a big impact.

Alejandro Velez, Cofounder of Back to the Roots

We hung out with Gary for around an hour and a half, and in that brainstorming session, he did the impossible and ate the entire pound of mushrooms from our kit.

You said you plan to sell 1 million new organic gardens in 2019. How’s that going?

Velez: The first few months of this journey have been really exciting. You know, at the end of the day, we owe a lot to our retailers where we are able to interact with our consumers. We are in about 12,000 stores around the country, anywhere from The Home Depot, our longest standing partner, to Lowe’s to Target to Costco. We’re also having conversations with Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond and Petco. It is online with Amazon as well. So I think we’re on our way. We have a lot of growth to do, but the most exciting thing and what makes us work so hard is the progress we are seeing.

You recently introduced your first hemp home grow kit. Why hemp?

Velez: Like so many of our other products, hemp is really easy to grow. It was recently legalized through the Hemp Farming Act. The hemp grow kit is just one other way for us to be able to get families interested in growing.

On your journey, who have you met who has really inspired you? 

Velez: Nikhil and I had the chance to meet Gary Vee years ago in his hotel room in San Francisco. We came in and had a fully grown mushroom kit to show him. We hung out with Gary for around an hour and a half, and in that brainstorming session, he did the impossible and ate the entire pound of mushrooms from our kit. So far, he is the only person we know who has devoured that much in that amount of time. We were like, “This guy is a beast.” He told us that he saw us in five years igniting the same movement that Toms did and making a huge impact. That has really stayed with us, for sure.

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font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;\”> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style=\”padding: 12.5% 0;\”></div> <div style=\”display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;\”><div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);\”></div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;\”></div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);\”></div></div><div style=\”margin-left: 8px;\”> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;\”></div> <div style=\” width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)\”></div></div><div style=\”margin-left: auto;\”> <div style=\” width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);\”></div> <div style=\” width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);\”></div></div></div> <div style=\”display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;\”> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;\”></div></div></a><p style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;\”><a href=\”https://www.instagram.com/p/Bh7jX5KhhcC/\” style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;\” target=\”_blank\”>A post shared by Back to the Roots (@backtotheroots_official)</a> on <time style=\” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;\” datetime=\”2018-04-23T22:56:32+00:00\”>Apr 23, 2018 at 3:56pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src=\”//www.instagram.com/embed.js\”></script>”, “hed”: “”, “subhed”: “”, “buttonText”: “”, “buttonUrl”: “”, “dropCase”: false, “mediaId”: null, “jwplayer”: “”</div>

How did your collaboration with Ayesha Curry come about?

Velez: We’re both based in Oakland and we share such similar philosophies when it comes to bringing healthier food to kids. As soon as we got together, we immediately envisioned this product that we could develop together, and that’s how we created the Ayesha Kitchen Herb Garden. We recently went to a community center in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her and Steph Curry—they made investments to beautify the whole space and build a brand-new basketball court and a new state-of-the-art kitchen. We brought hundreds of our kits to donate to the kids. Obviously, it was way cooler to have [Steph and Ayesha] give away the kits. The kids were definitely more likely to get excited and talk about it with the teachers and get them on board.

We also did a collaboration with Fall Out Boy. Fall Out Boy reached out to us and we ended up meeting. Like the Ayesha situation, we came to a similar kind of idea of “Hey, we love what you guys do. We’re from Chicago. Can we do something special here?” And to get the word out, we donated 20,000 of our gardening kits. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but 20,000 ended up being 10 percent of all elementary school kids in Chicago.

So how do you forge connections with companies, brands and people outside of the food and education space? 

Velez: What’s been fun is that much of what happened has been really natural.

Last year, we teamed up with Carmelo Anthony because of his kid. We recently just displaced Kellogg’s at New York public schools. Our cereal has a fourth of the sugar that Kellogg’s has. In a blind taste test, kids chose our cereal over theirs. Our cereal is now feeding 1.1 million public school kids.

That was the first time in the United States that an organic cereal had launched in any public school district, let alone the largest one in the country, and that connection was through Carmelo’s son. He tried it and loved it. We didn’tknow this at first, but Melo is a huge cereal fan, and we ended up sitting down with them. It’s the little things like that where the relationship happens organically. We don’t have a department that focuses on forging these relationships, and I think that’s the beauty in it. People have reached out to Back to the Roots just because theybelieve, or want to believe, in the same thing we believe in.

