The 24/7 Hustle: The Biggest Disease of This Era

15 Apr, 2018

It seems like everyone wants to be the next superstar entrepreneur, the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, the next person on the magazine covers, the next one that goes viral. And to become that we have to hustle. You know, “do whatever it takes and give it all you got”.

We have to sleep just 2 hours a night, drink super awesome shakes that give us everything we need for the day, we need the latest innovations, and we need to be in the gym 24/7 doing the latest life-changing routine. We need to hustle around the clock, be ready to attack 24/7. If we do just that, pots of gold, fame, and fortune are just around the corner. What a great time to be alive.

Heavy ass weights

I don’t believe we really want to be those things; I believe we like the idea of being those things. We like the idea of walking on the beach with six-pack abs. We like the idea of doing the cool entrepreneurial stuff; we like the idea of having a viral video. And we like the idea of getting the status and attention that’s attached to these achievements, rather than putting in the actual work and dedication to get there.

When the DJ was still just a dude who played records in a dark corner of a club, nobody aspired to be a DJ. Now with all the hype around it, everyone wants to be a DJ, but that’s not really what we want. We want to be ‘that guy’ in that one-hour timeframe on stage when 20.000 people scream his name, we don’t want to be that guy the other 9.999 hours leading up to that moment.

When bodybuilding was still an underground thing for freaks of nature, nobody aspired to be a bodybuilder. Now with all the marketing for ‘fit’ people, everyone wants to be one. But again, we just want the body, not the work. Ronnie Coleman famously said: “Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but don’t nobody wanna lift no heavy-ass weights.”

The hype

Nobody wanted to be Bill Gates in 1995 when he took over the IT scene with Windows 95. It wasn’t cool. Now with all the personal branding, everyone wants to be the next GaryVee, the next Richard Branson, the next Elon Musk.

But, we really don’t, we just want the attention and perks that come with it.

And so we hustle for the wrong reasons. We spend all our time pretending like we are. We hustle because it seems like everyone is already almost there. Instead of doing the actual work, which sometimes naturally leads to all those ‘cool’ things, we spend our time building a persona that is all these things — a hollow shell with no nut inside. 

Hustle 24/7

Now, everyone is hustlin’ to become the idea of what they want to be. Even if you’re not aspiring to become any of those cool things, you have to hustle, simply to keep up with the Joneses. It takes a lot of self-confidence to not keep up with those weird Joneses. It’s like smoking in the 20th century. Everyone did it. There isn’t a single person who actually enjoyed the first puff of that cigarette. It tasted nasty, you almost choked, and you smelled like garbage. Yet, almost everyone smoked, merely to keep up with the Joneses, to keep up with the cool kids. To do what everyone is doing.

Keeping up with the Joneses basically means conforming to the ‘new’ status quo. Three of your neighbors bought a new car, and so do you. Your friends booked a trip to Thailand, and you add Vietnam and Laos to it, just to show who’s boss. This all well and cool and doable. Some sort of motivation and competition to do better. Whether you should engage or not is another question.

But, what happens when the people we know and the people we follow for advice and who we admire boast things that are simply not attainable? What happens when you believe everybody else is hustlin’ 24/7, and you only see the good part? You start hustlin’ 24/7 as well. You begin following all the unnatural advice that’s out there. And you buy into the 2 hours of sleep a night thing and being connected 24/7.

The caveman

Being ‘on’ 24/7 is ridiculous. When is your ‘me’ time? When do you recharge? And when do you check if everything is still in balance? We came a long way since the caveman, but it seems like the wise lessons from the caves are lost.

The caveman was at rest most of the time. Saving his energy and doing whatever a caveman does while resting. But, when it was time to ‘hustle’ he gave it his absolute all. The body was injected with the right hormones at the right time so that he could perform at his best. He had to; otherwise, he would die. Die from being killed by a predator or die from not having any food. But, when all was done, he would rest again. The mind would calm down, and the body would repair itself. Most of the time, the caveman was ‘off’.

The caveman chased, conquered, and rested. The caveman took what he needed and not more. It simply didn’t make sense to take more than he needed; he had to carry it, store it, and he just didn’t have the time to consume it before it would rot.

The modern man

The contrast between the caveman and the modern man couldn’t be bigger. The modern man is always ‘on’. Not really active, but ‘on’. ‘On’ in the sense that he never really rests. ‘On’ like a battery that’s slowly leaking power. And ‘on’ like a soda pop that’s on the table for half a day. There’s still some life in it, but nothing worth mentioning.

The modern man is always chasing. Not for the sake of survival, but for the purpose of needing more, feeding the ego, and not being happy where he is. Although the modern man does not need to run or fight, he is always living in fear. He doesn’t rest, because he fears he’s missing out on an opportunity. Perhaps a chance to become better, but most of the time, just an opportunity to catch a glimpse of attention.

When our phones ping, the fear mechanism is reacting, and our body releases a micro-dosage of cortisol. On every ping, just a drop of cortisol. Slowly poisoning the body. Children even set the alarm on their smartphone in the middle of the night just to check notifications. Just imagine, never really getting a good night of sleep, no matter how long you are in bed. Imagine eating lots of food with no nutritional value. Imagine taking caffeine, sugar, energy drinks, etc. to compensate for the lack of energy. Just imagine, taking supplements just to cover there’s a significant imbalance in our being. Now imagine keeping this cycle going for years. And believing this is probably quite easy since most people in the West live like this.

(No) rest for the wicked

If you are always ‘on’, getting an actual night of proper rest isn’t really possible. Sleep is a miracle, according to holistic gangster Paul Chek. You can feed people any pill or diet, but if they don’t get the sleep they need, it won’t work. A good night of rest can cure many things, from stress to inflammation, and so on. The problem nowadays is we are in bed, but never really sleep. Most people sleep with their phones, their minds are racing, and they don’t take the necessary steps to get a good night of rest; at the bare minimum, no screens 2 hours before bed, no lights in the room, 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. 

