Humanising the hustle

Authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson tell us why we need to drop the worship of an exhausting busyness

Published 5 years ago on May 05, 2019 2 minutes Read
Hustlemania has captured a monopoly on entrepreneurial inspiration. This endless stream of pump-me-up quotes about working yourself to the bone. It’s time to snap out of it.
Just have a look at the #entrepreneur tag on Instagram. “Legends are born in a valley of struggle!”; “You don’t have to be ridiculously gifted, you just have to be ridiculously committed”; and “Your goals don’t care how you feel.” Yeah, it just keeps going like this until you’re ready to puke.
The hustle may have started as a beacon for those with little to outsmart those with a lot, but now it’s just synonymous with the grind.
And for everyone in that tiny minority that somehow finds what they’re looking for in the grind, there are so many more who end up broken, wasted, and burned out with nothing to show for it. And for what?
You aren’t more worthy in defeat or victory because you sacrificed everything. Because you kept pushing through the pain and exhaustion for a bigger carrot. The human experience is so much more than 24/7 hustle to the max.
It’s also just bad advice. You’re not very likely to find that key insight or breakthrough idea north of the 14th hour in the day. Creativity, progress, and impact do not yield to brute force.
Now, this opposition mainly comes from a lens focused on the world of creative people. The writers, the programmers, the designers, the makers, the product people. There are probably manual-labor domains where greater input does equal greater output, at least for a time.
But, you rarely hear about people working three low-end jobs out of necessity wearing that grind with pride. It’s only the pretenders, those who aren’t exactly struggling for subsistence, who feel the need to brag about their immense sacrifice.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be this epic tale of cutthroat survival. Most of the time it’s way more boring than that. Less jumping over exploding cars and wild chase scenes, more laying of bricks and applying another layer of paint.
So you hereby have our permission to bury the hustle. To put in a good day’s work, day after day, but nothing more. You can play with your kids and still be a successful entrepreneur. You can have a hobby. You can take care of yourself physically. You can read a book. You can watch a silly movie with your partner. You can take the time to cook a proper meal. You can go for a long walk. You can dare to be completely ordinary every now and then.
This is an extract from It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work published by Harper Business