The world of business has always been overrun with an abundance of buzzwords. You’ve likely come across more than a few of them. “Influencers” might talk about the potential “synergy” and “clickability” possible with the “gamification” of an “immersive experience,” so long as it is provided as “snackable content” with a strong “value proposition” for maximum “engagement.”
With so many more people going into business for themselves these days compared to only a generation ago, the mindset of the entrepreneur (or solopreneur) has quickly become a part of the common vernacular. It is absolutely true that making money online and working for yourself is far more accessible today than it has ever been before. This also means you can unlock the freedom to do what you want, when you want and where you want it, at least to a certain degree.
As a result of this growing trend, the culture of “hustle” has quickly emerged, particularly among younger professionals and creatives who are striking it out on their own. Perhaps they have an Internet startup. Maybe they have a YouTube channel. Perhaps they run a tech review website. They’ve come to embrace and even fetishize the “hustle” as a badge of honor. They’re proud to work long hours and they even boast about online.
This demographic tends to look up to key individuals like Elon Musk who epitomize the “culture” hustle. The head of SpaceX and Tesla once said that he worked 100 hours a week for extended periods of time. He has since “scaled back” to “just” 80 or 90 hours a week.
His justification is that running either one of those companies (not to mention some of other side projects like The Boring Company and Hyperloop) is easily a full-time job on its own. Putting in 40 to 50 hours at either company would be perfectly reasonable. He just happens to have two of them. And many people have come to admire Elon Musk for his remarkable work ethic.
But is that really what you want with your life? Do you really want to be fully consumed by your job and nothing else?
The main problem with “winning” the rat race is that, at the end of the day, you’re still a rat. It’s probably not that much better to “work like a horse” either.
Don’t get me wrong. It is absolutely admirable and desirable if you have big, bold ambitions. You should absolutely want to make something of yourself. You should absolutely strive for bigger and better things in whatever way you want to define what success means to you. That’s all good. But “hustle” on its own is not going to be enough. It takes more than “hustle” to be Casey Neistat or Elon Musk and, even then, you probably don’t actually want to be be these guys.
You just want to have what they have. Maybe you want to be admired by those around you. Maybe you want to be Internet famous. Maybe you want to make a certain amount of money. That’s all well and good, but it’s not about the quantity of hours that you put into your business; it’s the quality of the hours you put in.
If you had the choice between working 20 hours a week or 100 hours a week, and still make exactly the same amount of money, why on Earth would you choose the second option? It’s about deciding on scale and figuring out how you can maximize the output for your hours. It’s about investing in your business, not just trading hours for a paycheck.
It’s not about the hustle. It’s about the lifestyle you choose to lead.