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Why I Don't Do The Hustle

Some of you may remember The Hustle as a 1970s line dance.

Some of you may know this hip-hop song “Hustlin'.”

One quick Google search elicited all sorts of inspirational quotes about hustling:

“Hustle until your haters ask if you’re hiring.”

“I’d rather hustle than slave 9-to-5.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush it! offers this definition of hustle, "Hustling is putting every minute and all your effort into achieving the goal at hand. Every minute needs to count. There is so much hustle in my day I don’t even have a second to spare to “hang out” and catch up with the people around me."

Maybe you find these quotes inspiring, and if you do, you can just stop reading here. (If you LIKE hustling, by all means, go for it.)

I don’t find any of these quotes inspiring. They just sound exhausting. “Hustling” is just a different version of being a slave; that is, being a slave to this idea that you have to be working all of the time.

I enjoy hard work. I enjoy doing a good job, and I enjoy a challenge. Just like a good workout, hustling for a finite period of time for a specific purpose feels awesome and the results are gratifying. Hell. Yeah.

But what happens to the athlete who never rests? Injury.

Unfortunately, hustling is what people like Gary Vaynerchuk say is necessary for success.

But what if it’s not?

What if it's ONE way, but not the ONLY way to become successful?

Does the idea of not hustling give you a sense of relief — or is it disturbing?

I believe “hustle” is largely about control; meaning, we believe that by hustling we have control of things that, often, we don’t actually have any control over. Some people believe that who we are and how we feel when we take action is more important than what we do.

Where have you been successful in your life? What happened right before you achieved success? Is it ALWAYS about hard work? Have you ever experienced something as easy and been successful? I bet you can find some examples where something besides hard work helped you achieve something.

What if success isn’t about grinding and hustling so much as it’s about mindset? If we enjoy something, we are more likely to keep doing it and learn from mistakes.

Maybe it's about doing the thing that scares you. What if you could achieve success with the willingness to do the thing that’s scary?

Hustling and grinding away every day on the hamster wheel is an excellent way to avoid doing anything scary. When we’re hustling we’re often so consumed with just getting through the day, and then so exhausted by the day, that there’s no time to reflect.

I believe it’s one reason Covid-19, aka The Great Pause, has been difficult for some people. It’s one of the reasons being fired or laid off is so challenging — all of a sudden we have time to think. And that can drive us nuts — or be exactly the rest we needed to reconsider how we’ve been living and gain a fresh perspective.

If you’ve been hustling and not getting the results you want, would you be willing to conduct a little experiment just to see what happens? What have you got to lose?

Instead of trying to do more and add more to your plate and do it faster or whatever your version of hustling looks like, what if you tried these two things:

  1. Do one thing every day that you’re afraid of or have been avoiding.

  2. Do one thing every day that brings you joy.

What happens when you give yourself room and permission to do this?

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