Let’s talk about our idolisation of hustle culture. Ultimately, is it helping or hurting you? Contributing to growth or becoming a sneaky hinderance? Today’s world is inundated with meaningless distractions, addiction to hustling only blurring our vision more. There is genuine merit in taking a step back and looking at the big picture. Too often we choose to see with tunnel vision and miss vital and telling aspects of a situation. Next time you find yourself rushing through life, why not question yourself until you come up with answers? Why do you feel the need to rush and what are you working towards? How can you ground yourself in intentionality and feel purposeful in the present moment?
We have to stop waiting for summer, for friday, for exams to be over, for someone to discover our worth and fall deeply in love with us. We must stop waiting for our lives to begin and acknowledge that every second we spend in denial of how important our current existence is becomes lost in time. Yet another illusion as dawn breaks through the night sky, heralding a new idea. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and revel in the big bold truth that it’s yours for the taking if only you’ll grab the reins.
Even when the laughter always seems to come from the other room and the world seems busy as it carries on without you, may you know this to be true. No matter who or what made you feel unworthy, unloved, unseen or misunderstood in this ever moving world, there is still a place for you and the talents and qualities you bring to the table. You are right where you are meant to be, working for goodness and weaving light into what appears to be an outwardly simple and mundane going through of the motions.
The irony is that the much strived for hustle, the overglorified performative workaholism, when overdone, will only serve to hinder you and your productivity. Do you feel compelled to perform, to complete, to check things off a list? What are your drivers, your biggest sources of motivation and encouragement? Are they intrinsic or extrinsic? When there is nobody else rooting for you, will you act in courage and step up as your own cheerleader?
This highly coveted grind is imagined, relative, deeply personal, and, on a base level, unrealistic. For many of us, striking an ideal work and life balance that allows us to thrive and experience fulfilment across all aspects of life is something we’ll be working on for the next while. How productive we are and our methods of achievement and incredibly individual. One thing I’ve realised is that how productive we are, how much we get done, is very individual. Each person has different preferences, limits and ideal time frames for completing things.
In all of this, we must consider the Feminist Rising and Girl Boss movement. Hustling for some women may look like building a business from the ground or being chief executive officer for a business model they’re proud of. For others, it could be balancing mothering tasks and setting aside time for personal passions and self care. At the end of the day, no job reigns triumphant over the other, holding a title of being more or less important. The real hustle is in purposeful, consistent application of talent and knowledge for betterment and furthering of oneself and others. A Girl Boss is a confident, capable woman who pursues her own ambitions instead of working for others or otherwise settling in life.
It seems to me that the previously infantile Girl Boss movement has spread its wings and taken on a completely new meaning, now feeding into toxic hustle culture. In some of its forms, there’s a feminist aspect. A celebration of women who aspire and achieve. Somewhere along the way though, the true meaning has changed, morphed into something else. It’s become warped. Working harder, faster, better- feeding relentlessly into perfectionism- that’s the feminine ideal of progress. We have linked our empowerment as women to our productivity, success and performance, when none truly indicate we are on the right path.
Are we truly balanced, functioning people who have the time and energy to enjoy life? We claim to work ruthlessly in order to live larger and louder and then miss the moments that most define and reaffirm our ambitions. Just like that, our children are opening their eyes for the first time, blinking as they drink in the awes of the world. Eventually they hobble to their feet, press up clumsily against walls, determined to regain balance for long enough to walk. Then they speak a first word. We risk missing the milestones as much as we do the moments of seemingly familiar routine. We skip a family dinner, forget to call our loved ones, offer hugs, kisses and affection less often.
At what point will we be able to sit down with a cup of coffee, do absolutely nothing and be okay with it? The closest and most intimately developed relationship we’ll have throughout life is with ourselves. For some reason though, people are afraid to succumb to silence. The mere thought of a mind unfogged and undrugged by responsibility and mental clutter brings frightening clarity. Why are we so afraid to sit with our naked, raw and authentic selves when we could be lapping up the opportunity? Not every single moment of the day needs to be optimised and the sooner you realise that, the better. Anything out of moderation is harmful.
We cannot slog our way to true success, especially when we neglect so many important facets of lifestyle that contribute to our wellbeing. I’m at a place in my life where I prioritise happiness and health over all else. If I’m overwhelmed or burnt out, everything else will inevitably suffer too. We all want to lead full juicy lives that speak to energy and adventure but at what cost? Perhaps we need to focus more on individual fulfilment and less on what can only take a toll on us. At this point, we have better relationships with our work than we do with ourselves and the people around us. We’re circling around the same old mistakes, placing inherent value in the number of zeros in our bank account or the latest promotion we stand to obtain.
The women’s liberation movement in times past brought newfound, much needed and well deserved freedom- opportunities to have a say, obtain various rights such as to jobs and education. It was also ambitious, encouraging fresh, out of the box thinking about women and the people they could or should be. What kind of world did we want and what role would we play in creating that and then being a part of it? Hustle culture, particularly for females, is idealistic, not realistic. It is in some ways a combatting of ingrained stereotypes, a slight rebellion. Dare I say though, it is energy misdirected. Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly grinding to make it in this world. It is truly not the modern way. Welcome the concept of rest, recovery and reflection being essential parts of progress towards an ultimately joyous life.
My call to action, my overarching philosophy, is deeply ingrained in all that I seek. It’s what I hold near and dear to my heart and seek to honour through my thoughts and actions. We will find abundance once we begin seeing with fresh eyes, embracing ourselves and others as human beings, not human doings. We are not hard, mechanical robots but people with zest, vibrancy and immense power to make a real difference. Let’s not strip ourselves of this beautiful, refreshing humanity we can offer. Let’s hit pause on building our empires faster and notice the grains of sand slip through fingers. Choose not to lose sight of why you’re pouring your life force into your work in the first place. Hold your vision in clear sight but don’t let it overtake you.