We live in a distracting world unlike anything any other point in history has experienced. Learning and consuming is easy, and so many opportunities await you. You can access almost all of it with a swipe of a finger. There’s a lot of temptation to do exactly that; to step into the hustle and grind and work a little harder… a little longer, to do just a little more. But maybe it’s time to escape the hustle.
We live in a world that glorifies the hustle. Whether it’s someone pushing the “grind” lifestyle of 14+ hour work days or society that tells us “if in doubt, work/study harder,” … you wake up each day part of ‘The Hustle.’
The question is, can you escape it? Can you choose the role you play in it? Is there a way to control it so it doesn’t control you? The answer to all three is yes.
Yet you, me, and we face an uphill battle. Not because escaping the hustle is impossible, but due to the way we’ve defined it.
What Most People Think The Hustle Is
If you ask most people to define the hustle, they’ll likely focus on long work days, burning the midnight oil, working on side hustles, and possibly mention someone like Gary Vaynerchuk. The hustle and grind lifestyle is a relentless one. It’s fast-paced, requiring you to switch on at all times and continuously pursue more.
Yet it goes much deeper than this.
Focussing on this side of the hustle is crucial as it’s a toxic aspect that can ruin your life. Yet assuming this is the only piece means you turn a blind eye to the hustle’s much larger puzzle. That’s dangerous, especially if you’re focused on building a positive, purposeful, and aligned life that balances your health and well-being with your work.
That’s right… even though you are in tune with yourself doesn’t mean you’re immune to the hustle’s advances. Worse, you may be caught up in it without even realizing it.
What The Hustle Actually is
As toxic as 14+ hour work days are, they are but the tip of the iceberg.
To escape the hustle requires a lot more than managing your workload. To escape the hustle means redefining what it is and appreciating how deep it goes.
Today is unlike any other point in history. The saying keeping up with the Jones’ is old, yet for the generations that came before ours, Mr. and Mrs. Jones were few and far between. They were colleagues that worked in the same office, celebrities that appeared on TV or in magazines, friends or family, or next-door neighbors. The temptation to compare your life with theirs was always there. Yet it was isolated. It didn’t follow you every minute of every hour.
That’s no longer the case.
Today, you have social media to contend with. You get an edited peek into dozens of different lives each time you log on. Content is everywhere. Opportunities are everywhere. This is amazing because it places the world at your fingertips. Yet it’s so easy to lose sight of what you’re doing, drip by drip diluting who you are, losing yourself to the hustle.
Not just long hours and overwhelming work days, but comparison culture, technology addiction, content consumption overload, and various rabbit holes that may be healthy and focused on something positive and beneficial, can quickly consume you—and refuse to let go.
8 Ways To Escape The Hustle and Grind
It isn’t a question of if you should escape the hustle and grind because you need to escape the hustle to make your personal development, growth, and positive thinking stick. Because the hustle isn’t going anywhere. If anything, its grip will only get tighter as technology advances and we get access to more people, content, and everything else.
This isn’t bad. It’s an incredible opportunity and period we’re blessed to be a part of.
Yet anything good also has the potential to turn bad. So although you’ll never remove the hustle from your life, you can escape the hustle and grind so it no longer dictates it.
Here’s how to get started…
1: Define What Success Means To YOU
I wrote a book a few years ago about overcoming failure and adversity. I interviewed more than 150 entrepreneurs and thought leaders, tapping into their experiences in a bid to figure out what makes successful people successful. As you can imagine, I found many layers to this answer. Yet an important pattern I stumbled across was that successful people think about what success means to them. Not what society preaches about or what parents, teachers, and the media pass on. All that tends to act as nothing more than a distraction, and such a distraction steals you from intention, leading you to let go of the wheel and veer off into the hustle.
To escape requires you to step back and question what you’re striving for. Maybe you call it a success; maybe meaning, intention, purpose, or passion. You cannot escape the hustle and grind until you define what success looks like to you.
2: Perform a Personal Time Audit
In 2017, I learned I’d be a father for the second time and had to look deep within myself. I had to make more money (more consistently) and I had to do so by working less. It felt impossible until I performed a time audit and realized how much I wasted.
Like me, you may also waste precious minutes on tasks that don’t add value—at least not enough to make it worthwhile. This applies to your work, what you do at home, and the focus you place on your health and well-being. The reality is, each week you’re given 10,080 fresh minutes. How you use them determines everything in your life.
If you want to escape the hustle, you need to take charge of how you spend your time. Yet you cannot do this until you know how you utilize each priceless moment.