Muscles grow in the bed, not in the gym. Brains process information in the bed, not in the library. Top performers work hard; they rest hard as well. They nourish their body, they recharge. They work in (charging the body with energy through mindful practices) so they can work out (spend energy in gyms, work, etc.) again the next day. And they wake up every morning feeling refreshed and just a bit stronger than the day before. They don’t hustle 24/7; they just do what they have to so they can sustainably reach their goals. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

The simple recipe

Influencers are one of the biggest marketing things at the moment and for good reason. They have a significant influence on our behavior. We adore these people, and even worse, we trust every word that leaves their mouths. Influencers have one of the most valuable things from us they can have, our trust. We trust these people like we trust our friends, except their not our friends. They are a marketing tool.

Influencers and marketing personas keep telling us what to do to become any of those fancy people, and the recipe is simple:
1. Sleep as little as 2 hours a night
2. Drink some weird shake that eliminates food for the rest of the day
3. Follow some strange diet
4. Do some hype exercise routine
5. Work harder, harder, harder
6. Hustle 24/7 (absolutely mandatory)

The gurus make it seem as if they do these things themselves. We never see a guru on an off day; we don’t see them being unproductive, they never get sick, they’re always happy, never have a bad day. The gurus are always ‘on’ and to be like them you have do just as they say. Sounds fair enough when you hear it, but it’s all based on spending energy. It’s based on draining the battery and never recharging it. It doesn’t matter how big your battery is, how big your inner bank account is, eventually it will run out.

You can only hustle for so long

Yes, you can push the boundaries a bit harder, or step across the line every now and then, but only for so long. You can sleep for 2 hours a night, but only for so long. You can overtrain in the gym, but only for so long. And you can eat in a deficit, but only for so long.

You can work 20 hours a day, but only for so long. Yes, you can be stressed like hell, but only for so long. If you go past ‘only for so long’, stuff will break, you won’t be able to jump back. The elastic will break. You will burn out.

Basically, you can spend beyond what you have, but only for so long. It won’t take long before you have to pay the piper. Again, Paul Chek drops some wisdom bombs. “Mother Nature is a tough lover. You will contribute one way or the other. Either you play in the garden and contribute to the garden healthily, or she will put you in the ground, and you will contribute by being food for the soil. First, you get tired, that’s your first warning. Then, you get an illness. If nothing changes, you will get an infection, and if you still keep hustlin’ 24/7, you’ll get a disease and die.” Whoops, you hustled just a bit too long.

So, the mentality of squeezing out everything possible is an admirable strategy and leads to innovation and opportunity, but when it comes to our lives, it’s best to keep some juice inside. A dry battery won’t charge, and beyond the point of no return, the modern man won’t charge as well. By ‘any means necessary’ isn’t really something to put in practice.

When I chase the world runs, when I am the world comes

The 24/7 hustle movement is working in a vacuum. It’s a ‘by any means necessary’ game. We isolate the hustle and forget about the bigger picture. We treat our lives like we treat the planet, like our resources, are infinite and that it will work out in the end, but, by now, it’s clear it won’t work out.

The chase isn’t bad in itself. It creates anticipation, there’s something to be reached, and if you make it, then you will be happy. But when is it enough? What is the price you are willing to pay? What if you are hustlin’ merely because everyone else is doing it? And what if its just social sick behavior? Aubrey Marcus said, “When I chase the world runs when I am the world comes”. So, what if the hustle is a never-ending chase? You keep chasing, and the world keeps running. It will never be enough. You will keep running for the rest of your life, running to chase, and running out of life energy. All in the name of the hustle.

But, what if ‘you are’ the world comes? What if you would be satisfied with what is? What if all is well, and you just continue in a healthy fashion which benefits you and the world around you? And what if you would wake up every day with a bit more energy then yesterday and being cool with where you are in life? What if you wouldn’t have six packs abs, a billion-dollar company, or a viral thing? And what if you are just healthy, make enough to live the life you want, and add value to the people interested in what you have to say?

Enough with the bullshit

What if you would stop the 24/7 hustle and do what works for you? What if everyone would just stop pretending, chasing ideas of concepts, and tries to stop impressing the Joneses? And what if all is well and we would just enjoy our jobs, our gym sessions, our food, our quality time and ourselves? 

So, can we all just stop with the bullshit? Really, enough is enough. Can we all just stop pretending like we are are super-humans capable of superhuman shit and pretend like that’s the status quo everyone should abide by? I’m not talking about your individual superpowers that give you your personal edge, your authenticity. I’m talking about the super-human bullshit that is unhealthy and just a load of bullshit.

You know what I mean — the bullshit you’ve been buying into for the last couple of years. The stuff you try to keep doing but keep failing at. And the things your mind says ‘hell yeah!’ to, but your soul says ‘nope’ to. The things that look too good to be true. The thing that keeps popping up every-time you open a random social media page. You know what I’m talking about.

Be audacious

By all means, set audacious goals and do your best to reach them. Try to be a bit better today as you were yesterday. Hustle for what’s important to you. But, fuck the Joneses and fuck doing what everyone else is doing. Just do your best and keep an eye out for yourself. Check if all is really still well and if it’s still working for you. Make working in at least as big of a component in your life as working out. You can only do the best you can, and not an inch more. So hustle the way that works for you and enjoy the ride.

Enjoy the ride, enjoy your food, enjoy the gym, and above all, enjoy yourself.

Photo by: Ryan McGuire