The Hustle is Cancelled
As January comes to a close, I think it’s a good time to relax. There is so much pressure (especially now when many are still fueled by their new year’s resolutions) to be a part of hustle culture. A mindset that tells us whatever we’re doing, it’s not enough.
Of course, it’s healthy to strive for more, to have goals and ambitions beyond what you’re currently achieving. But it’s easy to get swept up in the idea that if you’re just existing – holding down a stable job, raising your family, living within your means – that you’re somehow missing out on life’s possibilities. As if there’s no room for true happiness where you are, only if you’re working toward being someone or something else.
But how do unlock that next level of happiness, you may ask? Passive income. Take that money you were about to spend on your self-care budget and invest it. Start a business. Buy some crypto. Get into stocks. Start an LLC. Start an Etsy business. Invent a side hustle. Purchase some vending machines. Follow your passion – but only if it’s paying. We all have the same hours in a day. Oprah did it – what’s stopping you?
Welcome to hustle culture. And if you found that list irritating, try asking yourself these questions instead:
How do you want to invest your time?
It’s a valuable resource, and you have no idea how much of it you’ve got. Aim to be intentional with your time and how you spend it/who you spend it with.
How do you want honor your ambitions and goals?
It’s important that you’re doing things that fill your cup, and to not get distracted by what others feel you should be doing or accomplishing. I learned this lesson early in life when I pursued a degree in journalism in family of MDs, JDs, and doctorates, and it’s still something I have to remind myself of every day. When I feel inclined to do something, it’s helpful to ask myself: is this something I want to do, or something I feel I’m supposed to do?
What are your passions? How can you invest in them in a way that works for you?
I think a positive element of hustle culture is that it can spark a realization of a hidden passion for some. Those that long for a type of creative expression that they are not allowed in their day jobs. Pursuing that on the side can be so fulfilling. For me, the important takeaway is to avoid the pressure to monetize your passions. If you enjoy baking, and your goal is to be able to sell your creations and make additional income, that’s great! But there is also space for the person that enjoys baking, spends time doing it on the side, and has no interest in selling those goods. Both are legitimate.
How do YOU define success?
This is what I ask myself when I get caught up on what other people are doing. Bearing witness to the success of others can sometimes turn into feeling like you’re supposed to follow in those footsteps. But someone else’s success may not be what you envision for yourself. The moment I learned to be happy for others and their wins without enduring the sting of comparison, things really presented themselves in a whole new light. I’m able to be happy for others while knowing that I have my own path. As the saying goes, “What’s for me, is for me.”