hustle hype

I’m writing this post the day after a long holiday weekend.

I saw several posts over the weekend from people who were working – by choice – on this particular holiday.

The common message was “to get ahead, you gotta hustle, gotta work harder than anyone else.

I’m all for hard work, and a little hustle never hurt anyone, but what I’ve learned for myself is that rest and rejuvenation does WAY more for me than hustle ever did.

I’ve also learned that life really isn’t a competition – that’s nothing but scarcity mentality.

Hustle is the name of the game” is a very dangerous message. At least it was for me. When I adopted that mentality, it may have lead to a temporary bump up in productivity and/or revenue, but the long-term effects were sometimes devastating — burnout, depression, and a drain on my most important relationships.

I’ll admit, it took me years to learn this lesson, so I can’t be too quick to judge. Which leads me to one more thing I’ve learned on this journey, and that is this: to each his own. Some people probably thrive on the hustle, and that makes them happy.

For me, though, hustling for the sake of hustling has never led to happiness. It has only led to the insatiable need to hustle even more.

As I pondered this all weekend, an interesting insight emerged:

If we would simply rest as hard as we hustle, we probably wouldn’t need to hustle so hard.

Just a thought.

I know this might be a polarizing post. Would love to hear what you think. How do you feel about “hustling”?

11 replies
  1. Scott Moehring
    Scott Moehring says:

    I think one of the problems with the hustle mentality is that we compare our hustle to everyone else’s. You will always find people that hustle more than you, which can be defeating. That also doesn’t take into account the cumulative effect of reading about dozens of people who are hustling hard. It might be helpful to remember that they are all hustling in a different race than you. Different terrain, different distance, different personality, different prep, different finish line. Maybe running the same way they are won’t help you in your own race.

    More hustle, or less hustle? I think it might be helpful to decide if you need to hustle more or less than YOU did yesterday, or last week, or last year. If you only compare against yourself, and really listen to what you know you need, I think you’ll get the answer.

  2. K. Schulz
    K. Schulz says:

    Mark, I love where your mind goes. I prefer to work smarter, not harder. I think that contemplation time is important for me to think completely through a challenge first! The mundane, do-it-in-your-sleep tasks are the ones I prefer to knock out quickly, then slow down for the contemplation of alternatives and solutions for the more complex situations. I think that’s why they say “let me sleep on it”. Some of my best ideas popped in when I was most relaxed! I guess we all have different forms of hustle.

    • Mark Henson
      Mark Henson says:

      You’re right about that. The message I hear that rubs me the wrong way is the one that says, “You gotta hustle”, as if they are saying, “hustle like I do” or “hustle like the ‘successful’ people do.”

      I believe that when you hustle the way YOU love to hustle, it doesn’t really feel like hustling. It feels more like alignment or even play.

  3. andrew
    andrew says:

    I really like the idea of resting as hard as you hustle. It seems that I’m hustling all the time so when I get a chance to rest I do it really hard. The goal is to find that balance. As much as you plan your work day you also need to plan your rest day. And it doesn’t have to be a “day” but just be mindful and plan some downtime.

  4. Deanna
    Deanna says:

    So, so good, Mark! I have just returned from a “quiet week” in the mountains. This is my “second annual” retreat — away from the hustle and technology — and I strongly agree with you and highly recommend getting away. Scheduling regular intentional time (an hour, a day, a week) to stop the madness and reconnect with what is important is vital. Amazing thoughts and ideas have room to present themselves and develop when outside voices and influences are silenced. Changing one’s perspective has the possibility to change everything forever! Keep us the good work!

  5. Laura Staley
    Laura Staley says:

    Sustainability requires flowing through self-care, play, creativity, restorative rest, purposeful actions, other care, and laughing from my world. I’m grateful to have learned this one too for I intend to be of love and service for my entire lifetime. (Think of folks like Wayne Dyer, Maya Angelou, Louise Hay and many others who continued to do what they love till they kicked the bucket! ) The time between the parenthesis is precious and care for our bodies, hearts, souls, minds, and psyches matter!

  6. Lynnette
    Lynnette says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more – and there’s actually a ton of research suggesting your right. We need time to relax, because it allows other parts of our brain to have the freedom to “think”. Shelly Carson has a great book on creativity, and walks through some of this research.

    I also think that when we’re doing what we love because we’re drawn to it, rather than because we think “we should hustle” we are more comfortable with taking breaks because we can assess our own accomplishments better.

    The key is to trust your gut.

  7. Shannon Lee
    Shannon Lee says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Mark! I see posts about how late/early in the morning folks are working, working on the weekends. I tend to think of it as the age-old habit of believing we have to prove ourselves. This may be a little too woo-woo, but it makes me wonder…is the hustle just another way of getting our validation from external sources when true validation only comes from within? Maybe. I plan to rest a lot this holiday weekend!

    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Thanks, Shannon! I think you make a really good point about “proving ourselves.” I found it rare throughout my career that anyone really noticed or cared about me working myself to the bone as much as thought they did.

      Enjoy your time off! We all need to chill more.


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