Are U.S. consumers your primary target, or do you have aspirations of taking Back to the Roots globally?

Velez: Absolutely. We want to see every kid, whether they’re American or not, be more connected to food and, ultimately, be really conscious and serious about where their food comes from. From a mission standpoint, we want this to be something that eventually goes worldwide. Luckily, we’ve had some amazing retail partners that believe in the same crazy idea we have, that an indoor gardening category needs to exist. Home Depot six years ago wasn’t talking about organics or non-GMOs. We were the first to bring it to the gardening category. Now there are indoor gardening categories in every major home improvement store and national retailer.

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font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;\”> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style=\”padding: 12.5% 0;\”></div> <div style=\”display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;\”><div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);\”></div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;\”></div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);\”></div></div><div style=\”margin-left: 8px;\”> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;\”></div> <div style=\” width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)\”></div></div><div style=\”margin-left: auto;\”> <div style=\” width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);\”></div> <div style=\” width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);\”></div></div></div> <div style=\”display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;\”> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;\”></div></div></a><p style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;\”><a href=\”https://www.instagram.com/p/BwK8p3aFIIJ/\” style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;\” target=\”_blank\”>A post shared by Back to the Roots (@backtotheroots_official)</a> on <time style=\” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;\” datetime=\”2019-04-12T21:45:34+00:00\”>Apr 12, 2019 at 2:45pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src=\”//www.instagram.com/embed.js\”></script>”, “hed”: “”, “subhed”: “”, “buttonText”: “”, “buttonUrl”: “”, “dropCase”: false, “mediaId”: null, “jwplayer”: “”</div>

Categories
Sneakers Style

Nike’s React Presto Merges Golden-Era Sneaker Design With Modern-Day Innovation

Originally released in 2000, and marketed by Nike as a “T-shirt for your feet” due to its extreme comfort, the revolutionary Air Presto marked a paradigm shift in the way that sneakers fit and, subsequently, how they were sized. Tobie Hatfield (brother of Nike design legend Tinker Hatfield) first conceptualized the V-Notch concept in 1996—the sneaker mold at Nike’s in-house Innovative Kitchen that would become the Nike Air Presto.

This concept was the mold Hatfield and his team created in pursuit of what would ultimately become the Air Presto. Nike was looking to produce sneakers that offered unparalleled comfort, divergent from the limitations that a leather and mesh combination often held. With the help of Kevin Hoffer and lead designer Bob Mervar, Hatfield helped give birth to the Nike Air Presto at the turn of the century.

Nike
https://news.nike.com/news/nike-react-presto
Nike
ews.nike.com/news/nike-react-presto
Nike
https://news.nike.com/news/nike-react-presto

Almost 20 years later, Nike continues to champion its importance in footwear innovation with the unveiling of its Presto React. Reliant on the genius of the original design—yet not restricted by the technical boundaries of its time—this melding of sneaker eras gives a timeless Air Presto silhouette while adding modern Nike React technology: A cushioned foam implanted in the midsole for extreme energy return and stability.

Sneaker design often looks in the rearview to inform the road ahead. The art form is both an essential, nostalgic ode to the past and a vehicle to make sure the present is steeped in historic richness. The Nike React Presto, much like the original Air Presto, features a traditional lacing system; The design, with its seamless bootie construction, effectively poses as a slip-on, but you can lace them up, too.

With fluid neoprene fabrication, the form-fitting upper of the Air Presto wasn’t sized like most sneakers. Given its likeness to a T-shirt, the shoe was sold in XS to XL sizes. The React Presto offers a similar fit by inheriting much of the same construction and by returning the midfoot cage and heel crash pad. Commonality can also be found in the employee-sourced character nicknames that accompany each style.

Nike
https://news.nike.com/news/nike-react-presto

Nike
https://news.nike.com/news/nike-react-presto
Nike
https://news.nike.com/news/nike-react-presto

Back in 2000, Nike rolled out a graphic ad campaign highlighting designs by Monica Taylor and copy conjured by Dylan Lee, backed by Nike’s longtime creative partner Wieden and Kennedy. They released 13 original colorways of the Air Presto all at once.

