We live in a culture where “hustling hard” is as commonplace as a Starbucks. Everyone is pushing to get their “bag” of cash. But is a side hustle really all it’s cracked up to be? I suppose that depends on what you define as a “hustle.”
It’s kind of funny, in a way. When I was growing up, “hustling” meant something much more different than it does now. If someone called you a “hustler,” it came with a negative stigma that most people wanted to avoid.
It mostly meant you were a swindler of some kind trying desperately to rip off as many people as you could before getting caught.
Anyway, hustling hard today is something a lot of people try to embrace. Unfortunately, it’s led to a lot of individuals burning out and giving up. Not everyone is cut out for the next big grind.
What is Hustling Hard?
In today’s world, the term hustling hard is often associated with someone who is putting in a severe amount of effort in order to achieve some kind of financial victory. And you’ve probably heard of its counterpart, “side hustle.”
A lot of people, especially those in their 20s and 30s, believe you have to push as hard as humanly possible in order to achieve this success. If you’re not grinding out most of the daylight hours, you’re not hustling hard enough.
However, hustling, by definition, has nothing to do with making money, success, or hitting the grind as hard as you can.
In fact, the closest definition would be to “force to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction.” Sure, that could mean making a certain amount of money per day or whipping out an endless stream of content.
But where does it say you’ll make bank by hustling?
How is Hustling Hard Bad for You?
Too many believe that hustle culture is the way to go if you want to succeed today. And although there’s nothing wrong with putting in 100% for your chosen career path, trying to grind out as much as possible often has the adverse effect.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still work hard at your career in order to build something for later. It’s when you go above and beyond your limits that it begins to create a problem.
Today, I’m focusing more on those who push themselves way too hard and are driven by immediate gratification.
Not Everyone is Cut Out for Everything
First of all, not everyone is able to handle various forms of work. Although some things might seem like an amazing way to make money, they often rely on skill, mindset, and a bit of luck.
For example, I’ve made a successful career out of writing. And while I am able to pay my mortgage, I’ve seen a lot of folks who have no writing skills at all who try to jump on the same bandwagon. Not everyone is cut out to be a content writer.
How many “influencers” are on Instagram putting themselves out there who ultimately fail because they can’t get over a couple of thousand followers?
My point is that just because Joe Blow can make bank doing something and promises you can do it too, doesn’t mean you can.
This brings me to my next point…
Never a Guaranteed Success
One of the biggest issues I see with side hustles nowadays is that people often assume they can immediately start bringing in the cash. In reality, nothing is a guaranteed success.
It took me more than a year to quit my job at the school district to write full time. Too many people expect instant success.
You see this a lot with bloggers and YouTubers who start out but give up after six months because they aren’t making the money that some “expert” promised them.
Too many variables come into play to actually guarantee any form of income. What sickens me is that some of these experts will just say, “then you’re not hustling hard enough.”
This is the expert trying to put the blame on you without taking responsibility for his or her words and actions. Then, you’re the one who feels like a failure.
Increases Stress and Anxiety
I see all kinds of creators who go through increased levels of stress and anxiety as they try to keep up the grind. This is because a lot of systems out there are set up to make you think that you have to go full throttle at all times.
In fact, I watched a video this morning from Channel Makers talking about mental health and how YouTube’s algorithm trains you to think a certain way.
The bottom line is that trying to hustle as hard as you can ultimately increase stress and anxiety. I know this all too well as I am constantly at odds with myself trying to balance five blogs, three YouTube channels, clients, and writing my book.
Hustling Hard Quickly Leads to Burnout
If you’re not truly passionate about what you’re doing, pushing yourself can easily lead to you hating your job. And even then, you could wind up resenting something you loved because of the amount of stress that accompanies grinding out the work.
A burnout could happen if you’re physically exhausted, mentally drained, or even if you’re not seeing the rewards pay out as quickly as you hoped.
Many creators fall victim to burnout, and a lot of them will take a month or two off. In the meantime, they’ll lose quite a few subscribers or followers because of the lull in content.
Not to mention getting a blog or YouTube channel suppressed because it’s not “active enough” for the platform.
This can add to the anxiety of keeping that level of content going so as to not upset the delicate balance. In the end, there is a high likelihood that you’ll dread even thinking about the next project.
Alters Your Perception of What Really Matters
Because of how a lot of systems are put into place, your perception of things can ultimately get skewed in order to satisfy others. I’m talking about both people and algorithms.
For example, I started the YouTube channel as a way to help others learn how to do what I do for a living. Over the years, I focused too much on trying to gain popularity and monetize the channel. I essentially forgot why I built the channel in the first place.
