If you have been feeling overwhelmed by the culture of hustle and life-hacks and the constant pressure to keep up in work and life, this blog post is for you.
In researching this topic, I was shocked to learn that by the time hustle and life-hacks were constant terms in my life, I had already been culturally assimilated for several decades. Long before being attracted to work/lifestyle articles and life-hack YouTube videos, I was entrenched in the myth of success in the 20th and 21st Centuries.
During the 1970s, young adults like myself were exploring their career paths. Some were fortunate to have well-laid plans to guide them while others were influenced by social expectations, imposed limitations, and challenging circumstances. Particularly for young women, we were told that we could have it all!
In spite of individual plans, challenges, and obstacles, we all continued to press forward, seeking to answer profound questions like "Who am I?" and "What do I want?" amidst a rapidly evolving cultural landscape.
At the same time, industry witnessed an unprecedented acceleration - aka "progress". This time of progress came with unrelenting pressure for us to maintain a non-stop, super-human work pace, without taking breaks to restore energy. As a result, the concept of time limits and restorative time became almost obsolete, leaving us with no choice but to conform to an unhealthy work culture that prioritized productivity and output at all costs.
Do the Hustle
Work spilled into our personal environment which inevitably gave rise to the notion of hustling and the desperate need for life-hacks to keep up with the grueling demands of our modern-day work and life expectations. Ironically, the hustle culture came with a badge of honour for relentless 24/7 commitment to work which became the measure of success in our professional AND personal lives. In recent years, the hustle culture promised get-rich-quick and overnight success.
Recall the Hack
The concept of life hacking and its accompanying culture of productivity have a remarkably lengthy history dating back to the era of factory labour in the early 20th century and appearing again in the computer programming profession in 2004. Interestingly, the term "hack," with all its connotations of shortcuts in our tasks and shortcuts to success, has long been associated with a range of both positive and negative implications.
In today's world, this attraction to quick and easy routes to happiness, success, and other desirable outcomes has intensified, leading many of us to seek ways to work less while achieving more. As a result, the idea of working smarter, not harder, has gained significant popularity, as has the practice of multitasking, and the promise of a shorter work week.
While these approaches can certainly offer benefits in terms of increased time efficiency and productivity, we have witnessed the range of negative outcomes, such as burnout, stress, and the erosion of work-life quality, satisfaction, and sense of fulfillment. For this reason, many of us are entering a transition phase of questioning and are now looking for ways to experience quality, satisfaction, and fulfillment in our professional and personal lives with healthy habits and a sense of overall harmony and well-being.
We Can Have It All. But at What Cost?
The myth of the culture of hustle and the allure of life-hacks often paint an unrealistic picture of what it takes to achieve success. As someone who has navigated the world of entrepreneurship, I can attest that while hard work and determination are crucial, there's more to the story and it's time for a reality-check.
The misconception that one must sacrifice everything – sleep, relationships, and personal well-being – in pursuit of success can have detrimental effects on mental, emotional, and physical health. Moreover, the idea that a series of clever shortcuts or hacks will magically propel you to the top or create harmony in your life is misleading. The truth is, sustainable success and harmony comes from an approach that incorporates healthy habits and the pursuit of fulfillment and self-actualization.
Invest in Strategies for Thriving
Rather than solely relying on the hustle culture and life-hacks, I encourage you to consider a more holistic approach - strategies for thriving vs hacks for surviving. Take the time to invest in yourself – whether it's learning a new skill, prioritizing your well-being, or nurturing meaningful relationships.
When investing in strategies for thriving, setbacks are opportunities for growth and building self-trust in your capabilities and capacity, rather than triggers for self-doubt. With strategies supported by a positive balanced mindset underpinned by emotional intelligence, you'll find that success and harmony are not only attainable but also sustainable.
Go for it! Chase your dreams with passion, but don't forget to take care of yourself, set boundaries, and reassess what success is for you; what fulfillment looks like for you; and, what's best for you.
Success is not just about what you achieve with hustle and hacks, but is about who you become in the process. Again, it's time to ask, "Who am I?" and "What do I want?"
I can attest that transitioning from a lifestyle of hustle to one that prioritizes harmony and healthy habits and supports quality of life is one of the best decisions you can make. It's time to create a life that fits your needs and allows you to enjoy fulfillment as your reward for hard work.
References and Resources:
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- Getting to Know the Hustle Culture and How to Deal with It, Admin BFI, August 9, 2022
- The 100-year History of Life Hacking, Salon Book Excerpt, Joseph M Reagle, April 17, 2019
- For resources available to aspiring women entrepreneurs and business owners of all ages, contact me with your request at [email protected]
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