To honor that history, Nike is reviving those nostalgic, character-based color schemes starting with the “Brutal Honey” and “Rabid Panda” on May 9. In addition, Nike by You variations of the Presto React will revisit other favorites that include the “Shady Milkman,” “Unholy Cumulus” and “Roger Kielbasa” iterations also available on May 9. Modern contemporary colorways of the Nike React Presto will release on May 16 bearing names like “Psychedelic Lava,” “Chatty Matador,” “Breezy Thursday” and “Witness Protection.” They will retail for $120. 

Each new sneaker represents the beckoning of a new era for the Presto. But not without a glance back at the nostalgia of years past. It’s proof that Nike took the right path all those years ago.

Related: These ’90s-Era Sneakers Are Officially Cool Again

Related: 50 Iconic Sneakers Under $150 That Are Still Dope

Related: 12 Shoes Rappers Love

Categories
Culture Music

#TheUnknownHustle: Nipsey Hussle

The outpouring of sorrow that continues to follow Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom’s senseless murder is an important reminder: Even though death comes all the time, nothing can prepare anyone for the messiness of grief. Gunned down in front of his strip mall, his demise is particularly hard to process given how untimely and tragic it is.

March 31 marks the death of a man who was not only a rap legend but also an activist, entrepreneur and community leader who dedicated his life to cultivating the spiritual and economic wealth of his L.A. neighborhood, Crenshaw. As hundreds gathered in front of his store, The Marathon Clothing, for a vigil—a sea of novena candles, graffiti tributes and makeshift altars—the city of Los Angeles mourned deeply. Thousands more attended his memorial service at the Staples Center, reminding us once again that Hussle wouldn’t just be missed. He’d be celebrated for the hero he is. 

Getty Images / David McNew
Getty Images / David McNew

Most knew Hussle for his music. Forceful and vivid, his Grammy-nominated album, Victory Lap, does important work, retracing gangland narratives into empowering tales. When Hussle raps about his dogged journey from gang life to entrepreneurial prosperity, he isn’t just flexing his success. Hussle never wanted praise. He always had a larger plan, and part of it was to inspire his listeners to pursue their own dreams against all odds. But Hussle’s ambitions extend further than the sum of his mixtapes and inspiring stories. Observing the stark, shocking transitions of historically black and Latino neighborhoods like Inglewood and Echo Park from afar, Hussle wasn’t about to let South Central L.A. suffer a similar fate.

Improving his community’s accessibility to resources absent in most South Central neighborhoods was always a hallmark of Hussle’s vision. Injecting much of his wealth back into Crenshaw, he founded several businesses dedicated to fostering black entrepreneurship and creating educational opportunities like Vector90, described as “a ’hood version of WeWork…with an emphasis in STEM for young people of color.” According to Complex, his other ventures, estimated to support more than 40,000 jobs, included a Fatburger partnership, Steve’s Barber Shop, Elite Human Hair and the World on Wheels skating rink. 

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line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;\”><a href=\”https://www.instagram.com/p/BwAqULghckG/\” style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;\” target=\”_blank\”>A post shared by Nipsey Hussle (@nipseyhussle)</a> on <time style=\” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;\” datetime=\”2019-04-08T21:52:55+00:00\”>Apr 8, 2019 at 2:52pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src=\”//www.instagram.com/embed.js\”></script>”, “hed”: “”, “subhed”: “”, “buttonText”: “”, “buttonUrl”: “”, “dropCase”: false, “mediaId”: null, “jwplayer”: “”</div>

The corner of Crenshaw and Slauson, now renamed Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square in his honor, is complicated because it represents opposite spectrums of South Central, its future and present: a glimmering solution to decades of poverty and longstanding cycles of street brutality. Some have tried to use his death as rhetorical octane against gang violence, but this essentializing crusade completely misreads his death.

What Hussle aimed to do was teach others how to publicly claim their identity—to feel pride in their roots and use them in legitimate arenas of business. In a bid to lessen the black-white wealth gap, Hussle invested in local businesses, helping to keep the flow of cash in local currents. Keeping this wealth within the black ecosystem was tantamount to his strategy, and it is why his investments were rarely targeted towards business outside of his hometown.

