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Is hustle culture killing us? Why it’s important to take care of yourself too

Hustle culture is great. The go-get-it, “no days off” attitude is well intended and probably motivates millions to get up and do what they otherwise wouldn’t have the motivation to — and that’s good.

Inspiration is contagious and something you want for everyone you come across. Recently I’ve seen celebrities encourage, push and consistently give words of encouragement more than I’ve ever seen in the past.

Every morning on Twitter Rick Ross will say something to the effect of “perfect day to boss up” or “hustle hard.”

Gucci Mane, too. Besides writing an inspirational autobiography, he customarily gets onto Twitter to tell people to get their life together.

And don’t get me started on Diddy…

One could point to how dramatic we as a society have progressed socially. Now everywhere you look, there’s a strong emphasis on this newfound political correctness and overall heightening consciousness.

Events like Amber Rose’s #SlutWalk, the #MeToo campaign, #TimesUp, and even breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health, like this call to big one another up, are all indications of a shift of thought in our culture.

The message of positivity, entrepreneurship, and monetizing oneself as a brand is all on trend, but it also has its side effects. The speed at which information travels and its easy accessibility has, in turn, sped us up, too.

Living off four hours of sleep or less, taking drugs to advance output and stressing yourself over ‘making it happen’ and ‘beating the competition’ is dangerous and unhealthy.

You never want to make productivity your peace. You can love work; you can be obsessed with your job; you can love what you do, but you should never make what you can produce an escapism.

The Problem

The issue with confiding in our productivity is that we ultimately end up wrapping our identity in what we can do, not in who we are.

We are more than our deadlines, meetings, and business partners secured. We’re more than being ahead of the competition, more than an athlete, more than just an artist.

No matter how good we are at a craft, we must remember the product was produced by an individual, and that person is made up of a myriad of many things that is our responsibility to replenish.

Tired Nap GIF by Wiz Khalifa - Find & Share on GIPHY

Yes, hustling is good, and, honestly, no one who has ever made something of themselves and sustained it did so without outworking the rest. However, of those, I guarantee you the ones who took care of themselves on a human level did and or are still doing the better than the rest.

Taking care of yourself is knowing when to step away from a project; it’s not racking your brain when pitches and ideas aren’t coming or simply not creating at all.

The curse of being an artist/creative in a capitalist system is that you cannot afford to not do anything, especially when your art pays your bills. Yet, even still, we must strive and be intentional about not feeling inadequate when there are moments of nothing.

Nothing is okay

Productivity is always going to be the main goal. Every day is a mission for progress and appreciating is the day to day journey is all good and well, but it’s also not the end of the world when nothing is happening.

The reason why moments of nothing happening is okay is that somethings always happening, even when we’re unaware. And the truth of the matter is that we’re not always going to be cognizant of what’s going on.

If we were to lose our shit every time there are apparent lulls or stalls in our journey, we’d drive ourselves mad. Suddenly productivity goes from our peace to our detriment.

Stay Mad GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We must learn to appreciate stillness when it happens. It’s when you place your faith in what’s happening instead of what you have inside, that you become lost.

We may always feel inclined to be busy — that’s something I can relate to well. But that does not mean we are less of who we are when we’re not. There is is a lesson to be learned at every stage of our lives, it’s just a matter of us seeing them.

When we put all of our stock in what we can do instead of who we are, we make ourselves one-dimensional.

Pull from situations as they come, don’t only see value in one outcome, then you’ll be able to survive any challenge that comes your way.