“It’s This Little Sidekick That Goes In and Clears the Muddle From My Mind”

Josh Hasty is a filmmaker, entrepreneur, and musician based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has achieved great success in a variety of disciplines, from award-winning haunted attractions to horror films on a budget to behind-the-scenes documentaries. Most recently he produced and directed his own indie horror feature film Candy Corn.

We met Josh a year after he learned the TM technique to find out more about his life and TM practice.

What describes your approach to life?
I know that I am here now; I am not sure if I will be here tomorrow. And if I don’t give all I have, someone else will.

What does a typical day in your week look like?
My typical day depends on which projects I am currently working on and where those projects are in their life cycle. One day I might be alone in my head, writing or editing. The next day I travel across the country and am surrounded by tons of people. The sporadic jumping from one end of the spectrum to the other has become typical of me. It definitely keeps me busy.

Photo by Justin Wysong

How does TM technology fit into your life?
It is literally the cornerstone of my days. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up and it’s what gets me through the last part of my days. Also, on very stressful days, it’s the only thing I can count on to bring myself back to earth and think clearly.

Do you feel that the TM technique helped you achieve your goals? If so, how?
The TM technique definitely helps me achieve my goals. I’m the guy who has more ideas than I know how to do. It often becomes overwhelming and eventually leads to an existential crisis triggered by panic and nothing to do at all. TM helps remove unnecessary noises in my head and help keep me organized and focused It’s amazing how much more productive I’ve been since I started practicing.

What are your favorite tools for a happy and healthy life?
Great relationships, art, veganism and of course TM. Relationships are the foundation on which everything in your life is built. No matter how strong we are, wellbeing is fragile. A toxic person can turn your best day into a crippling week, and that connects quickly. In contrast, healthy relationships can not only make your bad days good and your good days better, but they can inspire you to keep going in that direction.

Art is another tool that I rely on on a daily basis. Whether music, cinema, photography, painting or the sight of immaculate gardens – I cannot imagine a life without these things. Real art from almost all media inspires me to keep moving every day.

Veganism is something I NEVER thought I was so passionate about. I grew up in a hunter’s household and barbecuing was one of my favorite things to do. Vegetarian was an extreme enough idea, but vegan? Forget it. Fortunately, I was raised very passively by my fiancé Lindsey and boyfriend Rob Zombie. These two people are much smarter and more enlightened than me, so I listened. I’ve been vegan for 5 years now and it has changed my attitude towards everything.

I cannot survive without TM. It has sincerely changed my life for the better, and it continues to do so. What I love most is that it can’t wear off over time. You will not become immune to the TM practice. Instead, it’s like this little buddy I have who goes in and cleans up the clutter in my brain so I can access what’s already there. It’s really scary to think about all the ideas that I missed before I started practicing TM. But it’s exciting to see the ones I can access right now.

Photo by Justin Wysong

Since you started practicing the TM technique, have you proven yourself more creative?
Without question! It’s actually a two-pronged effect for me. During meditation, it is common to be hit by new ideas or solutions to problems related to an idea or project that I am working on. And outside of practice, especially in the hours immediately after meditation, I think much more clearly and simply. David Lynch describes creatives as a channel for ideas that come from “somewhere”. I couldn’t agree anymore, and since I’ve been practicing TM, this duct seems to be much wider and less congested.

Talk about your greatest success and greatest failure. What did you learn from them?
The last few years have been full of my greatest successes and failures. I think they have to go hand in hand. My biggest success is probably the documentary I made while filming Rob Zombies Movie 31. I have never attended film school or received any formal training. I didn’t even have friends engaged in the same things I grew up doing. The way I learned about films, and especially what it takes to make films, was through studying the incredibly elaborate behind-the-scenes documentaries that accompanied all of Rob Zombie’s films.

I had the crazy opportunity to do a (documentary) for Rob Zombie’s upcoming film 31. That was a surreal success in itself, but in the end it was a lot more than I expected. I had to be a fly on the wall of my main inspiration for over two months. At some point along the way, he somehow took me under his wing and is still a sounding board and mentor for me to this day.

My biggest mistakes can all be summed up in the fact that I didn’t learn to say “no” earlier. It’s a matter of self-esteem that ultimately determines how people value you and your time. Like many creative people who are just starting out, I would say “yes” to any job offer at any cost – even for free. Before you know it, you’re the budget-friendly option and people don’t respect that. I finally learned that nobody but me will value me very much. So I valued my time and skills, and when an opportunity arose that I believed would take advantage of that value, I just said “no”. As if by magic, I had better opportunities because the right people saw and appreciated this value. I am sure I would be a lot further than I am now if I had learned this lesson sooner, but I can’t complain.

Photo by Eugene Powers

If you could give someone some advice as you are thinking about a life / career like yours, what would you say to them?
I tell anyone who asks the same thing, if there is anything else in your life that you think you would like to do, try it first. A career in the creative field is not one that you can simply put yourself in the shoes of. It has to consume you if you want to be successful. The thought of not doing it should make you physically sick. As Bukowski says in his poem: “So you want to be a writer?”, “If after all it doesn’t blurt out of you, don’t do it.” That says it all. And when you feel the fire in your stomach that knows you were brought to this planet to do something creative, you will succeed.

There is no single road to success, but every success story has some things in common: drive, hard work, perseverance and some kind of malleable blueprint. Nobody is going to knock on your door to make your hopes and dreams come true. These things are all locked up somewhere and it is your job to kick down every door until you find them. And when you are sure they are out there, you will find them. After that, it’s up to you to hold on to them and let them grow.

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