Put in more hours.
Burn it hotter, bigger, brighter.
…until your little flame grows into a conflagration that lights up the whole YOUniverse and you win it all.
…or until you burn that flame right out.
Hustle is bullshit.
Yes, moving faster and shipping more than your competitors will give you an advantage – but only until they begin to move faster and ship more than you. This information is not new. It’s not some magical secret strategy that no one else knows.
In fact, hustle isn’t even a strategy – because it doesn’t scale. It is limited by time. There are only 24 hours in a day. 365 days in a year. And each and every one of us has access to this resource. One simply cannot infinitely “work more”. It’s not possible. Therefore, hustling – when defined as working harder, longer, bigger, and faster – is not a strategy. It is simply the path one takes to sure burnout.
So if hustling is, in fact, bullshit, what is the alternative?
Let’s see what someone who is far more widely regarded as successful than the author of this post (that would be me) has to say:
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett
See? Even the third richest man in the world (at the time of this post – behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates) agrees that less is more when it comes to the building blocks of success.
“But Lindsay,” you might say, “What about people like Gary Vaynerchuk who have built empires around hustle?”
To that I say yes …and no.
Yes, the beloved @GaryVee advocates for things like 15-hour days and outworking the competition. But he does so with the goal of completely obliterating the ever-growing entitlement epidemic. He and I agree that if success is what you seek, you must put in the work. Absolutely nothing comes for free. Nada. You have to work for it. Hard.
Where people misinterpret messages from people like Gary Vaynerchuk is when they skim through his content and try to boil it down to some simplistic formula where (15 hours a day) x (7 days a week) = fame and fortune.
The pursuit of success is an art, not a science. And when hustling is defined by simply working more, moving faster, burning hotter, and sleeping less, it’s – you guessed it – bullshit.
When your work is inefficient, unproductive, and poor quality, working more will simply produce more crap.
And you’ll be tired, cranky, and discouraged.
Why? Because all you’ll have to show for all that “hustle” is a whole load of crappy work.
Instead of doing more, be better.
Easier said than done, yes. And “better” is so subjective, isn’t, it? There’s no formula for “better”. No amount of time, money, or quantitative investment will get you there. You must instead think, hypothesize, test, measure, reflect, and commit to continuous improvement.
As Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Grace will take you places hustling can’t.”
I couldn’t agree more. Success does not come from more. It comes from better. And I don’t know about you, but some day, I don’t want my legacy to be that I always did more than everyone else. I want it to be that I was just so. damn. good. That my work was of exceptional quality. That everything I did professionally worked together strategically with purpose. That it added real, tangible value. And that I did it all with grace, fervor, and joy. Not with hustle-induced veins popping out of my forehead and a constant cocktail of stress, exhaustion, and anxiety pumping through my body.
So, instead of hustle, I prefer words like grace, grit, prioritization, efficiency, effectiveness, passion, and value. When you have these words at the forefront of your mind, your daily to-do list and your life as a whole, you’ll get closer to success than hustle alone will ever take you.
Because when you truly love what you do, while you must put in the hard work to be successful, you don’t have to hustle. Anyone who tells you otherwise is bullshit.