Hussle wasn’t interested in crafting a persona and perceived authenticity to sell records or promote his new businesses. At this core, he was just Ermias, another boy from the neighborhood, wanting to lift his community up. Let us remember Hussle for everything—his music, his hustle, his energy—but perhaps let us remember him most for his endless compassion and sense of duty to others.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

This Teacher’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Warning Note to Students Goes Viral

It is no surprise that the hype around Avengers: Endgame, the decade-long culmination of Disney and Marvel Studios’ multibillion-dollar franchise, is reaching epic proportions—and box office numbers too. Having already outpaced Star Wars’ opening day record in less than 24 hours, the international juggernaut has already attracted an unprecedented number of moviegoers and is projected to rake in up to $800 million dollars globally by the end of the week.

Fans have been trying to avoid spoilers at all cost and rightfully so. We can all agree that spoilers are objectively awful. After 11 years of investing our emotional wells into the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man debuted in 2008, the last thing we want is to be the victim of a loudmouth.

<div class =”code”><p class = “twitter-tweet”></p></div>

The first rule of spoilers is that you don’t talk about spoilers to the superfans. At least that’s what this one uber-passionate teacher threatened.  In a viral Twitter post, @kamiilious shared her teacher’s hilarious plea to his students, asking them to not discuss anything about Endgame near his classroom “UNTIL THIS SIGN COMES DOWN.” You know how much I love Marvel Comics.” In an act of unimaginable patience, he is waiting until next Wednesday to watch the film.

All we can say is “Good luck, teach!”  

Related: 7 Wild ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Predictions and Theories

Related: You Need to See These Marvel Memes ASAP

Related: ‘Avengers: Endgame’: Lego Toys May Have Spoiled These 3 Things

Categories
Careers Grind

This ‘Avengers’ Cast Member Almost Quit Acting

Paul Bettany went from being told that he was “done” in Hollywood to landing a role in one of the highest grossing film franchises of all time. And it all happened in a matter of minutes. 

Bettany’s almost-instant career turnaround started with a meeting with an unnamed Hollywood producer that took a turn for the worst. “He said ‘You’re done, you’re done in this town,'” Bettany told BBC Radio 1. 

Devastated, he sat down on the sidewalk and tried to collect himself. A few seconds later, his phone rang. “It was Joss Whedon,” he recalled to Insider. “And he said, ‘Do you want to play the Vision in the next Avengers movie?'”

Even though this particular comeback story was shorter than some movie trailers, Bettany says that he has learned to take rejection in stride: “You know if I had a dollar for every time somebody told me my career was over, my career could be over.”

Don’t stop grinding, fam. You never know when your next opportunity could be *literally* right around the corner. ?

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Categories
Grind Productivity

How One Guy Tried to Clean His Clutter for Productivity

Marie Kondo haunts my dreams.

Well, admittedly, she only appeared once. But given who she is—a four-foot-seven Japanese woman with a warm smile and cropped bangs—it’s still hard to believe that Japan’s cleaning guru played a terrible antagonist in my recent nightmare.

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Shortly after Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was published in 2014, it made th New York Times Best Seller list, making her the new darling of the self-help universe. My mom has been telling me to clean my room for years, but it took only one episode of Kondo’s new hit Netflix series to compel me to break out the broom and get to work.

When Kondo works with her clients, she often asks “Does this spark joy for you?” This catchphrase is at the crux of her famous KonMari method—a wholesome, spiritual approach to domestic tidiness that encourages an attentive mode of empathy when decluttering stuffed closets and drawers. Simply put, a possession either sparks joy or it doesn’t. Of course, recognizing when it is time to let go can be impossibly tough. But by fostering gratitude for everything that particular object has given you—all the memories and emotions tied to it—you are practicing a form of spiritual self-care. Or at least that precious, healing sentimentality is what Kondo is aiming for.