That’s just a minor example but shows how your perception can change.
Are you trying to live your best life? Or, are you trying to live the life of your favorite influencer? Personally, I don’t really care about driving a sports car or living in a mansion. I just want to pay my bills.
What skewed my vision was the idea of being a full-time creator without worrying about clients. However, I love what I do for a living and got sucked into the algorithm’s need to hustle the content out.
Alienating Friends and Family While Hustling Hard
Lastly, hustling hard will help you alienate friends and family from your life. This can kind of go along with the idea of altering your perception. Because without your friends and family, what are you really working towards?
Take MLMs, for example. Multilevel marketing relies on hustle-hard culture. In fact, most of these companies show you how to take advantage of friends and family.
Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Increasing your levels of stress through trying to meet grind quotas reduces rational thought when interacting with others. Having a shorter fuse, being snippy, or being downright ornery will impact relationships.
It’s More About Finding Balance, Not How Hard You Hustle
So, let’s look at the flip side of the coin. I am a proponent of putting in maximum effort. But, what is that maximum amount of time and energy for you?
In my case, it was spending as much time as I could learning and growing as a writer. I wanted to work from home as a freelancer, so, I took steps to make it happen.
However, the idea of spending every waking hour to achieve some perceived victory is not the way to go about doing so. Especially if the thing you want to do has an incredibly low success rate.
Being happy in your life is more about finding a balance.
Now, does this mean you should go at a snail’s pace in fear of burning yourself out? I guess that depends on you. And although I always say that you should put in maximum effort, I don’t mean at the cost of your mental health.
Knowing how much you can handle isn’t always the easiest to determine. You probably won’t know your limits until you hit that wall and start considering giving up.
This is one of the reasons why I always say to set your goals based on your past experience. Don’t try to keep up with anyone else, especially if you’re trying something new.
You can still put in maximum effort without “hustling.”
Why I Maintain an 8-to-5 Schedule
Perhaps another part of it is because I am Generation X. Most of the jobs I’ve done in the past had similar schedules. In the 90s, it was virtually unheard of for people to work from home.
At any rate, I’ve found having a set schedule such as this has made me far more effective today as a creator. Whether it’s writing out a blog post for clients or recording and uploading a video, a reliable schedule that I can stick to has made a difference.
Now, this is probably not the perfect setup for everyone. We all have unique needs, wants, and capabilities. But lately, keeping a handle on the 8-to-5 schedule has helped me keep my sanity.
At one point, I was grinding out 100 hours 7 days a week. Sure, I was making a 6-figure income back then, but it wasn’t worth the immense amount of stress it caused on myself or my family.
Still Getting Things Done without Hustling Hard
By keeping myself to a strict work schedule, I still manage to get quite a bit done. Sure, I don’t always get to the things I want to do, but that’s what happens when you have other jobs to maintain.
My clients come first. Since they are the ones paying my mortgage, they take priority. This sometimes means that I don’t get a blog post or video out like I want for that particular day.
The hardest part for me, though, is…
Being OK with Not Getting It Done Today
For the longest time, I stressed over not getting content out for my audience. Each day I missed a video or blog post, I would feel like I’m letting someone down. Or, I’m not doing enough to appease the Google or YouTube algorithms.
The truth is you feel a lot less stress when you start being OK with not getting certain things published. There are only so many hours in the day, after all.
It’s still something I am working on, but so far, it’s made a difference in my overall lifestyle. Those who truly appreciate my work will still be there tomorrow. And if someone is fickle enough to unsubscribe or unfollow, they weren’t my target audience, to begin with.
Getting Rid of Weekends
Finally, I am working to get rid of working on the weekends unless it involves something fun. For instance, I would love to do more fun things in Colorado for the ColoradoPlays blog and YouTube channel.
But when my daughters are upset because I’m always working and not doing stuff with them, it hits me hard. I need time for them as well as myself.
So, hopefully soon, I’ll be getting rid of the weekend work save for the few things I can do when everyone is sleeping. That’s because I am up about three hours before anyone else and I actually enjoy those weekend projects.
How Hard Do You Hustle to Achieve Your Goals?
Hustling hard doesn’t mean you have to grind yourself into a sticky paste. You can still work hard and get a lot done without driving yourself mad. In the end, it all really depends on whether you’re happy or not.
Well, and finding something you enjoy that pays what you need to survive. But don’t chase an imaginary number because some influencer tells you that’s how you succeed.
You can still put in maximum effort as long as you keep a handle on what’s important.
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