To hustle or not to hustle

mountains and trees

Soon after I was done with college in 2016, it was the period when hustling was in vogue. Getting by with little to no sleep was a badge of honor and entrepreneurs like Elon Musk were looked up for their 100+ hour work weeks.

In 2020, hustlers have realized that this lifestyle is not sustainable. So, what did they do? They started sharing how long they are sleeping – like a solid 8-hour sleep is now a badge of honor.

I was chatting with a friend in the US about different cultures and I told him this:

I have found American culture to be the most efficient for work.

His response was:

Don’t give us too much credit. We work ourselves to death. Usually for no good reason. Except to make other people more money. Better to have a little balance. In tech, though, at least most of us enjoy the work that we work ourselves to death on.

It’s everywhere. Our churches, our history textbooks, our magazines, our televisions. “Working hard” is our value system now. Far more than religion. It was always there some, but in the past 40 years since I’ve grown up, it’s the only thing that matters for values.

I respect how he had analyzed the whole culture around hard work and hustle.

Why am I writing about this? I still have not found out the balance between hustling and resting. However, I am happy with how the 5-day work-week has been functioning. So, if something ain’t broke, why fix it?

There were times I have worked during weekends. Going forward, I will try to not do that. Instead, I will attempt to use weekends for resting or on some creative work, like writing this article which I am doing on a Saturday morning.

“Creative work” because I try to follow this idea that you need to ‘create more than you consume’ – I know it sounds impossible but at least we can try? I read something from a book called Create or Hate by Dan Norris in which he had this sentence:

The only thing I do know about successful people is that they create things.

So, creating for me means doing something useful instead of using your rest days for mindless scrolling on social media.

coconut trees

I guess we can think of weekends and holidays as a pitstop. If a car does not pause for a pitstop, it will likely burn out – like what happened to Lightning McQueen in the Cars movie! We certainly do not want to be in such a situation where we have to save ourselves by sticking our tongues out!

cars

So, my message to myself and others is to work hard when the time is right and take a well-deserved break when it’s time for it!

“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.”

Russell Eric Dobda

4 Comments

  1. I agree with your friend there. I see young people like me from my circle follow (what are, imo, monotonous) beaten tracks without any distractions. Sometimes, I wish I could do that, but I just cannot. For me, the most important thing is to be able to enjoy what I do, and also have some variation and a touch of unpredictability in life. And it’s nice that I’m in such a position right now!

    1. Absolutely, @Ashutosh! After all, we are humans and not robots 😅. Yesss, there’s so much fun in spontaneity instead of choosing the well-worn path! Appreciate your comment!

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