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border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;\”></div></div></div><div style=\”padding: 19% 0;\”></div><div style=\”display:block; height:50px; margin:0 auto 12px; width:50px;\”><svg width=\”50px\” height=\”50px\” viewBox=\”0 0 60 60\” version=\”1.1\” xmlns=\”https://www.w3.org/2000/svg\” xmlns:xlink=\”https://www.w3.org/1999/xlink\”><g stroke=\”none\” stroke-width=\”1\” fill=\”none\” fill-rule=\”evenodd\”><g transform=\”translate(-511.000000, -20.000000)\” fill=\”#000000\”><g><path d=\”M556.869,30.41 C554.814,30.41 553.148,32.076 553.148,34.131 C553.148,36.186 554.814,37.852 556.869,37.852 C558.924,37.852 560.59,36.186 560.59,34.131 C560.59,32.076 558.924,30.41 556.869,30.41 M541,60.657 C535.114,60.657 530.342,55.887 530.342,50 C530.342,44.114 535.114,39.342 541,39.342 C546.887,39.342 551.658,44.114 551.658,50 C551.658,55.887 546.887,60.657 541,60.657 M541,33.886 C532.1,33.886 524.886,41.1 524.886,50 C524.886,58.899 532.1,66.113 541,66.113 C549.9,66.113 557.115,58.899 557.115,50 C557.115,41.1 549.9,33.886 541,33.886 M565.378,62.101 C565.244,65.022 564.756,66.606 564.346,67.663 C563.803,69.06 563.154,70.057 562.106,71.106 C561.058,72.155 560.06,72.803 558.662,73.347 C557.607,73.757 556.021,74.244 553.102,74.378 C549.944,74.521 548.997,74.552 541,74.552 C533.003,74.552 532.056,74.521 528.898,74.378 C525.979,74.244 524.393,73.757 523.338,73.347 C521.94,72.803 520.942,72.155 519.894,71.106 C518.846,70.057 518.197,69.06 517.654,67.663 C517.244,66.606 516.755,65.022 516.623,62.101 C516.479,58.943 516.448,57.996 516.448,50 C516.448,42.003 516.479,41.056 516.623,37.899 C516.755,34.978 517.244,33.391 517.654,32.338 C518.197,30.938 518.846,29.942 519.894,28.894 C520.942,27.846 521.94,27.196 523.338,26.654 C524.393,26.244 525.979,25.756 528.898,25.623 C532.057,25.479 533.004,25.448 541,25.448 C548.997,25.448 549.943,25.479 553.102,25.623 C556.021,25.756 557.607,26.244 558.662,26.654 C560.06,27.196 561.058,27.846 562.106,28.894 C563.154,29.942 563.803,30.938 564.346,32.338 C564.756,33.391 565.244,34.978 565.378,37.899 C565.522,41.056 565.552,42.003 565.552,50 C565.552,57.996 565.522,58.943 565.378,62.101 M570.82,37.631 C570.674,34.438 570.167,32.258 569.425,30.349 C568.659,28.377 567.633,26.702 565.965,25.035 C564.297,23.368 562.623,22.342 560.652,21.575 C558.743,20.834 556.562,20.326 553.369,20.18 C550.169,20.033 549.148,20 541,20 C532.853,20 531.831,20.033 528.631,20.18 C525.438,20.326 523.257,20.834 521.349,21.575 C519.376,22.342 517.703,23.368 516.035,25.035 C514.368,26.702 513.342,28.377 512.574,30.349 C511.834,32.258 511.326,34.438 511.181,37.631 C511.035,40.831 511,41.851 511,50 C511,58.147 511.035,59.17 511.181,62.369 C511.326,65.562 511.834,67.743 512.574,69.651 C513.342,71.625 514.368,73.296 516.035,74.965 C517.703,76.634 519.376,77.658 521.349,78.425 C523.257,79.167 525.438,79.673 528.631,79.82 C531.831,79.965 532.853,80.001 541,80.001 C549.148,80.001 550.169,79.965 553.369,79.82 C556.562,79.673 558.743,79.167 560.652,78.425 C562.623,77.658 564.297,76.634 565.965,74.965 C567.633,73.296 568.659,71.625 569.425,69.651 C570.167,67.743 570.674,65.562 570.82,62.369 C570.966,59.17 571,58.147 571,50 C571,41.851 570.966,40.831 570.82,37.631\”></path></g></g></g></svg></div><div style=\”padding-top: 8px;\”> <div style=\” color:#3897f0; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;\”> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style=\”padding: 12.5% 0;\”></div> <div style=\”display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;\”><div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);\”></div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;\”></div> <div style=\”background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);\”></div></div><div style=\”margin-left: 8px;\”> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;\”></div> <div style=\” width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)\”></div></div><div style=\”margin-left: auto;\”> <div style=\” width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);\”></div> <div style=\” width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);\”></div></div></div> <div style=\”display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;\”> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;\”></div> <div style=\” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;\”></div></div></a><p style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;\”><a href=\”https://www.instagram.com/p/BsGGl3SgOsB/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_medium=loading\” style=\” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;\” target=\”_blank\”>A post shared by Marie Kondo (@mariekondo)</a> on <time style=\” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;\” datetime=\”2019-01-01T14:30:38+00:00\”>Jan 1, 2019 at 6:30am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src=\”//www.instagram.com/embed.js\”></script>”, “hed”: “”, “subhed”: “”, “buttonText”: “”, “buttonUrl”: “”, “dropCase”: false, “mediaId”: null, “jwplayer”: “”</div>

