Hustle. I’ve met so many people who live by that word relentlessly, or perhaps don’t even know what the word means, but those people commonly never end up leaving themselves enough time or energy to focus on their own wellbeing or giving themselves the space to live outside of their career.
When writing this blog, I thought to myself, what is the actual meaning of the word hustle and how is this being perceived as a positive behaviour or action? For example, look in Collins Dictionary and you get definitions such as:
“If you hustle, you go somewhere or do something as quickly as you can”
Or on Cambridge Dictionary;
“To act quickly and with energy”
“Thanks to a wave of motivational social media influencers”, as reported by Forbes, hustle has been romanticised in such a way that many from entrepreneurs, to freelancers and everyday employees, are working tirelessly to achieve their goals in the good spirit of ‘hustle culture’.
So, what is hustle culture and how does it differ from hustle?
“Hustle culture is about being a human doing rather than a human being, which is dangerous in many ways” – April Wilson, MD, chair of the preventative medicine department at Loma Linda University Health in California.
As opposed to hustle, hustle culture is commonly defined as a state of overworking to the point where it becomes a lifestyle. This lifestyle is promoted in a wide range of ways, from self-help books, to social media and sometimes even famous entrepreneurs.
Whilst on the one hand, hustle can be deemed a way to take control of our lives and to put the positive steps into building the career you wanted. It can quickly develop by negatively affecting our mental health through a constant and tireless circle of overworking, comparison and burnout – i.e. hustle culture.
It’s important not to get the two confused and how to see when you’re falling down this slippery slope. It’s a fine line from doing yourself some good in your career, to absorbing the time you had for life outside of work sacrificially on a more than regular basis.
A simple list of pros and cons
- Enhance your career
- Create a greater sense of purpose
- Motivation to do more
- Learn more skills
- Develop creativity
- Added stress and higher percentage of burnout
- Comparison and impact on self-esteem
- Less downtime
- Lose track of your ‘why’
- Loss of work-life balance
Don’t get me confused, I don’t believe in the toxic nature of hustle culture, but I don’t see anything wrong with a little hustle and bustle from time to time. It’s this difference, between the actual word and meaning of hustle, and the romanticised lifestyle that has been nurtured by social media, influencers and so on, that is very important to remember.
If you’re more balanced in everyday life, you’ll not only feel a little lighter and less stressed, but you naturally will become more productive in the workplace – which is a win-win in my books!
In the end, it’s about balance. Putting yourself first in order to maintain a healthy work-life relationship. Whilst developing our careers is important and fills us with purpose, we shouldn’t forget about our reason for being. There’s a life outside of work, be sure to make time for it.