It seems that anytime you go to any social media app, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, etc. there is some quote, or story about someone somewhere “hustling”. Hustling for this, rise and grind, or getting that bread. Gotta hustle. Hustle 24/7/365. Doesn’t matter what it is, it is clear that if I’m not hustling, then I’m going to get left behind. Waking up earlier than anyone else, and going to bed after everyone else. If everyone is hustling and I’m about to play my 7th Super Fiesta game on Halo on Xbox then am I a lazy piece of shit? Am I going to be left in the dirt when compared to my peers? Am I not working as hard as I should? Should I fill my time and schedule to the max so that I can constantly stay hustling? Should I always be hustling if I am to be compared to other up-and-comers?
There is a problem with the hustle culture. It’s all bs. I’m not saying that working hard, hustling, and busting your ass is a negative thing or bad thing at all- quite contrary, I actually believe there should be a lot more hustling going on. I’m saying that the way it’s portrayed and communicated as a race, a game that you can not keep up. It continues to feed into the comparison culture that’s heightened throughout the years on social media platforms conveyed as sharing pictures of vacations or living their best life. No more was it keeping up with the Jones. Now you instead of keeping up with people not on your street and social circles, you now are in hustle competition with other hustlers around the globe.
The idea that one should always be hustling is exactly that: an idea. It’s an image that is portrayed to your “followers” or your “connections”. Always being on the go without slowing down to appreciate the small things will burn you out, cause rifts in your personal relationships, and will not provide you the satisfaction of small successes throughout the day. Personally, I'm getting burnt out on the portrayal of hustling. There is usually a sense of being better than me, or inadequate in my energy and efforts. I've noticed that people respond more to success rather than hustle.
Rather than voicing how much and how hard you are hustling, turn the attention to celebrating your successes throughout the day. Just had a meeting go great? Celebrate! Got a call back from someone who has ghosted you for years? Celebrate! Launched your website? Celebrate! Decided to do something outside your comfort zone? Celebrate! If you were to communicate anything to your audience it should be the little victories you encounter throughout the day/week. People like rooting for others when good things happen. Look at when people make a post about how they just got engaged, landed their dream job, had their child, or purchased their first home. People celebrate good things that happen in people’s lives, or accomplishments. You humbly voicing your accomplishments will draw more of that positive energy and attention your way versus having the “hustler” mentality. Nobody truly cares how HARD you work, they care if you succeed and are gracious about it.
What would you want to see as a new business owner or someone who landed a role in something they are not familiar with? Would you want to see someone boasting about how hard they worked, or they outworked others? Probably not, you’d more likely find sources of inspiration and motivation if you saw minor successes throughout the day from other individuals in similar shoes. Think about your favorite sports team: nobody cares how hard they worked in pre-season or during practice, what matters if they get that home run, or steal that base, and obviously win the game. How hard they are hustling in practice is nice to know, but it really doesn’t matter until they step on the field during game time. That’s when we want to see little successes until the game is won.
Celebrating your daily successes is good for you too! It shows you that the hard work (or hustle) you’ve put into something actually paid off. It gives you a break from the constant focus on the future and lets you take time to give yourself a pat on the back in the present. It allows you to center yourself and reaffirm that what you’ve been doing is working. When you begin putting out there your little victories people begin to respond. You build a fan base. You build a team that’s behind you. You create advocates. People like success stories and that is exactly what you are providing to them. You begin to believe in yourself more as you are taking time out to put focus on the good right now rather than what needs to be done next. It’s your way of “stopping to smell the flowers” along the way. This creates excitement and motivation. You will begin to be excited about these victories, and that will build motivation to get another one and another one. You begin to root for yourself and self-reflect that what you are doing is actually working. If you begin to buy into the hustle culture then you won’t take the time to notice victories, instead, you are telling yourself “this success wasn’t enough”. Bullshittery! Every success that comes your way should be a moment for you to take stock of yourself and focus on your goal and your work. Not the work and hustle that is falsely and over-communicated. You will stay focused and true to yourself and your goal.
I felt this way about other people that started their own companies and were successful now or other start-ups who were KILLING it. I was falling into the comparison mentality. When I began to compare myself with the other industry entrepreneurs who were crushing it I could never celebrate my successes of the day. I was constantly looking at “what’s next?” or why isn't this going the way I envisioned: probably because I wasn't hustling enough. As a start-up, or any person beginning a journey or is new at something, celebrating your successes is one of the most important things you can do, and should do. One of the things that keeps people motivated is the feeling of achievement, the feeling that you are improving at something. Whether it’s golf lessons and lowering your handicap by a point, moving up belts in BJJ, beating a level in a video game, or perfecting your grandma's chocolate chip cookies. Daily successes in a business or a relationship are a success, that should feel good. That should motivate you.
If you are always trying to hustle, you are always trying to get ahead of the other person who’s slightly in a position you want to be in. You are perpetually climbing the ladder. The satisfaction of fulfillment and accomplishment and personal achievement will be short-lived, because on to the next level you will focus, and how you have to hustle to get there. I believe that people could actually attract more success if they portrayed their excitement for what they are doing versus the hustle that entails behind the scenes (although if always self-promoting your hustle, is it really behind the scenes?). It will let you enjoy the daily "small" successes that you need to keep you motivated and with a positive mindset.
In other words, in the hustle culture, you are pushing yourself to stay motivated by external factors: this person just made this deal, this person is taking a trip here, this person can outwork me even on my busiest days. These external motivators will be something you are constantly trying to chase and grasp externally, which will eventually lead you to be harder on yourself than needed. Shifting from the hustle of external motivators to celebrating your daily successes, will shift that focus internally and help you keep your eyes on the prize. Having internal factors that motivate you, such as your successes, will push you to improve your own processes, and give you something and someone to compare yourself with: which is yourself.
So if you buy into the hustle “flex” chances are you will burn out and not have the much-needed satisfaction you deserve. You will never have the satisfaction of achievement or fulfillment because there will always be other hustlers out there that are “out-hustling” you. But if you begin to shift that focus on your accomplishments and your achievements, realizing that you are your own person to compare yourself with (not others) then this is what builds momentum and motivation, and esteem: YOU.