But would the act of maintaining a tidier room produce a tidier mind? Well, according to Harvard Business Review, clutter is a productivity killer. Last year, “workplace stress” cost American businesses up to $190 billion, and an untidy station is one of the serious culprits for causing this expensive anxiety. Assuming an ecological view of clutter, a group of psychologists conducted a study to find the correlation between household clutter and procrastination, deducing that an overwhelming number of possessions can bring on “negative emotions” and “impaired social ability.”

Although a messy desk is often indicative of a creative mind, it can also point to one’s lack of discipline and work ethic. It was time for me to stop making excuses for being a slob and grab some trash bags and cardboard boxes.

When I finally started my purge, I discovered that I owned some less-than-savory items that were overdue for a trip to the pavement. I could hear Kondo in my head as I dangled a pair of five-year-old shoes in front of me. No, Marie—I don’t think these smelly Vans with eight holes spark joy for me anymore. To the trash they go!

Many tough decisions were made that day, but perhaps the most excruciatingly difficult call to make was determining the fate of my beloved college-dorm Nacho Libre poster. As I held it in my hand, I could feel Kondo whispering in my ear: It is time to let go. Au revoir, Jack Black in stretchy pants! Till we meet again. Little did I know that following her advice would spin my dreams into a terrifying vision.

Marie Kondo, or who I now presume to be her evil twin sister, visited my dream world the night of my tidying session. Barreling into my room without a word, she plunged violently into a cleaning frenzy. The first victim was my Nintendo 64. With one swing of her tiny arm, it was launched high into the stratosphere, magically filtering through my ceiling. Who knew the queen of clean’s doppelgänger had such latent superhuman strength?

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From a logistical standpoint, tidying up improved my daily productivity. An international survey revealed that information workers could gain up to two hours in a cleaner environment—and the same went for me. No longer was I wasting precious time clearing my desk of its daily tangle of pens and books. Without the claustrophobic feeling clutter creates, my creativity received a welcome boost. Words came easier, and time management was not some foreign concept. But why was clearing out the drawers and closet causing my nighttime imagination to go haywire?

It might be because Kondo’ing one’s life actually requires a complicated, emotional-based calculus: How many minutes do I save each day for every T-shirt donated to Goodwill? Must I get rid of my CDs to reach the joyful state Kondo promises is awaiting brave, bold and tidy souls? As I followed her method, these kinds of questions were stressing me the fuck out. She never said her method was easy and totally painless, but it wasn’t a perfect fit for me. It’s not so simple, Marie!

In an article in The Atlantic called Marie Kondo and the Privilege of Clutter, writer Arielle Bernstein says, “If our life is made from the objects we collect over time, then surely our very sense of who we are is dependent upon the things we carry.” If that is so, then I essentially pawned out my identity in exchange for more productivity, forgetting the most salient tenet of KonMari: empathy for yourself. I took the KonMari method too far by aiming for white walls and zen-like minimalism (the opposite of who I am) instead of a sustainable middle ground. In the pursuit of a happy medium, I tried some new tactics: pins for my posters instead of washi tape; biweekly sweeping; neatly folded clothes; tidy stacks of magazines. It’s not much, but if you know me well, it is a promising start.