My friend introduced me to ‘hustle culture’ last week. Wow, did it bring back memories
I’ve been there: – Trying to measure your self-worth by what you know and how you present it. The new learning curve or near breakthrough you’re working on seems like such an unmeasurably big task that you don’t take breaks and you keep running that perceptible sprint at full speed.
Until you realise that you’re paying more for less. It demands quantity but lacks the essential quality. You think you’re doing better because you’re delivering more, but you’re only piling up the demands that you (and therefore others) will push into your corner. Don’t get me wrong, that’s what interning or new-skills learning is all about (to an extent) but it’s not a way of life.
We allow this culture, which means we endorse it to a large degree. To the longer-term cost of what? Own well-being? If you’re constantly sacrificing self for ‘the hustle’; you know that you’re due to rebalance, and to get that wheel realignment you’ve been postponing due to the ‘busy-ness’ of business. The life-wheel of balance as we know it, can be the measuring cup. Where do you score 7, 8, 9 or 10 out of 10, and where are you scoring lower than 7 in your life? Do you neglect your family, friends, yourself? Have you stopped allowing yourself leisure time, fun, or your personal ‘joy cup’?
In many ways our youth has been encouraged to idolize this hustle culture, this collective urge we currently seem to feel as a society to work harder, stronger, and faster. It’s a speedometer running at 160 km\h, and yes it’s way above the legal limit – but ‘if you don’t operate at this speed someone else will take your place’ (apparently). Everyday is max-potential. You’re racing so hard to meet those standards, but you don’t really know what they are and what your goals really are.
Forbes magazine says; “In a world that is inundated with distractions, there is merit in taking a step back and looking at the big picture”. Will we really accomplish our goals and dreams at a lightning speed that matches the digital world we’ve built around ourselves? Guilty as charged. Instant gratification has become clothed with post modernism at full speed. It’s actually hilarious. Yet we wonder what the causes of stress and anxiety are? Has it become an addiction to ‘be busy’?
Working hard is absolutely a cool virtue to have. To be persistent; I agree with that. To get up after making horrendous mistakes; yes, do that. For things to change, we have to put in effort. But look back at your life, and soak in the highlights, the moments that you remember and treasure. What quality do you ‘owe life’, as opposed to quantity? I recall total presence in those moments. Being at peace, not being rushed, being grateful, being awed, easily giving my best (self) in the moment. And; I enjoyed being with other people, not psycho-crunching numbers alone somewhere. If life is a story, let’s not write it alone. The Little Prince will tell you so, or Kahlil Gibran will remind us to love a little more.
I leave us with the wise words of Celinne Da Costa; “We are not like the machines we’ve built, and evolution is going to take a while for our biological bodies to catch up with the hyper-connected, lighting-speed, automated digital environment that we’ve created. At the end of the day, we are human, which means we need to eat, pee, sleep, connect, and find fulfillment and meaning in our life. We can’t do that if we are filling every single pocket of time with a task so we can build our empire faster.”
So friends, take time for yourself, and take the time to acknowledge what it’s all for – so that you hold your vision close to heart, knowing that your passion fuels you. Don’t give fuel to ‘busy-things’ that will ultimately play no role in your becoming. We need you to stick with your unique purpose, so that there is relevance in ours. We’re telling a story; don’t feel urged to colour in the parts that’s overstepping your contribution to what makes life fantastic, wondrous, and purposeful.
If you find yourself exhausted, with a grey crayon in hand, ‘colouring in bits to be busy’; please stop. Someone else has got some colour to add too, leave it to them, and rest in one piece. Have a hot meal, read a great book, go to bed early!