3: Schedule Reflection Time (ideally every day)
As with most aspects of growth, it comes on the back of continued commitment. You cannot escape the hustle by defining success and running a time audit. You must continue to question your relationship with the hustle and grind as often as possible. Yet that’s the problem because the hustle doesn’t want to give you time. It tempts you to do more, more, more… and to fill those “in-between” moments with passive scrolling, toxically comparing yourself to others.
So you need to schedule time in your day for this all-important task. Even if it’s just a few moments, it can make all the difference in your fight against the hustle’s tempting ways.
If you’re anything like me, your mind quickly becomes full. Full of ideas. Full of questions, worry, and anxiety. Full of gratitude, hope, and dreams. By the time the sun rises high into the sky, your mind spins at a rate you cannot comprehend. This is a dangerous time. It’s exactly when the hustle tempts you to do more and say yes to more.
A great way to be victorious against this is to journal: to write down your thoughts and get what’s in your head out. It doesn’t have to make sense. It does not have to be something you share. The point is to calm and free your mind from the spinning chaos long enough to reconnect with your day, your mission, and who you want to show up as.
5: Make The First Hour of Your Day Count
I’ve never been a morning person. I envied those who could wake up and hop out of bed; do their best work before anyone else rises. I would try to emulate them, committing to one hack, tactic, and tip after another. None of it worked—at least not for long.
I’m more at peace with who I am and my slowly-stirring ways. I don’t try to wake up too early. Instead, I commit to making the first hour of my day count. I use it to intentionally breathe, think about the day ahead, reflect on my emotions and feelings, and give myself the grace to take my time. It’s a super way to escape the hustle.
How you spend your first hour is up to you. You’re unique and what works for others likely won’t work for you. Regardless, that first hour is precious. Reclaim it. Enjoy it. Give it purpose.
6: Limit (maybe even block) Social Media
There is no doubt that social media changed the world. It connected us in ways prior generations couldn’t have imagined. It’s incredible when you step back and think about it. At any point, for instance, I can connect with my sister, who lives on the other side of the globe. It’s a remarkable invention that offers you and me so many benefits. Yet it has a dark side.
Chances are, you are somewhat addicted to some platform. During those moments of boredom, you turn to it. It’s also there when you feel down, insecure, anxious, or scared. Within seconds, it helps you escape your reality and peek into dozens of other people’s.
To escape the hustle is to place measures around this.
It isn’t to say you should block social media and remove yourself altogether, but it is essential to venture onto them with intention. Limit your use. Enter at certain times. When you do get what you need and move on. If necessary, use a blocking tool to take away the temptation.
Because if there’s one method the hustle will use to tempt you, it’s social media.
7: Escape To Nature
Similar to social media, the online world has changed civilization as we know it. Once again, this is great. We’re blessed to live during such a time. Without it, I could not write and share this with you; you couldn’t read it. Yet the online world offers a false sense of reality, and as human beings, we’re not hardwired for such an existence.
It overwhelms us far too fast and frantic for our slowly evolving minds to cope.
Something we are hardwired for is nature in all its varying forms. Much of what we’ve discussed here could and should involve you stepping into nature: reflecting, journaling, time auditing…
Just a few minutes can help you disconnect from the frantic existence of the twenty-first century and reconnect with your gentle and measured human brain that’s incrementally evolved over a long, long time.
8: Be Kind To Yourself
This final one may be the most important of all. Often, it’s what stops you from escaping the hustle and grind in the first place. I know it’s stood in my way during periods.
We’re so often our harshest critics. We have goals and aspirations and want to achieve them right now. We’re only ever in our heads, so we only know what it feels like to be ourselves. We assume other people know more than us, are happier, and have it figured out.
Yet that isn’t the case. Like you, they, too, are human, fragile, and imperfect.
Remember this the next time you feel down or somehow inadequate. Before comparing yourself to someone else, consider how special, unique, and powerful you are. Focus on what you have achieved. Be kind to yourself.
Final Thoughts on the Desire to Escape the Hustle and Grind
The hustle doesn’t want us to be kind. It wants to distract us and keep us busy. Yet keeping busy isn’t what you need. Living with intention is.
That’s why I hope you take from this article the desire to take a deep breath and reconnect with what you want; what intention looks like. Because the hustle is around you, and it isn’t going anywhere. But that’s okay because you don’t have to submit. You can break free and reclaim what’s yours at any time. Why not make today that day?