Last year at this time, I woke up with a headache every other day. I couldn’t understand what was causing it since I was eating properly, sleeping just fine, and was way ahead of the goals I had set for myself. As a matter of fact, I was doing better than I ever had in my life. Then why was I feeling unsuccessful and uneasy?
It wasn’t until way later that I found the answer to this question: the toxicity of hustle culture.
1. Nothing Is Ever Good Enough
By the definition of burnout culture, one is required to put in more effort than they did the day before and continuously practice self-sacrifice. While delayed gratification is known to have several upsides, excess of everything is bad, even tirelessly working (trust me, I’ve tried). It doesn’t leave any room for celebrating small achievements like fixing your sleep schedule, eating a healthier meal every day, and finally overcoming procrastination.
The thing is life is seldom about the destination and so much more about what happens through the journey. Living in the pursuit of the future keeps us from being present in the moment which is the only thing that matters at the end of the day.
2. Neglecting Mental Health
Imagine logging into Instagram on one of your cloudy days only to find that every entrepreneur you follow has either started a new business, reached a personal milestone of earning $100,000, or figured out a cure to sleep in order to double their working hours. Yep, now you feel twice as much of a failure as you did before. Why? Because you’re consuming unrealistic and unhealthy patterns of living being introduced by the hustle culture.
Everyone feels under the weather at times and that is okay, there is nothing wrong with you. You should not be made to feel bad for wanting a break. Otherwise, at the end of the day, life is going to start feeling like a bunch of chores piled up that you can’t escape. And believe me, that’s not an experience you want to have.
3. Compromised Personal & Social Life
Given that self–sacrifice is a fundamental aspect of the hustle culture, one’s social and personal life being compromised is inevitable. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I’ve come across social posts giving the message that partying, attending yearly family gatherings, and celebrating your child’s 3rd birthday is sinful.
Sadly, this frame of mind convinces you to neglect the very people you may be trying to build this wealth for. Believe me, they need your presence a lot more than they need the cash piles. Yes, money can buy them an iPhone 14, but it can’t buy them a parent’s love, can it?
4. Productivity Is Who You Are
For those of us who belong to a culture or family background where productivity and success were a prerequisite for deserving love, this habit can be a little difficult to pick off. However, preaching it as a mindset is a whole other kind of toxic. Allowing your productivity levels to define you as a person is the worst mindset that can be adopted. You are so much more than data on excel sheets or the number of hours that you spend ‘hustling’. As human beings, we were made to thrive and live, not work and expire.
5. Build A False Perception of Success
The hustle culture aims to convince you that everyone around you who has attained ‘success’ has done so through this very strategy. And that success is bound to finally get you everything else that you’ve desired in your life – feeling contentment and happiness with your life decisions.
But is that really the truth? Success is not objective; it is subjective to each of us, and it is subject to change throughout our life. The finish line that you’re running toward doesn’t exist. You’re not going to earn a lot of money and suddenly feel like the happiest person alive.
The version of success that hustle culture convinces you to follow is a fraud.
Breaking The Cycle
As human beings, all of us were born as free individuals. We get to make the choices in life that we want, some of them silly and others sensible. Binding ourselves to a way of life that robs us of this very freedom is quite similar to throwing ourselves in a mental dungeon.
The first step to breaking away from a cycle that may be responsible for mentally and physically draining you is realizing that change is needed. Contrary to what the hustle culture feeds, we can be happy at the moment and still strive towards bringing our ideas to life. You don’t have to let go of your goals, all you have to do is throw yourself into the journey, that is life, and live it freely!
About the Author: Asma Irfan is a content writer with four years of experience, specializing in crafting compelling and informative content that connects with people on a deeper level. Check out her portfolio here.