Ugh, I hate hustle culture
Updated: Mar 1
‘Plan when others are playing. Work while others are sleeping’ I read on a so-called ‘motivational’ quote the other day. And, I get it. I know what these influencers, the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, who spout things about ‘getting off your back and just doing it’ are trying to do. They are trying to motivate you to work towards something you want to achieve. However, what they lack the capacity to understand is that nothing is worth ruining your mental or physical health over. They also cannot and do not distinguish between hard work and over work. People who are less equipped emotionally and financially, a point these influencers often forget to mention, are running themselves down to the ground with these unforgiving mentalities.
Time and time again health professionals warn us of the effects of lack of sleep and stress, yet there is a message being thrust onto us from a lot of ‘hustlers’ that says we should be prioritising our ‘hustle’ over the genuine needs of our minds and bodies. It’s also made out that this is the only way to achieve success, but it’s simply not true. I’ve seen too often the effects of people burning themselves out, myself included, and I’ll tell you nothing is worth taking your mind to breaking point. Literally in the past couple of years, I have seen people develop hair loss, chronic pain in their muscles and suffer from severe mental illness all from stress related instances. It reminded me of something I read which said ‘If you don’t make time for your health, you will be forced to make time for your illness.’
It’s not just about the damaging effects on your health either. Nothing great I’ve ever created has happened when I’ve been exhausted (mentally or otherwise), not been giving my mind a chance to breathe and making time to do things that make me feel relaxed. And I’m not saying be lazy, don’t push yourself, stay in your comfort zone. I do things that push me all the time and can see the true value in it; you learn new things, with risk comes reward and, of course, it can get you closer to where you want to be. However, there is a difference between these things and burning yourself out.
This kind of hustle culture has also led to the ‘cult of being busy’ where people see it as a bad thing that if you want to be successful, that down time is a massive no go. This is partly because a lot of successful people on social media show themselves during their busy schedules, but realistically they are not going to post the times when they are resting, because that’s not the image they want to present to people. I myself have even found myself feeling guilty for giving myself a day where I do nothing. It’s only when I realise that without grounding myself for a while, the things I want achieve are actually even more out of my grasp.
I have strong aspirations, so I’ve read a lot of books by successful people from Michelle Obama to girls who code founder Reshma Saujani and even comedian Romesh Ranganathan. What they all preach is not setting up unrealistic expectations for yourself. Humans are not machines. We are simply not designed to toil away all day.
So, yes, work hard and step out of your comfort zone (God knows, I do this all the time) but please don’t think you have to be choosing between sleep and working towards your goal. So next time you see an instagram post that makes you feel bad for taking a break, take it with a pinch of salt. And when you hear so-called motivational speakers telling you how they never gave themselves a day off, think about what they are omitting.