**Hustle Culture Is Trembling**

Sounds familiar?

Ever heard of “the hustle”? Maybe you could try picturing this…

You wake up at 6.30 am despite feeling both mentally and physically exhausted from a long hard yesterday. You check your email for work updates on your phone before (and even after) brushing your teeth and getting dressed. You then rush over your breakfast (if a single cup of expresso counts as one) and head straight over to your university campus, where you spend the entire day working through lectures, revising intensely in between classes, followed by drowning yourself in extracurricular activities that you are participating in for the sake of having something that looks good on your CV. And you do all of that whilst gobbling down your food within minutes during mealtime hours because you reckon you can’t afford to waste any more time.

Once you’re done with all of your contact hours and commitments, you realise it is already 10 pm. You head home only to spend a couple of hours aimless scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix (and let’s be real, you check your email from time to time too because you’re addicted to refreshing the page for updates). Eventually, when the exhaustion finally kicks in at midnight, you head to bed and do it all over again the following day.

Oh, I almost forgot – you spent at least half an hour lying in bed and thinking to yourself “I still haven’t done enough. I shouldn’t have watched Netflix, now I’m such a waste man!”. And within microseconds, there comes the guilt.

The cult-ure

There you have it, it is the hustle culture.

Hustle culture, as defined by Forbes, is “the collective urge we currently seem to feel as a society to work harder, stronger, faster. To grind and exert ourselves at our maximum capacity, every day, and accomplish our goals and dreams at a lightning speed that matches the digital world we’ve built around ourselves”.

That sounds… exhausting, but you got your stuff done at the very least (that is, if you are convinced of that, which you probably wouldn’t be). Though this begs the question – how sustainable is this work ethic for you and your general wellbeing?

Why are we even doing this to ourselves?

Having been raised in a fairly competitive learning environment, I find it strange that we place so much value on accomplishments and are constantly invested in the future (read “the future” again). We, in essence, are an achievement-driven community, where unbroken productivity streaks and tangible outputs such as top grades, excellent job performance review, incredible paychecks, and quick promotions are at the very top of our priority lists. And this simply leads us to work, work, and work some more as if life is a series of tick boxes to check off fast because time is finite.

But what about the present? What about having good relationships, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, reading something because you want to and not have to, or simply celebrating the little and/or slow positive things that happen in our daily lives? On top of that, to what extent is our work genuinely productive. In other words, how much of what we do is merely an addiction to appearing busy?

Let’s try this approach instead

Don’t get me wrong – working hard towards your dreams, getting things done, and consistently striving to improve yourself both personally and professionally are still things that I strongly advocate for. But the key takeaway message here is to also remember that life is not a sprint and that it is okay to be slow at times because productivity, in my view, means enjoying the work that you’re doing and feeling content at that moment.

On that note, please remind yourself to celebrate all moments, including the times where you just feel pure happiness and joy. Also, one other thing that I would encourage you to do is to keep a lookout for the small stuff you can smile about each day to help you focus on living in the present.

In the meantime, take it easy and take care, dear reader.

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