How “Hustle” Culture is Ruining Your Health
I am observing, what I feel is a destructive trend in the culture of our up-and-coming entrepreneurs and influencers, particularly online. There are countless graphics, blogs, stock photos, videos, and pins on Pinterest all glorifying the “hustle”. Essentially, the “hustle” is nothing more than the hard work one puts in to see monetary success and notoriety in their desired field. The concept of this often takes a form of phrases like, “Work harder”, “Do more”, or “Be a boss”.
This idea permeates outlets online as well as the culture and our social standards.
Nearly every marketing blogger, motivational speaker, or daily vlogger has something to say about their “hustle” or their “grind” that managed to thrust them into a place of success. Success as it is interpreted by status, money, and attention has become an addiction in this culture. What follows is an addiction to show only the best parts of one’s life so to create an image of success.
This is idolized most notably in the case of entrepreneurs like Casey Neistat.
His inspirational story of a self-motived school dropout reaching nearly 9 million subscribers on YouTube and selling his company for 25 million dollars has thrust him into the spotlight.
His story is an uplifting one. He claims his success is a result of his determination to “be someone”. Neistat has even gone so far as to tattoo “do more” and “work harder” on his forearms as a reminder that his work, as good as it may be, still isn’t enough for true success. His merchandise mimics this message with simple sweatshirts and hoodies branded with “work harder”. He seems to be a never-ending bundle of energy and motivation for the achievement of success.
Along with the phenomena that is Casey’s energy and drive, you will find a throng of fans and self-starters who idolize his success and mindset. For some less motivated and naturally lackadaisical individuals, this idea can be beneficial to inspire a healthy work flow. Though, the push it provides is limited and external.
The effort to overcome one’s sense of worthlessness by achieving “success” is an entirely defensive mindset birthed from the feeling that one is not “good enough”.
To compensate for that, one must prove their worth through success and notoriety, “prove it” to doubters of the past, but actually one is trying to “prove it” to oneself.
Those riddled with this idea that “success” proves their worth, are naturally driven to overwork. When the desirable state of “success” doesn’t happen in a timely manner, such individuals are inundated with, what is ultimately self-destructive messages. Their minds and hearts get poisoned with negative self-criticism fed by the message “Hustle.” “Do more” “Work harder” from their more successful idols. They are left to think “My best is not enough” and thus begins a spiral of defensive and toxic work habits and self-image that often drive people to depression and/or aggression.
I see a connection between the phenomena I just described and the horrible shooting that just happened yesterday at a high school in Florida.
In both cases, one is attempting to dominate, control, and impress others. In a case of the shooting, it unfortunately costs human lives. In the case of one working oneself to the bone for “success”, one is possibly killing one’s own true self-worth.
I believe we’re here to promote love, life, acceptance of each other, expression, and creativity. These patterns of control, domination, and defensive drive for success do not promote life and living.
If you know that you are doing what you love to do and you are really putting all of yourself in it, doing the best you can, there should be a red flag waving at you if you are still criticizing yourself and deeming it as not enough. Please pay attention to these red flags and do the inner work necessary to create self-appreciation.