‘Hustling 24×7’,’ hard work’, ’self-made’, and the most luring- ‘quit that 9 to 5’. I’m pretty sure ever since the covid-19 outbreak, these words have plagued (pun intended) your timeline on almost all mainstream social media platforms. Thus, marking the beginning of what is now known as ‘hustle culture’.

What is ‘Hustle Culture’?

Hustle culture, as per today’s norms, is defined as overworking so much that it becomes your lifestyle. According to “hustlers”, there’s not a day in your life where you must not exert yourself to your limit— leaving no time for personal life.

girl hustling

Why Hustle Culture is toxic

The pandemic saw the rise of many small businesses especially online. With everyone shifting to work-from-home culture and online school, a large number of people tried to establish different businesses with the extra time on their hands.
At the end of the day, a lot of them were successful but there were a larger number of them didn’t make the cut.

Now, almost everyone’s social media posts were full of success stories of people who left or were fired from their 9-5 job and made an enormous amount of money in an unbelievably short time thus motivating other individuals old and young alike to follow their footprints to experience the same level of “success”.

As a consequence, multiple online courses were sold and motivational talk channels gained popularity on YouTube, the words- ‘entrepreneur’, ‘hustle’, ‘hard work’, ‘success’ made it to everyone’s tea-time conversations.

People started working hard and everything was about ‘doing what you love’ and ‘loving what you do’.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Honestly, what is even wrong with people working to achieve their dreams, right?

Apparently, a lot. If it were only about working hard, you wouldn’t be here reading this article.

The problem doesn’t lie with people striving hard to achieve their dreams. The problem lies with the narrative of how overworking to a point of burnout is being sold to people.

woman burnt out due to hustle culture

Work is good but Overworking leads to burnout

Work is an important part of life.

Read that again.

Work is an important ‘part’ of life and not life itself. A life full of leisure and no work sets you up for failure but a life with nothing but work leads you to burnout. None of these are the desired outcomes for anyone.

It’s obvious we all need to work. Work is how people put food on the table for themselves and their families. When we work, we feel empowered and important as we are providing value to ourselves and those around us.

Hence, it is pretty obvious that working is good and that is what hustling means right?
At least that is what the hustle culture was supposed to promote- A culture based on working hard.

However, over time it started to become more about overworking than just working hard. And this is why hustle culture has become toxic as it is.

social media promoting hustle culture

The impact of social media

Over the years, the idea of overworking has been modernized into what is now known as hustle culture thanks to the enormous collection of self-help books you see on the shelves of bookstores, social media, and even through famous entrepreneurs.

Social media is indeed a powerful tool and proves itself time and time again. Books do have an impact on people but are nowhere comparable to the kind of influence social media holds on people.

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, tweeted, “Nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week,” and “You need to work about 80 hours to sustain, peaking at 100 hours.”
A large number of young people look up to various books, social media platforms, and entrepreneurs as inspiration while chasing their own dreams. It’s no surprise they fall prey to the toxic hustle culture.

While we all want to achieve success, we must work hard, and get some rest when exhausted.

Social media pages sell their own skewed idea of success regardless of what success might mean for the viewer. Posts proudly flaunting flashy cars, piles of cash, lure people into heeding to the ideas of these so-called influencers. All of this while showing off their “hustles”.

To fit themselves into this little picture portrayed by these pages, young people try to drown themselves in work as they buy the equation

Hard work = success

Success is a variable

When we talk about someone being successful we picture piles of cash, private jets fancy cars, and bungalows. In reality, not everyone has a similar definition of success. For someone, success might be just to get a better job or being able to pay for their daughter’s dance class or to learn how to live alone.

Success is not measurable and definitions of success are different for everyone. It is after all you who defines what success means to you.
You set your own goals and work towards them at your own pace.

Hustle IS important but so is taking that break

No, seriously. Working overtime once in a while might be beneficial in some cases, no denying that. Studying a couple extra hours before an exam, or working an extra shift once in a while might work to your benefit. But, exerting yourself to a point it drains the life out of your eyes -all in the name of productivity- might not work in your best interests.

Overworking reduces productivity which is the exact opposite of what you try to achieve. A hustle can only be successful if you are productive. So, take that break, give your body and mind some rest, and then think about getting back to work.

Studies show you can only function well for 45 min straight. So, it might be a good idea to take a break after working for 45 minutes. The break should last at least 20 min.
The other form of rest is getting enough sleep. Getting a continuous good night’s sleep and do wonders and helps you feel productive throughout the day. Sleeping 6-8 hours a day is good for your health.

The bottom line

1. You don’t have to burn yourself out in order to be successful.
2. You define what success is for you. Set your own goals and work accordingly.
3. Work is good, overworking is not.
4. A well-rested person is much more productive than an overworked burnt-out one.
5. Take that break. Rest is not something you need to feel guilty about.
6. Social media is not reality.

If you liked ‘Hustle Culture: What is Hustle Culture and how it is toxic ‘, also read 5 Powerful tips to declutter your mind and improve focus

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Savneet is a passionate blogger, who has been in the field of Biology for the past 5 years, she is continuously writing about new topics for the betterment of society. Her mission is to help young and emerging adults to make well-informed decisions for their lives and help through those foundational years of life.