Looking at numerous social media feeds, bookshelves, and podcasts you can’t help but see a plethora of hustle culture, which I like to call hustle porn. Hustling, crushing it, killing it, or whatever cool and catchy phrase you want to use is prevalent throughout our present-day culture.
Once reserved for sports or the military you’re seeing this spread to the business world as well. “Man, Brian is killing on those spreadsheets!” Just doesn’t have any ring to it.
Anyways, I’ve noticed two interesting things dealing with this mindset.
The unrealistic race
Firstly, I don’t know about you, but it seems that businesses these days have adopted the mindset of “If you’re not breaking records in your numbers then you’re standing still or even moving backwards.” By numbers I mean profits, customers, widgets, you name it.
It’s the always improving mindset.
What wrong with that you say? Well, just like everything else in life, business, markets, customers will ebb and flow. Things happen in waves and winning streaks never last. Not to be doom and gloom, but just look at your own life. Nothing about it has been linear. It’s a series of ever-changing measures of highs and lows.
If we ran our lives like a business we wouldn’t last too long on this earth. Businesses are always looking to move ahead. People who work in sales have to constantly make more sales each quarter and year and more product must be produced and sold or the company isn’t considered successful.
If you’re not doing more (while having less resources it seems) then you’re not hustling, you’re not crushing it.
This can’t be a realistic way to live on any level. Talk to anyone who works in these companies and they’ll eventually tell you that they are burnt out. Others I know have been let go due to not making their ever-challenging and unrealistic number goals.
I know one particular friend in sales who was the top salesman in his company. Each time he exceeded his numbers management would move the goal further down the field. He would have to push harder and harder to make himself look valued for the company. Eventually they pushed the goal so far ahead that he started to tread water and fall back. They let him go soon after.
On the other side of the road are the ones who fake hustle. Hustle porn to them is for consuming only. You’ve seen these (mostly) guys who post pictures of there workouts, alarm clocks with early hours displayed, and maybe even a nice car or other piece of materialistic item to show off.
Others will just consume hustle porn media. They’ll buy the books, listen to podcasts, and watch endless hours of video for potential motivation.
They have checked all the boxes and wear the t-shirt, but fail to actually put it into practice. They are almost like fans of hustle without putting any skin in the game.
They wear it like a badge of honor thinking that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
Now, I’m not saying they are “posers” by any means. Heck, I’m guilty of this myself. It’s easy to get caught up in something, doing the research, reading the books, and shifting our mindset, but we tend to think it’s enough and the action should take care of itself somehow.
The crucial step of action is often missing. Analysis paralysis takes over and tricks us into thinking that we are doing all we can to better ourselves. I mean, look at how many books I’ve read!
A cool quote or video isn’t enough.
What to do
The first thing we need to do is look at our consumption in detail. Are we reading a book about crushing it just for the sake of it or so we can buy the next book? Are we subscribed to newsletters or someone’s feed because we think we need to? Do we watch a daily video and treat it like drinking coffee (it’s just what I do every morning)?
Are we moving the needle in our lives for the better or are we just spinning our wheels? Are we asking too much from ourselves without truly doing our best work?
Take a quiet moment. Look at your efforts. Are you hustling without enjoying the journey? Are your expectations too high or nearly impossible that you’ll feel like a failure if you don’t exceed them?
Take a breath. Re-prioritize the important things to avoid burn-out.
If you’re in the faking it camp we need to take a hard look at if we are just consuming or are we acting. What actions are we taking daily, no matter how small, to reach our goals?
Maybe we need to stop consuming so much hustle porn and simply live our lives the best we can. Maybe making small steps or some days no steps is the right thing to do. Maybe success (at least from the unrealistic perspective) isn’t worth it.
If we can, we need to set our own expectations, define our own success, and never forget the important things in life. I know it sounds basic and too simplistic, but why shouldn’t it be?
Let’s quit hustle porn and make some real, meaningful headway to better ourselves and others.
It’s up to us.
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