Hustle is stupid. Without the right focus and vision, burning the candle at both ends will only leave you burnt out and unable to do what matters most to you. It won’t get you what you want (not really) and certainly won’t make you happy.
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My Wakeup Call
Don’t believe me? I didn’t either! But a few years ago, I had a wake-up call. After habitually sleeping five to six hours a night and working up to twenty hours a day, I took a much-needed vacation to Hawaii where I spent the next two weeks with absolutely nothing on my schedule.
For the next six days, I slept fourteen hours a night. This. Changed. Everything. I was nicer, more creative, more in touch with myself. I simply felt more… alive. Now, I track my sleep every night and aim to spend at least eight hours in bed every single day.
The secret “hack” to a long, productive life and work you can be proud of is, surprisingly, not more hustle. It’s more rest. It’s greater self-care.
I’ve learned this firsthand from my own experience and seen it in the lives of others. Those who are most fulfilled are not striving to achieve some impossible standard. They work hard, yes, but they also play hard. They rest when their bodies and minds need it, understanding that life is long and to stay in the game, you’ve got to take breaks.
So you’re hearing it from me first: rest is the new hustle.
Rest is the New Hustle
In a post-pandemic world, work is changing. We are moving away from our old ways of being towards something else, something better and more human. These days, to succeed and be truly fulfilled, you cannot simply achieve something all at once. Success must be earned and cultivated over time. The days of going viral and that sustaining you for the rest of your life are over. The era of the one-hit wonder is officially done.
What we are moving towards now is less flash-in-the-pain success and more toward wise efforts applied over time. Instead of searching for our fifteen seconds of fame, we now have the opportunity to build something that matters—if we learn to work smarter instead of harder.
In the old days, it made sense to go, go, go and push as hard as possible. Life was short, and you only had one shot. This is no longer the case. Human beings are living much longer, experiencing a variety of diverse careers and vocations, and learning who they are and what they want through the process.
To be a part of this new revolution, which I am simply calling the “New Pattern” for success and fulfillment, we will all have to learn to distinguish between “dumb hustle” and “smart hustle.” It’s not that you can’t work hard; you can and should. It’s just that if you don’t learn to do it right, you’ll get left behind.
Finding Ways to Fill the Tank
And of course, we now have the time and freedom to not push ourselves. We can take a break. We can give ourselves time to recharge our batteries. As Anne Lamott says, sometimes you’re not blocked—you’re empty. Finding ways to fill our tanks on a regular basis allows us to get reinspired to create for the next day or month or season. Self-care, sleep, and not grinding yourself to a pulp are important skills in the new pattern, as is the willingness to sacrifice yourself in the short term to pursue the next crazy idea. Leverage comes when you know how to integrate these extremes and see the value of both. It’s not about balance; it’s about integration.
Hustle is stupid. Learn to work long on what matters most to you, and don’t be afraid to try many things. It’ll take time, but fortunately, you have more than you think.