My Story

I'm Jonathan Arias

I began this project in an attempt to learn the drums as fast as possible. Many have criticized me for this ambition because mastering the drums is something that cannot be rushed. I agree 1000%. Which is why I started thinking: How do I avoid the pitfalls that add unnecessary delay in achieving my goal? There’s no rush when you think of it this way. How do I learn the drums as SMART as possible?

Learning the Smart Way

After reading Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers,’ I became fascinated with the nuances that yield massive results. I, therefore, became obsessed with the best methods of learning. We all know that practice makes you better, but I strongly believe that just practicing is not enough. There are small things that masters do that novices don’t. I pondered on questions like:

  • How long should I practice?
  • When should I practice?
  • Can I practice in my mind?
  • Can I improve if I practice in my dreams? How do I even do this?
  • How do I practice through the boring, mundane tasks?
  • How do I optimize my energy to focus longer?

‘Just practice’ is not enough. Similar to opportunity, there are things that are not readily available to everyone, but they make a massive impact

More About Myself, the Host

At age 32, I picked up the drums with the mindset to become a professional drummer-musician. Without explanation, most would believe this is impracticable. But my journey to this point helps explain why I picked up an instrument at this age.

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This story begins with my younger brother D’John Arias.


Since we’re nine years apart, I spent many years as a lonely only child. I constantly found ways to fill my time, but always yearned for a companion. D’John’s arrival was one of the happiest days of my life.

Growing up, D’John held many interests and always immersed himself in his activities. There were times when he would drive my mom nuts because of his ever-changing desire to try a new activity. Never afraid to go after what he wanted, he became a lifeguard, played high school football, and became an NYPD auxiliary officer with the goal of becoming an NYPD police officer.


2014 – The wreckage from the accident.

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Tragedy Struck

It was September 18, 2014. At 3 AM, I was thrown into an unfamiliar and terrifying world when I was abruptly awakened to the news that DJ had passed away in a terrible car accident. His friend, Karim Carter, who was in the passenger seat, also tragically passed away.

I had never felt more sick in my life. The sound of those words still play through my head and haunt me at night. Some mornings, I’m too paralyzed to get out of bed. All the petty things that worried me, all the stresses that felt insurmountable, instantly disappeared.

Life Has Never Been the Same

After the accident, life felt pointless, and I fell into a deep depression. I went through the daily motions without any ambition, like a zombie. Most weekends, while my friends partied, I stayed glued to my bed. Everything became difficult, especially my already challenging career as an attorney. Essentially, I lost my purpose.

A Life Worth Living Is One That Leaves Lasting Positive Impressions on People.

One day, it struck me. The best way to honor DJ is to publish the work he left behind. I made the decision to pick up where he left off as a musician.

Daunted by the idea of entering “the industry” I did some research. As a lawyer, I felt like my skills brought no value to the music industry – other than handling deals. I didn’t want to do it like this. I wanted to be a part of the creative process.

I always knew that the best way to enter the industry is to actually be skilled in music. I looked back at my childhood and recalled that I played the drums when I was 13, but stopped for reasons I can’t remember. It dawned on me that I had to pick the drums back up and become exceptional at them. This is unfinished business. This will be my value to music.

Skills Are What Separate You.

That’s what led me to create Insight: Conversations on Mastery, a resource dedicated to helping you master practical skills that will substantially improve your life. Here you will find insightful information from some of the most highly SKILLED INDIVIDUALS out there.