The more I really think about it, the more I realize how much of the hustle culture is actually ingrained in us because it means that “You’re not actually achieving something in life unless you sacrifice your sleep, your social life and your peace of mind to Satan” or something like that. I’m not saying that it doesn’t work for certain people because maybe it does, but personally, I don’t see the allure of burning myself out to the bone and doing the same thing every single day. You’d think that, with the way it’s being glorified by all these ‘motivational speakers’ out there who keep telling you that ‘XYZ person only slept for 4 hours every day because they thought any time spent sleeping was a waste of their time and that’s why they’ve achieved so much’; you know what? Good for them, I guess. But an average person needs around 7-8 hours of sleep and anything that isn’t fulfilling that isn’t healthy, physically or mentally. The sooner we come to that realization, the better it is.
I think it all stems from this notion that you need to do something productive with every single moment of your day, otherwise you’re no better than a houseplant or whatever, but houseplants don’t have complex emotions like humans, do they? You cannot compare your mental capacity or your struggles to others’, and it still means that everybody’s struggles are valid. I think those two points are something that can and should co-exist without people trying to tell you that ‘You can either choose sleep or you can choose success,’ because it doesn’t work that way. People should be allowed to decide what success means to them on their own terms without others barging in on that with their absolutely useless, rude and unsolicited opinions. Sometimes, you just need to be a good friend and be happy for the people around you instead of trying to invalidate their achievements.
I’m saying this as a person who is not a stranger to hustling, but also someone who chooses her own mental well-being over things that will definitely leave no room for peace of mind. And I’m saying that you have a choice. You are allowed to choose yourself. Hustling is good, but things are only good when they’re done in moderation. Anything over a certain limit is harmful, as I’m sure we all already know, so why is it that when it comes to our own peace of mind, we aren’t willing to accept reason? I’ve seen my friends freak out over not able to do something productive when they’re going through a bad mental space and it sucks that you can’t really tell them that they don’t have to do something productive just to prove their worth without coming off as a total garbage bag of a person. There’s no way to tell someone to take a break and do nothing when they’re aiming for the best and losing their minds simultaneously and that is where the whole problem lies.
Maybe, if we were all willing to just accept the fact that hustle culture is not as glorious as people make it seem, we’d be much better off. I am, once again, saying that hustle culture in itself isn’t a bad thing, but trying to tell someone to exhaust themselves and sacrifice vital things like sleep, a healthy social life or peace of mind is just very terrifying. I remember when we were told in high-school that we should probably forget all about sleep for the next two years of our lives because we needed to be able to solve math problems in the middle of the night, but then when exams finally came around the corner, so many students would lose out on their exams because they were delirious in the exam hall from the lack of sleep. That is not what healthy education should look like. That isn’t what education is supposed to be, in the first place. Nothing is worth losing out on your health, no matter how many people tell you that it will eventually be— because you don’t know what’s going to happen to you, ‘eventually’, you don’t know if there’s going to be an ‘eventually’ for you if you keep pushing yourself to an unhealthy limit.
Hard work is always good and it will always be appreciated but it should not come at the cost of your well-being. I think that a lot of us still have much to think about where this is concerned and I hope you’ll give it a thought or two, as well.
The Shubhster. Xx