“I’ve got a dream that’s worth than my sleep.”
We have all seen quotes like this one being posted by hustlers for whom the only impediment between them and financial success is sleep. Such quotes are quite inspiring. But try explaining to me the importance of ‘hustling’ on a winter morning when I am enjoying sweet dreams under a thick warm blanket.
It’s worth thinking though: Is hustle always worth it? I think most young people believe so. For them, the mantra of success in the modern age is loud and clear: Hustle as hard as you can and nothing will get between you and the Lamborghini/ sea-front house/ sports car or whatever else catches your fancy.
Headlines of teen influencers making millions and start-up founders in their mid-20s making ungodly amounts of money only reinforce the hustle paradigm. Those who question this trending wisdom might be told how they are just not “dreaming big enough”. Students, professionals, content creators, start-up founders — everybody is caught up in this frenzy.
Thinkers of the past who pondered about more playtime for adults in an automated world might find it amusing how we have romanticized all-nighters at the desk and working weekends as ‘hustle’
Here’s the problem: Just about everybody has been led to believe that they are the chosen ones in this struggle and that anyone who doesn’t believe this is a sore loser who has just settled for less. There are quite a few reasons one might not want to believe in the ‘hustle’ philosophy.
Not every hustler is successful:
It’s lonely at the top because not everyone who is hustling is able to make it to the top. The stories of success we hear around us are indeed inspiring. But they also take us away from the not-so-successful stories that are just as true. There are people who realize hustle is a romanticized struggle that’s not worth it, there are those who fall behind and there are those for whom a bit of luck would have made a lot of difference.
There’s an opportunity cost to hustling:
Every time you fall into the trap of hustling you are not doing something you are supposed to be doing. The opportunity cost to hustling is missing out on the time that never comes back. That trip to Spiti Valley may never happen once you are in your 40s.
The goals of hustling are not about fulfillment:
In terms of what we want, we are all as different as we can. So there’s no reason that everybody is going to feel the same way after achieving one’s hustling goals. Not everybody wants to be able to put on designer wear as regular wear or drive to work in a sports car. Someone can feel just as happy coming back home on time and enjoying a home-cooked meal with a loved one.
If you find fulfillment from hustling, good for you. I may find it away from the work desk while taking a stroll in a park, smelling roasted beans in a café or enjoying a thrilling read.
It’s a good idea to give one’s best to whatever one is doing during the most productive years of life. It’s also important to keep in mind that there are other things that make life worth living. Though working hard and succeeding matters, it is equally important to connect with oneself, learn something new, spend time with loved ones and enjoy a good night’s sleep. Hustling can wait.