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The Hustle Culture Myth

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Business, Self-Help

The Hustle Culture Myth

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Business, Self-Help

It’s the year 2020 and everything is moving faster than before. Faster phones, fast computers, faster cars, and faster trends. Everyone and everything is operating at full speed. Ambitious young adults are working harder than ever, whether they be in school, at work, or building businesses. Everyone is placing a heavy emphasis on this idea of “The Hustle.” Hard work is certainly a virtue and it nearly always pays off, but how far is too far when we start making more and more sacrifices in the name of “The Hustle?”

I first discovered Gary Vaynerchuk during my freshman year of college. I was fresh out of high school and inspired by what GaryVee had to say. To me, the message was simple: work harder. Hustle. Put in the effort. I recall writing down a quote of his that went something along the lines of “eat sh*t for 18 months and live like a king for the rest of your life.”

Gary had me feeling excited, determined, and ready to work towards success. I listened to GaryVee’s daily vlogs through the rest of my freshman year and ended-up earning some pretty high marks. I was so motivated and energized and felt like I could take on the world.

“…eat sh*t for 18 months and live like a king for the rest of your life.”

By the time Sophomore year had rolled-around, I had grown just a little bit. I was still motivated and willing to work hard, but Gary’s videos lost their appeal. I was staying consistent and earning good grades, but I was definitely past the “honeymoon” phase of hustling.

During that year of college, I found myself getting more and more involved at school. I joined two or three clubs and began an internship. Things were going well and I was proving myself as a peer leader. I was succeeding and working my hardest.

Near the end of that Spring semester however, my plate started to get full. I was being pulled in so many directions, but I remained persistent in my desire to go above and beyond. Every day I was exercising, reading books, earning good grades, staying involved, and building my resume.

I found myself sacrificing sleep and meals in order to keep up with the grind. I was waking up early and going to bed late. When I went home that summer, I was completely burnt-out. It took me three or four weeks to rest and recover from the exhausting life I had been living. I was fully engulfed in the hustle culture.

So why I am telling you this story? Because there is a lesson in it. I learned so much that year about working hard towards my goals, but I also learned that rest is vital. During my Junior and Senior years of college, I was able to continue to work hard and stay busy, but I also managed to develop a healthy balance. I learned when to turn-off and decompress.

I started reserving one night a week to play video games, watch a movie, go for a hike, or do something else enjoyable and relaxing. I began placing a greater value on getting seven or eight hours of sleep every night. I made it a daily goal to eat three square meals a day.

After slowing-down and focusing more on working effectively instead of working extensively, I was able to continue succeeding while enjoying my life at the same time. My grades were still where I wanted them, my resume was still growing, and I was still highly productive.

“Focus more on working effectively instead of working extensively.”

The atmosphere of social media today may be sending a message, especially to students and young professionals, that can be damaging. Yes, dedication and work ethic are central to success. Building a rewarding career certainly involves late nights, early mornings, and weekends behind a desk. That said, it’s also important to remember to get some rest, visit friends, and enjoy a little recreation here and there.

I still love GaryVee’s content. This article isn’t an attempt to criticize his teachings, it’s more of a reminder to take care of yourself. I had to realize some things before I could do that, and if you’re locked in the grind like I was, allow me to offer a few points of advice:

  • It’s not a competition. The only person you are in competition with is your past self.
  • Stop trying to do everything at once. Focus on one thing for a while, and move on to the next project when you’re ready.
  • Get some sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep nightly.
  • Set aside one hour every day to unwind. Read a book, watch a TV show, go for a walk, call a friend.
  • Give yourself some credit. You’re doing enough. Keep up the good work.
  • Your health is more important than any accomplishments. Do not sacrifice it. Eat right, sleep right, and exercise daily.

Overall, stop letting other people’s LinkedIn profiles make you feel like you’re not working hard enough. Social media is nothing more than a highlight reel. Stop trying to go from recent grad to billionaire in a year and instead focus on learning marketable skills, consistently improving yourself, and developing long term goals and plans. Stay disciplined in your work and in your rest. Stop answering phone calls and writing emails at 8:00 pm and start spending time with family, friends, and yourself.

“…stop letting other people’s LinkedIn profiles make you feel like you’re not working hard enough”

Of course success will still require you to work hard, grind, hustle, or whatever you want to call it. Just make it a priority to find a balance. Create a routine and establish your own personal system. If you can develop an effective system, you can accomplish anything without having to “eat sh*t” nearly as much.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my opinion that hustle culture could be giving people the wrong idea? What are some methods you have found to be effective in balancing your workload? Let me know in the comments!

Photo Credits: Unsplash

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